I think that if you had told me that American forces and German regulars, alongside French irregulars including women, fought to defend a medieval castle during World War II, I might have thought you were crazy. However, that, apparently did happen in May of 1945 at Schloss Itter in North Tyrol and the whole, crazy story is here.
Great story. Used to have breakfast with a group of WWII buffs on a semi-regular basis. An occasional topic, once we got done arguing about barrel sizes and armor, was the extent of anti-Nazi sentiment in Germany. I am not sure that has ever been well determined.
@steve, I think Nazism was a popular movement in Germany. It came to power because German militarism was popular and the liberal Constitutional order was never popular. It came to power by preempting similar movements on the right, through use of Hitler’s charisma and violence. It came to power because the German Left openly embraced Soviet Communism that horrified the middle class.
After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, western historians have been looking through German records, finding that the German people were well aware of the Holocaust, which made them cleave stronger to their country. I’ve read the first two books in Richard Evans’ NAZI triology; got the third for Christmas. Well-written and informative and depressing.
In a similar vein, contrary to popular French opinion the “French Resistance” consisted of a few hundred French communists. If there’d actually been much resistance the Germans could never have taken the country over as they did. Mostly, either the French supported the Nazis or didn’t much care what the Nazis did so long as they themselves were left alone.
Similarly, in the Netherlands there was considerable support for the Nazis. There were actually more Dutch SS members than German.
The people of some European countries deserve enormous credit, e.g. the Danes. But most of the Europeans have just shuffled their grandfathers’ misdeeds under the rug.