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In 1941 it seems that any Princes in the Wehrmacht were made redundant...

Does anyone have any reference to this?



Chris, I am suprised at this because I thought the erstwhile Duke of Albany and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Carl Eduard) had an honourary rany which he retained post 1941.


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They were ejected en masse after the 20 July 1944 bomb attempt. By the magic of lunatic mis-directed logic, it was then decided that ALL trappings of the Ancien Regime needed to be swept away.

Nazi military commissars were introduced-- and ironically enough, if the war had dragged on, the Nazi regime would have radicalized EXACTLY along the lines advocated by the murdered Ernst R?hm in 1934.

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Apparently the death of Prinz Wilhelm of Prussia in the French campaign was used as an excuse by Hitler to pass the Prince decree. In the guise of saving the royals he excluded them from service in the Wehrmacht. In May of 1941 Prinz Adalbert of Bayern was "retired". His son had been released a couple of months before.

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I have a vague recollection of a journal article in the journal of Modern history a few years back.

Basically, the Nazis recruited nobility to add a layer of social legitimacy, prestige and panache' to their "revolution".

Earlier vague promises of a constitutional Hohenzollern restoration which may or may not have been made to both the royals and to Hindenburg in January 1933 were quickly forgotten and permanently tabled after Hindenburg's' death.

After the death in action of a Prussian Prince in action and the resulting enormous crowd at his funeral in Potsdam, Hitler issued his decree barring Princes etc. from the armed forces. Princes and other royalty however continued to serve in party paramilitary organizations and the Luftschutz.

After the bomb plot in 1944 the hammer fell on the nobility and the Nazis, fearing a possible threat by right-wing royalists (who were rather well informally organized and actually, still are) booted them all out and many were imprisoned on suspiscion.

Not a few were also connected directly or indirectly, to the Stauffenberg plot. They certainly all seem to have been no more than two degrees of separation from the plotters.

I see from a quick google search that there's a decent book out there on the Hessian Princes and the Nazis that is quite comprehensive. Prince Phillip said something about this recently too.

By the way, see the link below about 5,000 new uniforms a year being made in Poland-fond while searching for more info. on this subject.


Edited by Ulsterman
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There was more than one decree called a "Prinzenerlass". The decree in 1940 was prompted by Prince Wilhelm von Preussen's death in the French campaign and the publicity of his funeral. The Nazis were afraid that royalist sentiment might be rekindled. But that decree only removed princes from frontline service. Many continued to serve in the rear.

The 1943 decree was prompted, at least in part, by Italy's defection from the Axis. The Nazis viewed the Italian king as having betrayed Mussolini, and denounced their own princes as placing their international family connections ahead of their loyalty to Germany (King Victor Emmanuel III's daughter Mafalda, who died in Buchenwald in 1944, was married to Prince Philipp of Hesse-Kassel). The decree was called the Decree Against Internationally-Connected Persons.

The July 20th plot was pretty much the last straw, but the anti-prince rhetoric among the Nazis had been going strong before then.

Many princes had continued to serve away from the frontlines after 1940, and some even found themselves there. For example, Ernst August Prinz von Hannover, a staff officer, was wounded at Kharkov in 1943. Dietmar Hubertus Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha was killed in action in Russia in 1943. Georg-Wilhelm Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe was killed in action in 1945. A bunch of mediatized princes also fought and many were killed in action.

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