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Islam and Nazi Germany's War

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In the most crucial phase of the Second World War, German troops, fighting in regions as far apart as the Sahara and the Caucasus, confronted the Allies across lands largely populated by Muslims. Nazi officials saw Islam as a powerful force with the same enemies as Germany: the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Jews. Islam and Nazi Germany's War is the first compre In the most crucial phase of the Second World War, German troops, fighting in regions as far apart as the Sahara and the Caucasus, confronted the Allies across lands largely populated by Muslims. Nazi officials saw Islam as a powerful force with the same enemies as Germany: the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Jews. Islam and Nazi Germany's War is the first comprehensive account of Berlin's remarkably ambitious attempts to build an alliance with the Islamic world. Drawing on archival research in three continents, David Motadel explains how German officials tried to promote the Third Reich as a patron of Islam. He explores Berlin's policies and propaganda in the Muslim war zones, and the extensive work that authorities undertook for the recruitment, spiritual care, and ideological indoctrination of tens of thousands of Muslim volunteers who fought in the Wehrmacht and the SS. Islam and Nazi Germany's War reveals how German troops on the ground in North Africa, the Balkans, and the Eastern front engaged with diverse Muslim populations, including Muslim Roma and Jewish converts to Islam. Combining measured argument with a masterly handling of detail, it illuminates the profound impact of the Second World War on Muslims around the world and provides a new understanding of the politics of religion in the bloodiest conflict of the twentieth century.


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In the most crucial phase of the Second World War, German troops, fighting in regions as far apart as the Sahara and the Caucasus, confronted the Allies across lands largely populated by Muslims. Nazi officials saw Islam as a powerful force with the same enemies as Germany: the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Jews. Islam and Nazi Germany's War is the first compre In the most crucial phase of the Second World War, German troops, fighting in regions as far apart as the Sahara and the Caucasus, confronted the Allies across lands largely populated by Muslims. Nazi officials saw Islam as a powerful force with the same enemies as Germany: the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Jews. Islam and Nazi Germany's War is the first comprehensive account of Berlin's remarkably ambitious attempts to build an alliance with the Islamic world. Drawing on archival research in three continents, David Motadel explains how German officials tried to promote the Third Reich as a patron of Islam. He explores Berlin's policies and propaganda in the Muslim war zones, and the extensive work that authorities undertook for the recruitment, spiritual care, and ideological indoctrination of tens of thousands of Muslim volunteers who fought in the Wehrmacht and the SS. Islam and Nazi Germany's War reveals how German troops on the ground in North Africa, the Balkans, and the Eastern front engaged with diverse Muslim populations, including Muslim Roma and Jewish converts to Islam. Combining measured argument with a masterly handling of detail, it illuminates the profound impact of the Second World War on Muslims around the world and provides a new understanding of the politics of religion in the bloodiest conflict of the twentieth century.

30 review for Islam and Nazi Germany's War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    This book is the first comprehensive history of Muslims under Nazi rule. It’s very balanced: It deals with Muslim leaders who supported the Axis powers, like the Mufti of Jerusalem; it also deals with the persecution of Muslim Roma and with Muslim inmates in Nazi concentration camps. It’s monumental. A masterpiece.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    A breathtaking account of the Islamic world in the Second World War; thoroughly researched.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Phoenix

    Hitler's Islam Card Motadel begins by probing the initial German misconception that existed prior to WW I that pan-Islamism was a powerful and monolithic force that could be harnessed to unseat the hegemony of rival British, French and Tsarist empires. Championed by members of the German intellectual elite such as gentleman adventurers/archaeologists Max Von Oppenheim and Oskar Niedermeyer, such incitement was provocative but the Allies were able to offer their own counter inducements. Calls for Hitler's Islam Card Motadel begins by probing the initial German misconception that existed prior to WW I that pan-Islamism was a powerful and monolithic force that could be harnessed to unseat the hegemony of rival British, French and Tsarist empires. Championed by members of the German intellectual elite such as gentleman adventurers/archaeologists Max Von Oppenheim and Oskar Niedermeyer, such incitement was provocative but the Allies were able to offer their own counter inducements. Calls for a Holy War backed by secular Young Turks in Istanbul were seen as hypocritical as were calls attacking Christian powers that excluded Istanbul's ally Germany. Then as now the Islamic world was widely divided into rival sects based on different cultures and theological groupings. The Nazi decision to recruit Muslims to the cause of National Socialism was not even considered at the start of WW II as the southern front was delegated to Mussolini's Italy. As an example, the al-Kilani led uprising in Iraq against the British in 1941 only received minimal and belated. support from the Reich. But by late 1942 Germany, now in possession of Crimea and the Balkans faced a devastating loss of ¾ of a million men and the faltering of Italian forces . What follows is a well documented in depth analysis of how German strategy played out in each of North Africa, Russia and the Balkan fronts. The results were far from uniform. By February 1943 in North Africa the Wehrmacht were only able to muster 2400 Arab recruits, mostly from POW camps and former students who had studied in Berlin. Most were considered unsuitable for combat and served in labour brigades. Many proved to be disloyal. There was more success in the Balkans. 25 years of Soviet oppression of religion provided a fertile ground for Nazi propaganda (Motadel draws on and complements Herf) which frequently invoked Soviet and Yugoslav Bolshevism, British and French imperialism and American capitalist exploitation all connected to Nazi racial hatred for Jews backed by traditional Quranic verses describing Jewish treachery and eternal enmity. To this end the Germans made extensive use of imams, attaching them to Muslim units. The fugitive Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amini al-Husayni who was employed to create propaganda, lecture and advise. Rather than lecturing directly to the soldiers on matters of religion, the Nazis set up training schools for imams, the curriculum shortened to emphasize similarities between National Socialism and Islam. Widely seen as liberators, religious freedom for Muslims was an easy price for the Nazis to pay, though they had to do this delicately in Ustasi run Catholic Croatia. Both Axis and Allied literature advised on respectful attitudes towards Muslims, not always adhered to by enlisted men, however the Nazis had special problems. In the early part of the Balkan campaign many Muslims were executed as, being circumcised they were mistaken for Jews. Muslim Roma were also killed off, alienating co-religionists. Jewish Mountain Tats, because they practiced polygamy and did not conform to Nazi conceptions of Jew were considered Turkic as were the Karaites and were spared, but not the Krymchaks who were murdered. For the Crimean Tatars and others, giving allegiance was a Hobson's choice, sometimes motivated by religion but also by the need to stay alive during wartime. Those following current events in the Ukraine should realize that the Tatars were punished dearly by mass expulsion to Kazakhstan and Central Asia as were Karachais, Balkars, Chechens and Ingush; many were subsequently executed by the NKVD. The Wehrmacht and the SS moved from an initial concept of a uniform pan-Islamism to a more refined model. They soon realized that mixing Sunni and Shia in the same units didn't work and rejected inserting Muslims supporters from India into units in Bosnia, calculating that the Indians would be motivated more by nationalist and anti-British concerns than by religion. Not everyone in the German political structure were convinced. Gerhard von Mende, a Director of the Eastern Ministry for the Reich, estimated that only 5% of Eastern Muslims identified purely as Muslims and that only 20% would be receptive to a a religious campaign. (pp240). Hitler's own assessment of the value of the Nazi-Muslim alliance was as follows: "For the time being I consider the formation of battalions of these pure Caucasian peoples as very risky, while I don't see any danger in forming pure Mohammedan units... Despite all explanations, either from Rosenberg or from the military side, I don't trust the Armenians either... The only ones I consider to be reliable are the pure Mohammedans. .... I consider only the Mohammedans to be safe. All others I consider unsafe". (pp222, Dec 12, 1942). It's a brilliantly constructed read that should be of great interest for WW II enthusiasts and an essential purchase for library collections on the history of the era. Motadel has integrated a comprehensive range of material from the archives of 14 different countries establishing a holistic picture of how the strategy was implemented and played out. His highly nuanced view of Muslim sentiment is one that could well serve as a model for understanding the turmoil going on in that part of the world today and a general warning about attempts to instrumentalize religious and nationalist beliefs.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Dieses Buch ist nichts für Geschichts-Einsteiger! Aber für alle die fundierte Grundkenntnisse in der Geschichte des 20ten Jahrhunderts besitzen ist es ein sehr interessanter und sehr gut geschriebener Überblick über die Islam-Politik der Nazis, mit Ausblicken auf den Ersten Weltkrieg und auf die Zeit des Kalten Krieges bis zu 9/11. Sehr empfehlenswert! Meine ausführlichere Rezenssion findet sich unter: https://luxinobscuritas.wordpress.com... Das Buch würde mir freundlicherweise vom Klett-Cotta-Ver Dieses Buch ist nichts für Geschichts-Einsteiger! Aber für alle die fundierte Grundkenntnisse in der Geschichte des 20ten Jahrhunderts besitzen ist es ein sehr interessanter und sehr gut geschriebener Überblick über die Islam-Politik der Nazis, mit Ausblicken auf den Ersten Weltkrieg und auf die Zeit des Kalten Krieges bis zu 9/11. Sehr empfehlenswert! Meine ausführlichere Rezenssion findet sich unter: https://luxinobscuritas.wordpress.com... Das Buch würde mir freundlicherweise vom Klett-Cotta-Verlag als digitales Lese-Exemplar zur Verfügung gestellt.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bijan

    A great book! Read it together with Steve Coll's Ghost Wars. A great book! Read it together with Steve Coll's Ghost Wars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Iñaki Tofiño

    La quantité de sources consultées est impressionnante, mais le résultat final est un peu décevant. Les chapitres dédiés à la manipulation des autorités religieuses musulmanes pendant la guerre sont très intéressants parce que l'auteur parle de toutes les régions de population musulmane occupées par les nazies (Bosnie, le nord d'Afrique, les républiques soviétiques) et de la manipulation de l'information vis à vis les populations locales; cependant, les chapitres dédiés à la fin de la guerre et à La quantité de sources consultées est impressionnante, mais le résultat final est un peu décevant. Les chapitres dédiés à la manipulation des autorités religieuses musulmanes pendant la guerre sont très intéressants parce que l'auteur parle de toutes les régions de population musulmane occupées par les nazies (Bosnie, le nord d'Afrique, les républiques soviétiques) et de la manipulation de l'information vis à vis les populations locales; cependant, les chapitres dédiés à la fin de la guerre et à l'évolution de la propagande occidentale (surtout celle des États Unis) dans le monde islamique sont fragmentaires et peu claires. En tout cas, un livre à lire pour connaitre l'usage de la religion comme arme de propagande politique chez le régime nazi.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nikolas Larum

    As I should have known, the subject is a bit more complex than first imagined. The author doesn't draw the influences forward. He documents the beginnings of the policy with the Imperial era and WWI and then expounds on Nazi efforts toward Islam during WWII from 1942-1944. More scholarly than narrative, it was informative. Hitler's praise of Islam I found to be particularly telling. As I should have known, the subject is a bit more complex than first imagined. The author doesn't draw the influences forward. He documents the beginnings of the policy with the Imperial era and WWI and then expounds on Nazi efforts toward Islam during WWII from 1942-1944. More scholarly than narrative, it was informative. Hitler's praise of Islam I found to be particularly telling.

  8. 5 out of 5

    The Jewish Book Council

    Review by Jack Fischel for the Jewish Book Council. Review by Jack Fischel for the Jewish Book Council.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shazy Be

    Quite obvious what author is trying to do here with cherry picked facts . #islamophobia .

  10. 4 out of 5

    Raj Abraham

  11. 4 out of 5

    Edward

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charles R. Kaczynski

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Ceron

  14. 5 out of 5

    Danilo

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  16. 4 out of 5

    UmitYasar

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liming Zhu

  18. 4 out of 5

    Colin Meade

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maria Y Moreno Florido

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paulrus

  21. 5 out of 5

    Izuan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abu Mujhim

  23. 5 out of 5

    deborah ginsburg

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tristana

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michele LaFerriere

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mikhail Efimov

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kieren

  28. 4 out of 5

    Onur Yayla

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul Sutliff

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kiefer

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