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Nunez Seixas, Xose M. (2017): Russia and the Russians in the Eyes of the Spanish Blue Division soldiers, 1941-4. In: Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 52, No. 2: pp. 352-374
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Abstract

The Spanish Blue Division' has received significant historiographical and literary attention. Most research has focused on diplomacy and the role of the Division in fostering diplomatic relations between Spain and Germany during the Second World War. However, the everyday experience of Spanish soldiers on the Eastern Front, the occupation policy of the Blue Division and its role in the Nazi war of extermination remain largely unexplored. It is commonly held that the Spanish soldiers displayed more benign behaviour towards the civilian population than did the Germans. Although this tendency can generally be confirmed, Spanish soldiers were known for stealing, requisitioning and occasional acts of isolated violence;and also for the almost complete absence of collective, organized retaliation. Yet how did Spanish soldiers perceive the enemy, particularly Soviet civilians? To what degree did the better behaviour of Spanish occupying forces towards the civilian population reflect a different view of the enemy, which differed from that of most German soldiers?