They would then wage the battle to free Germany from abroad. The study he wrote based on the discovery was released this week. But the BND has recently released the "Insurances" files, making it possible to paint an independent picture. Kesselring, the historian, has a special connection to military history: Similar commissions have been hired by a number of German authorities in recent years, including the Finance and Foreign Ministries to create an accurate record of once hushed-up legacies.
To prepare a response to the potential threat, Schnez, the son of a Swabian government official, sought to found an army. According to the papers, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer didn't find out about the existence of the paramilitary group until , at which point he evidently did not decide to break it up. Even though it violated Allied law -- military or "military-like" organizations were banned, and those who contravened the rules risked life in prison -- it quickly became very popular. Kesselring uncovered the documents, which were given the strange title of "Insurances," while trying to determine the number of workers employed by the BND. The army began to take shape starting at the latest in Presumably they were all anti-Communists and, in some cases, motivated by a desire for adventure. They would then wage the battle to free Germany from abroad. His grandfather Albert was a general field marshal and southern supreme commander in the Third Reich, with Schnez as his subordinate "general of transportation" in Italy. Even so, its contents testify to the ease with which democratic and constitutional standards could be undermined in the early years of West Germany's existence. Schnez was born in and served as a colonel in World War II before ascending the ranks of the Bundeswehr, which was founded in Schnez recruited donations from businesspeople and like-minded former officers, contacted veterans groups of other divisions, asked transport companies which vehicles they could provide in the worst-case scenario and worked on an emergency plan. Schnez wanted to found an organization of units composed of former officers, ideally entire staffs of elite divisions of the Wehrmacht, which could be rapidly deployed in case of an attack. The army project began in the postwar period in Swabia, the region surrounding Stuttgart, where then year-old Schnez traded in wood, textiles and household items and, on the side, organized social evenings for the veterans of the 25th Infantry Division, in which he had served. Comment For nearly six decades, the page file lay unnoticed in the archives of the BND, Germany's foreign intelligence agency -- but now its contents have revealed a new chapter of German postwar history that is as spectacular as it is mysterious. Historian Agilolf Kesselring found the documents -- which belonged to the Gehlen Organization, the predecessor to the current foreign intelligence agency -- while working for an Independent Historical Commission hired by the BND to investigate its early history. Statements by Schnez quoted in the documents suggest that the project to build a clandestine army was also supported by Hans Speidel -- who would become the NATO Supreme Commander of the Allied Army in Central Europe in -- and Adolf Heusinger, the first inspector general of the Bundeswehr. At first, Schnez' group considered allowing themselves to be defeated and then leading partisan warfare from behind the lines, before relocating somewhere outside of Germany. What should be done if the Russians or their Eastern European allies invade? Both men tried to prevent Germany's partial surrender in Italy. In his study, Kesselring lets Schnez off easily: The goal of the retired officers: Instead of insurance papers, Kesselring stumbled upon what can now be considered the most significant discovery of the Independent Historical Commission. Fears of Attack from the East But their debates always returned to the same question: In , he began his career at the Federal Interior Ministry in Bonn, where he became inspector general and oversaw the coordination of German Police Tactical Units in the German states for the event of war. Similar commissions have been hired by a number of German authorities in recent years, including the Finance and Foreign Ministries to create an accurate record of once hushed-up legacies. There is no sign that then Interior Minister Robert Lehr had been informed of these plans. He wanted to use their assets to equip the troop in case of an emergency.
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