National Socialist Motor Corps

The National Socialist Motor Corps (German: Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps, NSKK)[1] was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) that officially existed from May 1931 to 1945. The group was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps (NSAK), which had existed since April 1930.

The NSKK served as a training organization, mainly instructing members in the operation and maintenance of high-performance motorcycles and automobiles. The NSKK was further used to transport NSDAP and SA officials/members. The NSKK also served as a roadside assistance group in the mid-1930s, comparable to the modern-day American Automobile Association or the British Automobile Association. With the outbreak of World War II NSKK ranks were recruited to serve in the transport corps of various German military branches. There was also a French section of the NSKK which was organized after the German occupation of France began in 1940. The NSKK was the smallest of the Nazi Party organizations.

National Socialist Motor Corps
Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps
NSKK Hausflagge
Agency overview
Formed1931
Dissolved8 May 1945
Superseding agency
  • none
TypeParamilitary
Jurisdiction Germany
Agency executives
Parent agency Nazi Party (NSDAP)
NSKK Motorstandarte
NSKK standard

History

The National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK) was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps (NSAK), which had existed since being formed on 1 April 1930.[2] Legends about the actual emergence of the NSKK go back as far as 1922, when the publisher of the Völkischer Beobachter (People's Observer) and founding member of the German Workers' Party (DAP), Dietrich Eckart, allegedly purchased trucks so the SA could perform their missions and transport propaganda materials.[3] Martin Bormann founded the NSAK, which itself was the successor to the SA Motor Squadrons (Kraftfahrstaffeln).[2][4] Hitler made the NSAK an official Nazi organization on 1 April 1930.[3] The NSAK was responsible for co-ordinating the use of donated motor vehicles belonging to party members, and later expanded to training members in automotive skills.[4] Adolf Hühnlein was appointed Korpsführer (Corps Leader) of the NSAK, which was to serve primarily as a motorized corps of the Sturmabteilung (SA).[2] Hühnlein became the organization's "nucleus".[5]

The organization's name was changed to the National Socialist Motor Corps (Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps; NSKK),[6] becoming official on 1 May 1931.[2] It was essentially a paramilitary organization with its own system of paramilitary ranks and the smallest of the NSDAP organizations. Despite its relatively smaller size, when the Nazis celebrated Braunschweiger SA-day on 18 October 1931, the NSKK had upwards of 5,000 vehicles at its disposal to move men and materials.[7]

The primary aim of the NSKK was to educate its members in motoring skills or what was called "fitness in motoring skills" (motorische Ertüchtigung),[8] but it also transported NSDAP and SA officials.[2] In the mid-1930s, the NSKK also served as a roadside assistance group, comparable to the modern-day American Automobile Association or the British Automobile Association.

Membership in the NSKK did not require any prior knowledge of automobiles. It was thought that training in the NSKK would make up for any previous lack of knowledge. The NSKK did adhere to Nazi racial doctrine and screened its members for Aryan qualities. Under the guidance of the police, numerous NSKK men were stationed at traffic junctions and trained in traffic control.[9]

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R27373, Reichsautobahn, Adolf Hitler beim 1. Spatenstich, bei Frankfurt
Adolf Hühnlein (on the right side behind Hitler) 1933 at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Reichsautobahn

On 20 July 1934, three weeks after the major purge the SA suffered during the Night of the Long Knives, the NSKK was separated and promoted into an independent NSDAP organization.[10] From 1935 onward, the NSKK also provided training for Panzer crews and drivers of the Heer (German Army).[1] The NSKK had two sub-branches within the organization known as the Motor-Hitler Youth (Motor-Hitlerjugend; Motor-HJ) and Naval NSKK (Marine-NSKK).[2] The Motor-HJ branch was formed by Reichsjugendführer (Hitler Youth Leader) Baldur von Schirach after he became a member of the NSKK. It operated 350 of its own vehicles for educational and training purposes.[9] The Naval NSKK trained men in the operation and maintenance of boats.[2]

During the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the NSKK assumed responsibility for a variety of transport tasks, proving themselves effective at political propaganda by transporting foreign visitors around on designated tours.[11] By 1938, NSKK members were undergoing mechanical and operational training for both civilian and military type vehicles.[2] Over time, the training at NSKK schools became primarily focused on military related tasks.[12] For services to the NSKK and due in part to the general success of the NSKK, Hühnlein was promoted to the position of a Reichsleiter of the NSDAP in 1938.[11] Hühnlein was NSKK Korpsführer from 1931 until his death in 1942, when Erwin Kraus took over.[13]

Affiliation with other Nazi organizations and the Second World War

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-E11577, Posen, Regelung des Verkehrs durch NSKK
An NSKK man directs traffic in Posen, October 1939
NSKK Kriegskraftfahrerin Badge
NSKK Female Driver's Badge

Sometime in August 1938, the NSKK began its services as a courier for Organization Todt (OT) during the construction of the Westwall. Members of the NSKK transported classified documents, important reports and announcements, construction plans, and routine papers to and from the organization's headquarters. Exemplary services provided to the Organization Todt resulted in Hühnlein being given oversight for the transportation needs related to the task.[14] Over 15,000 trucks went into operation, delivering building materials to the 22,000 individual construction sites of the Westwall. Daily movements of the 200,000 workers required over 5,000 buses to get the workers to and from the construction sites.[15]

Concomitant to the support provided to Organization Todt during the construction of the Westwall by the NSKK, the organization was also tasked by Hitler's chief architect, Albert Speer. He founded a unit known as the "Transport Brigade Speer", which was organized under the auspices of military considerations, dividing them accordingly into regiments, divisions, companies and platoons. On 27 January 1939, Hitler made the NSKK the sole authority for motor-vehicle related military training.[11] Shortly thereafter, the NSKK was divided into 5 main groups and 23 subordinate motor groups. Approximate manpower strength of the NSKK reached nearly half a million men at this stage with its leadership operating primarily out of Munich and Berlin.[16]

With the outbreak of World War II in Europe on 1 September 1939, the National Socialist Motor Corps became a target for army recruitment, since NSKK members possessed knowledge of motorized transport, a coveted skill when the bulk of German ground forces relied on horses. The NSKK was used to transport German Army troops, supplies and ammunition.[2] By the time the Second World War began, the NSKK had already trained some 200,000 men at its 21 training facilities.[8]

During field operations in the Eastern Front, the NSKK members of the Transport Brigade Speer followed Army Group South, providing infrastructural backup and replenishment. Members of the Transport Brigade Speer wore either the gray-blue uniform of the Luftwaffe or the brown uniform of Speer's staff. NSKK men working for Organization Todt became members of the "NSKK Transport Brigade Todt", which were further divided into individual motor groups in the occupied territories.[17]

Major units of the NSKK were formed by 1944, operating throughout Germany. There were two full brigades of the NSKK supporting the Luftwaffe; a Motorobergruppe Alpenland in the Austrian Alps; Motorobergruppe Mitte (middle) which operated in Berlin, Franconia, and the Lower Rhine; Motorobergruppe Nord (north) that covered Hamburg, Lower Saxony, the Baltic Sea and Schleswig-Holstein; Motorobergruppe Nordost (northeast) in Danzig, East Prussia, and Wartheland; Motorobergruppe Ost (east) for Leipzig, Lower and Upper Silesia; Motorobergruppe Süd (south) which served Bavaria and Hochland; Motorobergruppe Südwest (southwest) for the Rhine-Moselle, and Swabian regions; Motorobergruppe Südost (southeast) covering the Upper and Lower Danube, Sudetenland; and Motorobergruppe West (west) which was responsible for Hessen, Thuringia, and Westphalia. Moreover, there were also NSKK units assigned to Organization Todt, operating in France, Italy and Russia.[18] Historian Peter Longerich suggests that members of the NSKK along with the para-military police, the Waffen-SS, and the German Army were all culpable in varying degrees for large-scale arrests, torture, and mass executions.[19]

French NSKK

The French section of the NSKK began shortly after the German occupation of France in 1940. However, the section was not officially recognized until July 1942. The main office was in Paris, but recruitment occurred throughout France. By the end of 1942 there was one company of 200 men; by the end of World War II there had been seven companies raised.[20] The men had to sign up for two years of service. The French NSKK was originally attached to the Luftwaffe, although they wore the standard NSKK uniforms and used its rank system. They did have their own arm badge with the colors of the French flag. The first version had "NSKK" in black letters across the top of the shield; the second version had the word "France" in black letters across the top of the shield.[21]

The original unit was officially known as NSKK Gruppe Luftwaffe and a second one was known as NSKK Transportgruppe Todt.[22] At Melun, the NSKK had its own driving school for French recruits and others from European countries. Before the Schutzstaffel (SS) began to openly recruit members into the Waffen-SS, Frenchmen used the NSKK as a "back-door" to get into the Waffen-SS to fight on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union. Some French NSKK men were sent to the Eastern Front in a group known as NSKK Einsatzgruppe Russland.[23]

In September 1944, the Waffen-Grenadier-Brigade der SS "Charlemagne", was formed. It was formed from the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism or LVF and the SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade France. Joining them were French collaborators fleeing the Allied advance in the west, as well as Frenchmen from the German Navy, the NSKK, the Organisation Todt and the detested Milice security police.[24] In February 1945, the Waffen-Grenadier-Brigade der SS "Charlemagne" was officially upgraded to a division and became known as the 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French).[25]

End of the NSKK

The NSKK was the smallest of the Nazi Party organizations. The Corps was disbanded in May 1945 and the group was declared a "condemned organization" at the Nuremberg Trials (although not a criminal one). This was due in part to the NSKK’s origins in the SA and the racial requirements for membership.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b McNab 2011, p. 45.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Askey 2014, p. 167.
  3. ^ a b Seidler 1984, p. 625.
  4. ^ a b Lang 1979, p. 55.
  5. ^ Bracher 1970, p. 96.
  6. ^ Broszat 1981, p. 37.
  7. ^ Seidler 1984, p. 626.
  8. ^ a b Zentner & Bedürftig 1991, p. 635.
  9. ^ a b Seidler 1984, pp. 626–627.
  10. ^ McNab 2013, p. 20.
  11. ^ a b c Seidler 1984, p. 627.
  12. ^ Kammer & Bartsch 1999, p. 173.
  13. ^ Hamilton 1984, pp. 287, 288.
  14. ^ Seidler 1984, p. 632.
  15. ^ Seidler 1984, pp. 632–633.
  16. ^ Seidler 1984, p. 628.
  17. ^ Seidler 1984, p. 633.
  18. ^ Lepage 2015, p. 117.
  19. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 145.
  20. ^ Littlejohn 1987, p. 161.
  21. ^ Littlejohn 1987, pp. 161, 163.
  22. ^ Littlejohn 1987, p. 163.
  23. ^ Littlejohn 1987, p. 165.
  24. ^ Littlejohn 1987, pp. 146, 158-161, 169.
  25. ^ Littlejohn 1987, pp. 170, 172.

References

  • Askey, Nigel (2014). Operation Barbarossa: The Complete Organisational Statistical Analysis Vol. IIb. Lulu. ISBN 978-1312413269.
  • Bracher, Karl-Dietrich (1970). The German Dictatorship: The Origins, Structure, and Effects of National Socialism. New York: Praeger Publishers. ASIN B001JZ4T16.
  • Broszat, Martin (1981). The Hitler State: The Foundation and Development of the Internal Structure of the Third Reich. London and New York: Longman. ISBN 0-582-48997-0.
  • Hamilton, Charles (1984). Leaders & Personalities of the Third Reich, Vol. 1. San Jose, CA: R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0-912138-27-0.
  • Kammer, Hilde; Bartsch, Elisabet (1999). Lexikon Nationalsozialismus: Begriffe, Organisationen und Institutionen (in German). Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch. ISBN 3-499-60795-6.
  • Lang, Jochen von (1979). The Secretary. Martin Bormann: The Man Who Manipulated Hitler. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-50321-9.
  • Lepage, Jean-Denis G.G (2015). Hitler's Armed Forces Auxiliaries. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-49745-4.
  • Littlejohn, David (1987). Foreign Legions of the Third Reich Vol. 1 Norway, Denmark, France. Bender Publishing. ISBN 978-0912138176.
  • Longerich, Peter (2010). Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-199-60073-1.
  • McNab, Chris (2011). Hitler's Masterplan. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1907446962.
  • McNab, Chris (2013). Hitler's Elite: The SS 1939–45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1782000884.
  • Seidler, Franz (1984). "Das Nationalsozialistische Kraftfahrkorps und die Organisation Todt im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Die Entwicklung des NSKK bis 1939" [The National Socialist Motor Corps and the Organisation Todt in the Second World War: The Development of the NSKK to 1939]. Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (in German). Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag GmbH. 32 (4): 625–636. JSTOR 30197352.
  • Zentner, Christian; Bedürftig, Friedemann (1991). The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. (2 vols.) New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-897500-6.
Adolf Hühnlein

Adolf Hühnlein (12 November 1881 – 18 June 1942) was a German soldier and Nazi Party (NSDAP) official. He was the Korpsführer (Corps Leader) of the National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK) from 1931 until his death in 1942.

Albert Bormann

Albert Bormann (2 September 1902 – 8 April 1989) was a German National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK) officer, who rose to the rank of Gruppenführer (Generalleutnant) during World War II. Bormann served as an adjutant to Adolf Hitler, and was the younger brother of Martin Bormann.

Albert Widmann

Albert Widmann (8 June 1912 – 24 December 1986) was an SS officer and German chemist who worked for the Action T4 euthanasia program during the regime of Nazi Germany. He was convicted in two separate trials in the West German courts in the 1960s for his criminal activities during World War II.

Alwin-Broder Albrecht

Alwin-Broder Albrecht (18 September 1903 – 1 May 1945) was a German naval officer who was one of Adolf Hitler's adjutants during World War II.

Ewald Kluge

Ewald Kluge (19 January 1909 — 19 August 1964) was a German motorcyclist.

Franz Suchomel

Franz Suchomel (3 December 1907 – 18 December 1979) was a Sudeten German Nazi war criminal. He participated in the Action T4 euthanasia program, in Operation Reinhard, and the Einsatzgruppen actions in the Adriatic operational zone. He was convicted at the Treblinka trials in September 1965 and spent four years in prison.

Gustav Simon

Gustav Simon (2 August 1900, Saarbrücken – 18 December 1945, Paderborn) was, as the Nazi Gauleiter in the Moselland Gau from 1940 until 1944, the Chief of the Civil Administration in Luxembourg, which was occupied at that time by Nazi Germany.

Hans Maass

Hans Maass (German: Hans Maaß; June 17, 1911, Hamburg – April 15, 1992) was a German mathematician who introduced Maass wave forms (Maass 1949) and Koecher–Maass series (Maass 1950) and Maass–Selberg relations and who proved most of the Saito–Kurokawa conjecture. Maass was a student of Erich Hecke.

Hans Stuck

This article is about the father; for the son, see Hans-Joachim Stuck.Hans Stuck (sometimes called Hans Stuck von Villiez, last name pronounced shtook) (27 December 1900, in Warsaw – 9 February 1978, in Grainau) was a German motor racing driver. Both his son Hans-Joachim Stuck (born 1951) and his grandsons Johannes and Ferdinand Stuck became race drivers.

Despite many successes in Grand Prix motor racing for Auto Union in the early 1930s, during the era of the famous "Silver Arrows", he is now mostly known for his domination of hillclimbing, which earned him the nickname "Bergkönig" or "King of the Mountains".

Hermann Höfle (SS general)

Hermann Höfle (12 September 1898 – 9 December 1947) was a German SS and police official during the Nazi era who served as SS and Police Leader (HSSPF).

Hermann Paul Müller

Hermann Paul Müller (21 November 1909 in Bielefeld – 30 December 1975 in Ingolstadt) was a German sidecar, motorcycle, and race car driver.

Müller started his competitive career on an Imperia in 1928. He became German Sidecar Champion in 1932, then in 1936, he took the German 500cc Motorcycle title.

He switched to cars the next year, driving for Auto Union. He won the 1939 edition of the FIA French Grand Prix held in Reims. The winner of that season's European Championship was never officially announced by the AIACR due to the outbreak of World War II. Although Müller would have won the championship on points, the president of Germany's highest motorsports organisation declared Hermann Lang the champion.After the war he returned to motorcycle racing, winning the 1947 and 1948 German 250cc titles on DKW. In 1955, he won the 250cc world championship riding an NSU Sportmax. He also set quite a number of world speed records in five classes over six distances for NSU on the Bonneville salt flats in 1956. To this day he remains the oldest person to win a Grand Prix Motorcycle world championship, at the age of 46.

Josef Bürckel

Joseph Bürckel (30 March 1895, in Lingenfeld, Germersheim – 28 September 1944, in Neustadt an der Weinstraße) was a Nazi Germany politician and a member of the German parliament (the Reichstag). He was an early member of the Nazi party and was influential in the rise of the National Socialist movement.

Korpsführer

Korpsführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was the highest rank used by the National Socialist Motor Corps and the National Socialist Flyers Corps. Translated as "Corps Leader", the rank of Korpsführer was held by the single officer in command of the entire organization. The rank was the equivalent of Reichsführer-SS, at least on paper.

Manfred von Brauchitsch

Manfred Georg Rudolf von Brauchitsch (15 August 1905 – 5 February 2003) was a German auto racing driver who drove for Mercedes-Benz in the famous "Silver Arrows" of Grand Prix motor racing in the 1930s.

Although an excellent driver who had reasonable success, he struggled with bad luck, and was overshadowed by his more successful Mercedes-Benz teammates Rudolf Caracciola and Hermann Lang.

National Socialist Flyers Corps

The National Socialist Flyers Corps (German: Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps; NSFK) was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that was founded 15 April 1937 as a successor to the German Air Sports Association; the latter had been active during the years when a German air force was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. The NSFK organization was based closely on the para-military organization of the Sturmabteilung (SA). A similar group was the National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK).

During the early years of its existence, the NSFK conducted military aviation training in gliders and private airplanes. Friedrich Christiansen, originally a Generalleutnant then later a Luftwaffe General der Flieger, was NSFK Korpsführer from 15 April 1937 until 26 June 1943, followed by Generaloberst Alfred Keller until 8 May 1945.

Nazi Germany paramilitary ranks

National Socialist paramilitary ranks were pseudo-military titles which were used by the Nazis, represented by the Nazi Party, the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP), between the years of 1920 and 1945. Since the Nazi Party was by its very nature a paramilitary organization, by the time of the Second World War, several systems of paramilitary ranks had come into existence for both the Nazi Party itself and the various Nazi paramilitary organizations.

The following articles provide information regarding the various paramilitary rank systems used by the Nazi Party:

Ranks and insignia of the Nazi Party

Uniforms and insignia of the Schutzstaffel

Uniforms and insignia of the Sturmabteilung

Ranks and insignia of the Hitler Youth

Ranks and insignia of the National Socialist Flyers Corps

Ranks and insignia of the National Socialist Motor Corps

Ranks and insignia of the VolkssturmAfter the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, a number of Nazi state controlled and/or sponsored organizations developed Nazi style ranks, insignia, and titles. Such various ranks and insignia were:

Ranks and insignia of the Ordnungspolizei

Ranks and insignia of the Reichsarbeitsdienst

Ranks and insignia of the Reichsluftschutzbund

Ranks and insignia of the Reichsbahn

Ranks and insignia of Organisation TodtThe Nazi use of paramilitary ranks even extended as far as inmates of concentration camps. By 1936, a system of Nazi concentration camp badges had been developed along paramilitary lines.

Ranks and insignia of the National Socialist Motor Corps

The ranks and insignia of the National Socialist Motor Corps (Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps, abbr. NSKK) were a paramilitary rank system in Germany used between the years of 1931 and 1945. They were based closely on the ranks and insignia of the Sturmabteilung (SA), of which the NSKK was originally a part.

Rudolf Hasse

Rudolf Hasse (30 May 1906 – 12 August 1942) was a German racing driver who won the 1937 Belgian Grand Prix.Hasse was born in Mittweida, Saxony, and died while serving on the Russian front during World War II in a military hospital in Makiivka, Ukraine, from shigellosis aged only 36. In the 1930s he was a member of the National Socialist Motor Corps.

Stabsführer

A Stabsführer (translated as Staff Leader) served as a deputy to the leader of Hitler Youth, National Socialist Flyers Corps, National Socialist Motor Corps or Sturmabteilung. It was furthermore a Hitler Youth paramilitary rank held by the senior most member of the Adult Leadership Corps.

The SS-Oberabschnitt (major districts) and SS-Abschnitt (sub districts) of the Allgemeine SS each had their own Stabsführer to head certain staff of the district. In the SS-Abschnitt they were often the de facto leader.

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