How important was the participation* of Spanish soldiers to the outcome of World War Two?



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University Preparation Course Extended Essay 3


How important was the participation* of Spanish soldiers to the outcome** of World War Two? *participation=involvement **outcome=result.




  • This is information to form an opinion about the research question and write your thesis statement.

(Source: Second World War History.  “World War 2 Casualty Statistics”.  Second World War History.  Second World War History, 2013.web. 2 Mar 2013 )





(Source: Second World War History.  “World War 2 Casualty Statistics”.  Second World War History.  Second World War History, 2013.web. 2 Mar 2013 )



(Source: Second World War History.  “World War 2 Casualty Statistics”.  Second World War History.  Second World War History, 2013.web. 2 Mar 2013 )




Spanish Soldiers Fighting for Germany in World War II

While Spain did not enter the war, there were many Spaniards who wanted to volunteer to fight for Germany. Many thousands wanted to join the unit called the Blue Division. The first wave of volunteers numbered more than 45,000, and eventually, approximately 18,000 men were chosen. The division left Spain in July 1941 on trains to southern Germany. This was the most active assistance from Spanish volunteers for Germany.


After training in Bavaria, southern Germany, the Spanish volunteers went to the Soviet Union, marching more than one thousand kilometers on foot to its final positions. The unit crossed into Soviet territory on September 7, reaching its final position in mid-October 1941. Upon reaching the German lines, the unit went to the northern Russian city of Novgorod. It was mostly a quiet area, but the Spanish did endure several major Soviet attacks - including the battle of Krasni Bor in 1943 - and became famous as a tough, reliable force.
However, the difficult winters, strong Russian army, and unexpected inability of the

German forces to defeat Russia’s Red Army transformed what the volunteers expected to be an easy victory into a very difficult struggle. Moreover, continual news about deaths made it much harder to find volunteers to replace those lost. Finally, it was the German defeat at Stalingrad that caused Spain to become neutral and stop its support for Germany. During its time in the war, the unit of Spanish volunteers suffered major losses. Out of 45,000 volunteers, 8,000 were wounded, nearly 8,000 became sick, 16,000 suffered frostbite from the cold and 4,500 were killed, buried in Russian soil. The Russians also imprisoned more than 3,000 Spaniards. Of this number, only 1,000 returned to Spain, after as many as twelve years of captivity. Overall, considering the size of the conflict and the massive number of Russian and German soldiers involved, the contribution of the Spanish volunteers was small.

Wayne, Bowen H.“Spain During World War II”, Columbia and London, Univ of Missouri Press, 2006




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