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The rehabilitation of the Ukrainian SS

The 14th SS “Galician Division” was an all volunteer Division of Axis fighters from the Ukraine.

Over one million people living in territories controlled by the Soviet Union fought for the Axis. Today, veterans of the 14th SS live all over the world because they surrendered to British forces at the end of WWII. The US transferred 300,000 Axis POWs from Soviet territories over to the Soviet Union. This was a direct violation of the Geneva Convention, and a large portion of these people were mass murdered. The survivors of the 14th were much luckier, because the British government let them resettle in other countries instead of being deported to the Soviet Union to be murdered.

The 14th SS Division is different than most Axis units made up of people from Soviet Territory. Most of the units were created early on against the direct orders of Adolph Hitler, who opposed arming people in the Soviet territories. He thought the people would be easier to control after WWII if they were not used as soldiers. Many German generals, including SS Commandant Himmler went behind Hitler’s back and enlisted people from Soviet territories. When Hitler discovered the existence of these units, most were pulled out of the Eastern front and used as factory workers in Germany or re-assigned to the Eastern Front. Hitler’s refusal to use troops from the Soviet Territories and his suppression of independent governments, is a primary reason the Axis lost WWII.

By the spring of 1943, the war effort was going bad and the Ukrainian attitudes were souring against the Germans. Hitler finally authorized the creation of Ukrainian units that would fight on the Eastern Front. The 14th SS Division was launched as an volunteer, all Ukrainian Division. Over 20,000 Ukrainians fought in the SS, mostly in the 14th. After the Battle of Brody, the 14th Division was supplemented with Slovakians, Czech, and Dutch.

Ukrainian units that had been created earlier were returned to the Eastern Front and served under a Ukrainian General who was a veteran of WWI. This collection of units received patches identifying them as the Ukrainian Liberation Army [YBB]. The YBB peaked at about 80,000 members. There was also a substantial number of Ukrainians in the German Luftwaffe.