May 2, 2007

The origin of Rice's and Rumsfeld's "Werewolves" theory: Back in August 2003, National Security Advisor Condi Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that we shouldn't worry about armed guerilla resistance in Iraq, because we had to deal with the same thing in Germany in 1945-47, and look how well that turned out. Condi told the VFW:

There is an understandable tendency to look back on America's experience in post-War Germany and see only the successes. But as some of you here today surely remember, the road we traveled was very difficult. 1945 through 1947 was an especially challenging period. Germany was not immediately stable or prosperous. SS officers -- called "werewolves" -- engaged in sabotage and attacked both coalition forces and those locals cooperating with them -- much like today's Baathist and Fedayeen remnants.

And Rummy elaborated:

One group of those dead-enders was known as "werewolves." They and other Nazi regime remnants targeted Allied soldiers, and they targeted Germans who cooperated with the Allied forces. Mayors were assassinated including the American-appointed mayor of Aachen, the first major German city to be liberated. Children as young as 10 were used as snipers, radio broadcasts, and leaflets warned Germans not to collaborate with the Allies. They plotted sabotage of factories, power plants, rail lines. They blew up police stations and government buildings, and they destroyed stocks of art and antiques that were stored by the Berlin Museum. Does this sound familiar?

Well, the Aachen assassination took place more than a month before the German surrender, so it doesn't count. Otherwise, remarkably little happened after VE day. A bomb went off in Hamburg after the war was over, but it might have been one of the gazillion bombs the British and American air forces dropped on that city. And there were a few killings, but sex conflicts were a likely cause for a good number of them.

(There might have been more anti-American violence, but the Germans were grateful that we weren't raping and ethnic cleansing them, like the Russians were doing in Eastern Europe, with the post-VE Day German death total being two million or maybe higher.)

So, where did the speechwriters of the Bush Administration luminaries come up with this idea? Apparently, they misread a lame pro-war fictitious satire written on July 28, 2003 by Rand Simberg as being real! Simberg blogged:

Administration In Crisis Over Burgeoning Quagmire
August 12, 1945

WASHINGTON DC (Routers) President Truman, just a few months into his young presidency, is coming under increasing fire from some Congressional Republicans for what appears to be a deteriorating security situation in occupied Germany, with some calling for his removal from office.

Over three months after a formal declaration of an end to hostilities, the occupation is bogged down. Fanatical elements of the former Nazi regime who, in their zeal to liberate their nation from the foreign occupiers, call themselves members of the Werwolf (werewolves) continue to commit almost-daily acts of sabotage against Germany's already-ravaged infrastructure, and attack American troops. They have been laying road mines, poisoning food and water supplies, and setting various traps, often lethal, for the occupying forces ...

For many, marching in the streets with signs of "No Blood For Soviet Socialism," and "It's All About The Coal," this merely confirmed that the administration had other agendas than its stated one, and that the war was unjustified and unjustifiable.

It was then published by on July 30, 2003.

Simberg later wrote:

To indicate clearly that it was satire, I attributed it, as usual, to the mythical WW II news agency, "Routers," and I incorporated my own 2003 copyright at the bottom. Subsequently, it was picked up by emailers, the copyright was stripped, "Routers" was misspelled to correspond to a more familiar (and actual) wire service, and it quickly found its way across cyberspace.

We don't know for sure that this influenced Rice and Rumsfeld, but it's the likeliest source I've heard of.

Now, Rice is supposed to be an academic expert on the Soviet Union, so the history of Central Europe in 1945-47 shouldn't be such terra incognita to her. (And Rumsfeld, who was born in 1932, is old enough to know better.) So, why were they so credulous (besides, of course, wanting this to be true to make their policy look less disastrous)?

As usual, I see an aversion to politically incorrect generalizing about ethnicities as a source of ignorance among decision-makers. One of the basic generalizations that anybody who looks around at the real world with open eyes quickly comes up with is the reverse correlation between organized violence and disorganized violence. Groups that are competent at organized violence in wartime, such as the Germans and Japanese, tend to be orderly during peacetime. And groups that tend to be anarchic during peacetime also tend to be incompetent at organized violence during wartime, with the Iraqis being perhaps the most notorious example of this.

There are many exceptions to this, but it's still one of the most obvious patterns in 20th Century history. However, if you are morally opposed to noticing patterns, as all the most respectable people are today, you'll be a sucker for idiocy.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Steve, you're saying that Condi and Rummy thought this because they weren't racist enough? Maybe, like 90% of human beings, they believed what they wanted to believe?

Anonymous said...

"And groups that tend to be anarchic during peacetime also tend to be incompetent at organized violence during wartime, with the Iraqis being perhaps the most notorious example of this."

Not to mention the Italians in the First Italo–Ethiopian War. Ethiopia was lucky to be attacked by such incompetents.

Anonymous said...

Steve, it seems even your boy Thomas Sowell bought into the Werewolf myth:

Anonymous said...

The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement 1944-1946

Dr. P. Biddiscombe

Anonymous said...

there really are no similarities between iraq and japan or germany. it's kind of insulting that the bush administration would even liken them. as if we needed any more evidence that they have no idea what they're talkng about.

Anonymous said...

The whole spurious Germany:Iraq comparison on the lips of Condoleeza Rice is just more evidence for those who say this whole war effort was really all about "saving Israel" all along. Same for the "Islamo-Fascist" meme on the lips of every Fox News anchorman.

No idea whether these efforts hurt or help Israel. But more importantly, what do these campaigns have to do with US strategic interests?

Anonymous said...

Statements like 'no blood for socialism' are obviously satire. However, postwar Nazi resistance was a main subject of Lars von Triers' movie _Zentropa_, ('91, aka _Europa_ -- odd (& recommended, btw)) They were also called 'werewolves' in that movie, so I suspect there's some historical truth to the name for such a group or groups. Obviously they didn't have much impact, but it would be interesting to dig up what's really known historicallyabout them.

Anonymous said...

In the 2000 film Nuremberg, reference is made to American soldiers in jeeps having been decapitated by wire traps set across roads. I can't remember if the name Werewolf is invoked, but I'm wondering if there's any historical basis to the allegation.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of the industrial revolution?

Anonymous said...

Steve --

Your BDS is showing. Yes the occupation of Iraq was poorly run, but everyone in the Administration had reason for optimism and to not listen to critics.

Critics had predicted disaster and American forces being wiped out shortly before Kabul fell in Afghanistan. Rummy that strategic idiot went fast and light in Afghanistan and thus used speed and tribal auxiliaries to outflank and destroy the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, while avoiding logistical nightmare that doomed Russian and British expeditions in the past.

Rummy had destroyed Saddam's still formidable army in three weeks and the "Stalingrad in Baghdad" turned out to be a no-show despite all the predictions from the critics.

So, given their miserable track record in all things military, no wonder they were not listened to.

And the Werewolves were real. They did kill American soldiers in ones-ies and two-sies as documented in Ambrose and Studs Terkels books. They were never a serious threat, mostly as you note because of the Soviet Threat.

Werewolves were more a factor in Soviet controlled areas. The Soviets finally responded by killing all the men in a small town after a number of their soldiers had been killed and mutilated by Werewolves. The French in their zone conducted numerous firing squad executions after similar incidents, as did the Americans.

But Steve you are willfully ignoring the significant difference between the Japanese and Germans and IRAQ:

Iraqis have STATE SPONSORED ALLIES and STATE SAFE HAVENS. To wit: Iran and Syria. Iran and Syria provide men, materials, training, money, and safe havens to the terrorists, the Iranians helping in all areas BOTH Shia and Sunnis to stir the pot, make the US leave, and carve up Iraq to their benefit.

Japanese and Germans had no states right next door, with porous borders, and regimes that were both untouchable and able and willing to help fund, train, arm, and conduct terrorist attacks on the occupying forces.

We would have EXACTLY the same thing if we'd left say, Mussolini alone and never invaded him, along with Vichy France being bypassed.

What made our victory complete and the Werewolves a non-factor was not racial or cultural differences Steve but the complete lack of hostile states willing to challenge the victorious Allies.

Lesson: when you go to war destroy your enemies totally. Half measures makes things worse.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is any evidence that Simberg's piece is the source of Rice's and Rumsfeld's misleading assertions.

Your hypothesis: They read a pretty clearly satirical piece, thought it was real, and gave speeches about it.

My hypothesis: They took a granule of truth from history books and tried to make a larger case about it.

Use Occam's razor.

Either way, their statements are wrong, but in the absence of evidence that they based their assertions on this one blog, I think you have to assume it's more likely they were simply "revising and extending" history texts. This is even more likely because there is no reference to the article in their own texts.

Anonymous said...

"And groups that tend to be anarchic during peacetime also tend to be incompetent at organized violence during wartime, with the Iraqis being perhaps the most notorious example of this."

I can think of a big 20th century counterexample to that one. China was in a state of civil war and anarchy during WWII, with Nationalists and Communists fighting themselves as well as the Japanese in quasi-guerrilla fashion. The Chinese were not able to drive the Japanese out of China.

That's one of the basic reasons why General Doug's ass M. thought US armed forces could easily whip the ChiComs if they dared to cross the Yalu River.

Anonymous said...

Iffy. Even the most organized group can have a civil war, which is what the Nationalist-Communist conflict was. And China has a long history of organization and bureaucracy, perhaps the longest on earth.

Anonymous said...

In his memoir, A Third Face, World War Two veteran and former Hollywood director, Sam Fuller, writes about the making of his 1958 film Verboten!.
The film does reference the Werewolves of postwar Germany:
"My yarn was ripped from the headlines of that time. In the postwar period, the threat of a renaissance of the Nazi movement was very real. Young Hitlerian extremists had formed secret gangs. Nazism was outlawed so the gangs went underground. They were controlled by veterans who refused to acknowledge defeat."
Fuller, Samuel. 2002. A Third Face. Alfred A. Knopf

Anonymous said...

it's more simple than that. japan and germany are just nothing like iraq in any way.

in 1945, japan and germany were monoracial, industrialized nations with mean IQs over 100 and technology even more advanced than the US. germany was christian, japan was shinto.

in 2003, iraq was a collection of farmers and peasants in an pre-industrialized nation with mean IQs in the high 80s and no technology. iraq was divided between sunni and shiite muslims.

you must also overlook the fact that iraq has never had a republic, and the US is trying to force it to use an alien form of government that the people don't want and have no experience with.

there was no organized, persistent, large scale guerilla resistance in japan or germany because 99% of the people honored a formal surrender to an organized war and mainly wanted to get back to living in peaceful world leading nation. back to science discoveries and nobel prizes, back to invention and creating new industries, back to world beating manufacturing, back to classic works of art and music.

does the current US administration seriously want us to believe that iraq is similar to world leaders like japan or germany? that somebody like wehrner von braun is going to come out of iraq? that iraq can "get back" to building and exporting cars and electronics "if only we rebuild iraq right"?

rebuilding japan and germany is total joke. you could not pick 2 nations that would be easier to rebuild. germany and japan are BETTER than the US nation that occupied and rebuilt them.

Alex K said...


Ethnic Germans were deported from Eastern European countries mostly by local authorities with support from the public, not by the Soviet Army as far as I know (except for the 1/3 of East Prussia that went to Russia). Once the elemental wave of pillage, drinking and rape subsided (which took a few weeks), there wasn't that much friction between the Red Army and German civilians. I have never read of significant resistance either to Soviet occupation or the ethnic cleansings -- and I would imagine that in Soviet times, any story worth telling about post-war Nazi resistance would have been told, likely as a movie.

But -- and that's important to your case -- there were significant resistance movements in other Soviet-dominated countries and areas, known as "Forest brothers" to Russians -- in Lithuania, Western Ukraine, Poland, and even Estonia. Those guerrilla fighters held on until the early 1950s. By that time, their supply routes almost died out, their numbers dwindled, and local support withered. None of those countries, it seems, had an efficient army before the war, surely not Poland or Ukraine. It would be also interesting to look at resistance movements under Nazi occupation -- near-absent in well-developed, well-run countries (except the mountainous north of Norway) but active in Greece, Yugoslavia and Poland. Russia is a mixed case -- its resistance fighters had strong ties with the regular army, and the movement was not that grassroot.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Hollywood movies by jewish directors are good sources for historical facts concerning Germany in WWII.

I especially like to cite Orson Welles's "The Stranger" (1946). (Though Welles was not jewish, his producers and milieu certainly were.) In that major historical document, it is revealed that Germans in caves are conducting occult rites intended to rekindle the war in a matter of months. They are also infiltrating the United States Supreme Court, in order to launch a massive holocaust right here, in America!

The dirty German menace never went away/
I seen it in the matinee....

Matt said...

Groups that are competent at organized violence in wartime, such as the Germans and Japanese, tend to be orderly during peacetime. And groups that tend to be anarchic during peacetime also tend to be incompetent at organized violence during wartime, with the Iraqis being perhaps the most notorious example of this.

Arab tribesmen during the time of Mohammed and Genghis-Khan era Mongolian tribesmen are two counterexamples - of disorganized people that went on to conquer a good part of the world.

No, what you really mean is that a society which systematically submits its children to psychological abuse in order to increase their responsiveness to authority, will breed a populace that a) eagerly submits to authority, b) makes excellent soldiers, c) readily obeys an occupier as well.

Germany and Japan were the primary examples of such societies, England to a lesser extent, and America to a still lesser extent.

According to this perspective, England and America would also be relatively peaceful under occupation, assuming that the government had officially surrendered.

Which reminds me - don't you think part of the problem in Iraq was that Saddam's government never officially surrendered?

Anonymous said...

Congo Rice is an embarrassment. I was at a dinner a while back of French conservatives and had to apologize profusely.

Anonymous said...

Alexei: Poland's army not an "efficient army"? They held off Hitler longer than France did, and surrendered only after being invaded by the Soviets from the East. Recall also the beating that Poland delivered to the Soviets when they invaded it in 1921.