FROM THE FOREWORD
Throughout the war the Reich Labour Service for men has served the Wehrmacht field forces and its units are now committed to action with increasing frequency.
With more than 300 Gruppen (Groups), each having an average strength of 1000 men, the Reichsarbeitsdienst is estimated to have a total strength of about 300 000 men. In the spring of 1944, these Gruppen were composed of more than 2000 Abteilungen (Detachments), each made up of 150 officers and men.
This total may however, have been somewhat reduced by the current man-power drive in the Reich; but it is believed that in September 1944 the RAD for men had a total membership of not less than 250 000.
In Greater Germany the RAD maintains more than 2500 Head Quarters, control staffs, unit posts, schools, training centres, depots and subsidiary establishments.
The RAD for women, although only about half as strong numerically as the RAD for Men, is organised in similar lines. It is an auxiliary formation within whose ranks the Allied Authorities must reckon with a high degree of fanaticism.
Members of the RAD swear an oath to fealty to Hitler as follows:
“I swear: I will show unswerving loyalty to the Fuhrer of the German Reich and People, Adolf Hitler, to act in absolute obedience to him, and to those leaders appointed by him, to fulfill my duties conscientiously and to be a good comrade of all other members of the German Labour Service.”
For the Occupying forces the entire German Labour Service may well pose a counter-intelligence problem of considerable importance since Nazi indoctrination has been carried out within its framework to a far reachig degree, most of its members having been schooled in the Nazi creed ever since they were in the Hitler Jugend (HItler’s Youth Organisation).
The Regime of the Third Reich has done everything possible to win over and dominate German Youthand Hitler himself has stated repeatedly that youth must be afforded all possible preferential treatment.
In addition , a German youth aged sixteen or seventeen has not fully experienced the horrors of war and is likely to be imbued with all the “heroic”aspects of soldering as well as with a fanatical belief in the Fuhrer’s providential mission, in “German Honour and Destiny”, and all the other precepts of Nazi ideology.
In only a few cases is he the disillusioned adolescent already serving in the Waffen SS or in the Wehrmacht at the front. He suffers only spiritually the “torture and indignity of retreat”. He does not realise that Germany has lost the war.
The regional distribution of permanent RAD Headquarters offers to him and to his professional officers a ready network for post-hostilities underground activities and provides him with a system for evading demobilisation demands enforced by the Allies, once Germany has lost at home and in the field. (Not less than 350 higher RAD headquarters and echelons are permanently maintained in Germany proper and are professionally staffed.)
On the other hand, Rad is a ready instrument for reconstruction work in occupied countries once these have been freed, and it could be used in Germany itself for the maintenance or reconstruction of vital utilities, or demolition of military installations.
There is also the possibilities that the Allies could enlist the youth of Germany into the RAD to avoid unemployment and consequent unrest, provided that the German Labour Service were reconstructed so that it no longer represented a potential source of disaffection.
The RAD, when transformed into an instrument of peace, could easily become a valuable educational factor in post-war Germany.