Throughout World War II, Germany counted on official Allies and volunteers from nations and individuals that sympathized with its goals. The difference between them was that while Allies fought independently under their own flag on the Axis side, volunteers joined the Wehrmacht and fought under the German flag. Both Axis Allies and Foreing Volunteers will be covered on these pages.
Initially countries were skeptic, and preferred to abstain from joining the war electing instead to watch from the sidelines. However, as the successes built, so did the number of Allied Nations and foreign volunteers. These included countries such as Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Some did so very willingly, while others were occupied and a puppet state sympathetic to the Reich was instituted. It should also be noted that not all allies were European. In 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Hitler declared war on the United States, making Japan a wartime ally.
Volunteers also joined the Wehrmacht from occupied, sympathetic and even Allied countries. Many did so in mass units raised by their government, such as the Spanish Blue Division. Other volunteers did so individually and were absorbed into regular units. Ethnic units were also organized in the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS, where many volunteers fought with extreme distinction. These men came from many countries, including Belgium, Norway, and France. Many of them fought on until the bitter end.
Volunteers were only eligible for Wehrmacht awards, while the Axis Allied Armies were also eligible for awards their nation offered. Many of these were rich in history, and were also occasionally presented to and worn by German forces. These pages will cover the decorations of both Volunteers in the Wehrmacht and Axis Allies. Please follow the links below to the open pages in this section.
|Italian Soldiers on Parade (1939)|
Please note that the Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, as well as the volunteer sections, are under construction
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