National Socialist Motor Corps
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The National Socialist Motor Corps (German: Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps, NSKK) was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) that officially existed from May 1931 to 1945. The group was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps (NSAK), which had existed since April 1930.
The NSKK served as a training organization, mainly instructing members in the operation and maintenance of high-performance motorcycles and automobiles. The NSKK was further used to transport NSDAP and SA officials/members. The NSKK also served as a roadside assistance group in the mid-1930s, comparable to the modern-day American Automobile Association or the British Automobile Association. With the outbreak of World War II NSKK ranks were recruited to serve in the transport corps of various German military branches. There was also a French section of the NSKK which was organized after the German occupation of France began in 1940. The NSKK was the smallest of the Nazi Party organizations.
The National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK) was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps (NSAK), which had existed since being formed on 1 April 1930. Martin Bormann founded the NSAK. The organisation was responsible for co-ordinating the donated use of motor vehicles belonging to party members, and later expanded to training members in automotive skills. Adolf Hühnlein was appointed the leader of the NSAK which was to serve primarily as a motorized corps of the Sturmabteilung (SA). Thereafter, Hühnlein suggested the name be changed to National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK). The name change became official on 1 May 1931. It was a paramilitary organization with its own system of paramilitary ranks and the smallest of the Nazi Party organizations.
The primary aim of the Corps was to educate its members in motoring skills and to transport NSDAP and SA officials/members. The members were mainly trained in the operation and maintenance of high performance motorcycles and automobiles. In the mid-1930s, the NSKK also served as a roadside assistance group, comparable to the modern-day American Automobile Association or the British Automobile Association.
Membership in the NSKK did not require any prior knowledge of automobiles and the group was known to accept persons for membership without drivers' licenses. It was thought that training in the NSKK would make up for any previous lack of knowledge. The NSKK did, however, adhere to Nazi racial doctrine and screened its members for Aryan qualities.
On 20 July 1934, three weeks after the major purge the SA suffered during the Night of the Long Knives, the 10,000 member strong NSKK was separated and promoted into an independent NSDAP organization. From 1935 onward, the NSKK also provided training for Panzer crews and drivers of the German Army. By 1938, the members underwent mechanics and operational training for both civilian and military type vehicles.
With the outbreak of World War II in Europe on 1 September 1939, the National Socialist Motor Corps became a target for army recruitment, since NSKK members possessed knowledge of motorized transport, a coveted skill when the bulk of German ground forces relied on horses. The NSKK itself was formed into transport companies to move German Army troops, supplies and ammunition.
The French section of the NSKK began shortly after the German occupation of France in 1940. However, the section was not officially recognized until July 1942. The main office was in Paris, but recruitment occurred throughout France. By the end of 1942 there was one company of 200 men; by the end of World War II there had been seven companies raised. The men had to sign up for two years of service. The French NSKK was originally attached to the Luftwaffe, although they wore the standard NSKK uniforms and used it rank system. They did have their own arm badge with the colors of the French flag. The first version had "NSKK" in black letters across the top of the shield; the second version had the word "France" in black letters across the top of the shield.
The original unit was officially known as NSKK Gruppe Luftwaffe and a second one was known as NSKK Transportgruppe Todt. At Melun, the NSKK had it own driving school for French recruits and others from European countries. Before the Schutzstaffel (SS) began to openly recruit members into the Waffen-SS, Frenchmen used the NSKK as a "back-door" to get into the Waffen-SS to fight on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union. Some French NSKK men were sent to the Eastern Front in a group known as NSKK Einsatzgruppe Russland.
In September 1944, the Waffen-Grenadier-Brigade der SS "Charlemagne", was formed. It was formed from the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism or LVF and the SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade France. Joining them were French collaborators fleeing the Allied advance in the west, as well as Frenchmen from the German Navy, the NSKK, the Organisation Todt and the detested Milice security police. In February 1945, the unit was officially upgraded to a division and became known as the 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French).
End of the NSKK
The NSKK was the smallest of the Nazi Party organizations. The Corps was disbanded in May 1945 and the group was declared a "condemned organization" at the Nuremberg Trials (although not a criminal one). This was due in part to the NSKK’s origins in the SA and the racial requirements for membership.
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