Concept

Turkestan Legion

Summary
The Turkestan Legion (Turkistanische Legion) was the name for the military units composed of the Turkic peoples who served in the Wehrmacht during World War II. Most of these troops were Red Army POWs who formed a common cause with the Germans (cf. Turkic, Caucasian, Cossack, and Crimean collaborationism with the Axis powers). Its establishment was spearheaded by Nuri Killigil, a Turkish theorist of Pan-Turkism, which sought to separate territories inhabited by Turkic peoples from their countries and eventually unite them under Turkish rule. Although Turkic peoples had been perceived initially as "racially inferior" by the Nazis, this attitude officially already changed in autumn 1941, when, in view of the difficulties faced in their invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis attempted to harness the nationalist sentiment of Turkic peoples in the Soviet Union for political gain. The first Turkestan Legion was mobilized in May 1942, originally consisting of only one battalion but expan
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