|Born||22 April 1899|
Berlin, German Empire
|Died||1 September 1947 (aged 48)|
Ludwigslust, Allied-occupied Germany
|Allegiance|| German Empire |
Second Spanish Republic
|Service/|| Imperial German Army |
Spanish Republican Army
|Battles/wars|| First World War |
Spanish Civil War
Hans Kahle (22 April 1899 – 1 September 1947) was a German journalist, communist, and head of the Volkspolizei in Mecklenburg.
Kahle was born in Berlin-Charlottenburg, the son of a senior official. He attended high school, followed by the main military academy, the Preußische Hauptkadettenanstalt, in Lichterfelde. He fought as a cadet and later as an Oberleutnant in the Imperial German Army during World War I and became a prisoner of war in 1918, held by the Third French Republic, from which he was repatriated in 1920.
After the war, he began a commercial apprenticeship and attended the London School of Economics. From 1921 to 1926, he was a clerk in Mexico, and returned to the Weimar Republic in 1927. He became a member of the German Communist Party (KPD) in 1928. During 1930–1933, he served as editor, publishing director and later chairman of the independent radio-federal employees and the paramilitary wing of the Communist Party.
In 1933, he was forced to emigrate to Switzerland, and later he was sent to France. There he worked as a journalist, as an editor of Tribunal, and organized for the International Red Aid in Spain relief efforts for the Victims of the Asturian miners' uprising. In 1936 he worked in Paris in the organizing committee of the International Brigades in Spain, until he went to Spain in October. According to information later received by British Intelligence, Kahle was alleged to have been one of the leading spymasters for the NKVD, the Soviet political police, in the Second Spanish Republic.
Kahle fought until 1938 in the Spanish Civil War, in the International Brigade of the Spanish Republican Army. Initially, he was commander of the "Edgar André Batallion", from November 1936 Commander of the XI International Brigade (Thälmann)In 1937, he became commander of the 17th Division, and during the Battle of the Ebro in 1938 he commanded the 45th Division of the Spanish Republican Army.
During 1938 and 1939, he was interned as an enemy alien by the Third French Republic. Between 1940 and 1941, Kahle was also interned by the United Kingdom on the Isle of Man and in Canada. After his release in 1941, Kahle returned to London, where he worked as a war correspondent. He was a founding member of the Free Germany Movement, which was believed by MI5, the British domestic counterintelligence service, to be a front for recruiting anti-Nazi refugees into a Soviet NKGB spy ring. MI5 also believed Kahle to be a very high level Soviet intelligence operative and spymaster and, in addition to opening his mail, MI5 secretly had Kahle under constant surveillance. For this very reason, in fact, intercepting a wartime letter to Kahle from Eric Hobsbawm led MI5 to start a file on the latter.
In February 1946, Kahle returned to the Soviet Zone of Occupied Germany, which he helped to build into a future Soviet Bloc police state that would later be named the German Democratic Republic. Kahle became chief of the Volkspolizei in Mecklenburgand state chairman of the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) in Mecklenburg. He died at age 48 in 1947 in Ludwigslust.
The International Brigades were military units set up by the Communist International to assist the Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. The organization existed for two years, from 1936 until 1938. It is estimated that during the entire war, between 40,000 and 59,000 members served in the International Brigades, including some 10,000 who died in combat. Beyond the Spanish Civil War, "International Brigades" is also sometimes used interchangeably with the term foreign legion in reference to military units comprising foreigners who volunteer to fight in the military of another state, often in times of war.
The Lincoln Battalion was the 17th battalion of the XV International Brigade, a mixed brigade of the International Brigades also known as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. It was organized by the Communist International and named after President Abraham Lincoln who led the US in its fight to end slavery during the American Civil War.
Wilhelm Zaisser was a German communist politician and statesman who served as the first Minister for State Security of the German Democratic Republic (1950–1953).
Michael O'Riordan was the founder of the Communist Party of Ireland (3rd) and also fought with the Connolly Column in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.
Konrad Wolf was an East German film director. He was the son of writer, doctor and diplomat Friedrich Wolf, and the younger brother of Stasi spymaster Markus Wolf. "Koni" was his nickname.
Karol Wacław Świerczewski was a Polish and Soviet Red Army general and statesman. He was a Bolshevik Party member during the Russian Civil War and a Soviet officer in the wars fought abroad by the Soviet Union including the one against Polish as well as Ukrainian Republics and in Republican Spain. In 1939 he participated in the Soviet invasion of Poland again. At the end of World War II in Europe he was installed as one of leaders of the Soviet-sponsored Polish Provisional Government of National Unity. Soon later, Świerczewski died in a country-road ambush shot by the militants from OUN-UPA. He was an icon of communist propaganda for the following several decades.
The Connolly Column was the name given to a group of Irish republican socialist volunteers who fought for the Second Spanish Republic in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. They were named after James Connolly, the executed leader of the Irish Citizen Army. They were a company-strength unit of the XV International Brigade, which also included the US, British and Latin American battalions in Spain. The name is now retroactively applied to all Irish volunteers who fought for the Spanish Republic.
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Manfred (Moses) Stern (1896–1954) was a member of the GRU, Soviet military intelligence. He served as a spy in the United States, as a military advisor in China, and gained fame under his nom de guerre as General Kléber, leader of the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.
The Thälmann Battalion was a battalion of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. It was named after the imprisoned German communist leader Ernst Thälmann and included approximately 1,500 people, mainly Germans, Austrians, Swiss and Scandinavians. The battalion fought in the defence of Madrid. Amongst the commanders of the battalion were the German writer, historian and World War I officer Ludwig Renn and Prussian World War I officer Hans Kahle, later promoted to lead the Republican 45th division for a time. The battalion, like the International Brigades in general, also attracted its share of intellectuals, such as the well-known writer Willi Bredel who became its commissar.
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