Swearing eternal allegiance to Hitler, Germany's SS was the terror of Europe, infiltrating every aspect of German life and responsible for the deaths of millions. This gripping history recounts the true story of the SS, and details the chaotic political conditions that allowed it to assume and exercise power. Illustrations. Maps.
The true story of Hitler's SS is strange and, at times, absurd. It is the story of an organization that was not directed by some devilishly efficient system but was the product of accident, inevitability and the grouping together of criminals, social climbers and romantics. The SS was the terror of Europe. Swearing eternal allegiance to Adolf Hitler, it infiltrated every aspect of German life and murdered millions. In charge of the police and the secret service, the SS also occupied key positions in agriculture and the health service while maintaining a powerful influence over racial policy and scientific affairs. The sentries at the Reich Chancellery and the guards in the death camps were hand-picked from their deadly ranks. The Order of the Death,s Head cuts through the myth of the efficient German machine and exposes the rivalries, infighting and bizarre customs of the most macabre élite in recent history.
Above all this book describes, in fascinating detail, the chaotic politica! conditions following the First World War which allowed the SS to assume and exercise unaccountable power from 1930 to its demise fifteen years later in the rubble of the Third Reich.