Hitler’s Elite: The SS 1939-45

Hitler’s Elite: The SS 1939-45 tells the complete story of the SS at individual, unit, and organizational levels.

"Hitler’s Elite: The SS 1939-45" By Chris McNab

Hitler’s Elite: The SS 1939-45
By Chris McNab
Osprey Publishing
Retail Price $40.00
Amazon Price: $26.72

 

 

Book Description: 

The Third Reich’s Waffen-SS defended Nazi Germany’s Eastern & Western Fronts, and the Allgemeine-SS ran Holocaust concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Dachau, and Buchenwald.

The SS has become the most infamous military formation in history. From its diminutive origins in the 1920s as Hitler’s personal bodyguard, by the late war years it grew to a sprawling organization of hundreds of thousands of men, with a field army (the Waffen-SS-Armed-SS) numbering nearly 40 divisions and huge corporate, racial, and political power in the Allgemeine-SS (General-SS). The activities of the SS ranged from the heroic to the horrific; from fighting extraordinary defensive battles on the Eastern and Western Fronts, to running the concentration and extermination camp systems, and providing personnel for the Einsatzgruppen murder squads in Eastern Europe.

Hitler’s Elite: The SS 1939-45 tells the complete story of the SS at individual, unit, and organizational levels. Following an explanation of the SS’ complex political and social origins, and its growth within the Nazi empire, it goes on to look at both its war record and its wider role in Heinrich Himmler’s implementation of Hitler’s vision for the Third Reich. As well as providing a combat history of the Waffen-SS from 1939 to 1945, it also explores themes such as ideology, recruitment, foreign SS personnel, training, and equipment. The textual history is brought to life with more than 200 contemporary photographs and colour artworks from Osprey’s series titles. As a companion volume to Hitler’s Armies and Hitler’s Eagles, this book gives a detailed and highly visual insight into one of Hitler’s most powerful instruments of policy.

Review

The SS was the terror of Europe. Swearing eternal allegiance to Adolf Hitler, it infiltrated every aspect of German life and was responsible for the deaths of millions.  This eye-opening book is a good introduction to the SS and also describes in fascinating detail the chaotic political conditions that allowed the SS-despite rivalries and bizarre conditions-to assume and exercise unaccountable power.  The author goes into a detailed history of the Waffen-SS from 1939 to 1945 that is very thorough and discusses the fighting power and it’s downfall.  This is the most complete, authoritative, and interesting book that I have read on the subject. There is nothing in the formation, administration, directing and eventual destruction of the SS that is not addressed, and much is covered here which is simply never dealt with elsewhere.

~Reviewed by Herb O.

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