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Army of Evil: A History of the SS

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In Nazi Germany, they were called the Schutzstaffel. The world would know them as the dreaded SS—the most loyal and ruthless enforcers of the Third Reich…

It began as a small squad of political thugs. Yet by the end of 1935, the SS had taken control of all police and internal security duties in Germany—ranging from local village “gendarmes” all they way up to the secret political police and the Gestapo. And by 1944 the militarized Waffen SS had more than eight hundred thousand ...

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Army of Evil: A History of the SS

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Overview

In Nazi Germany, they were called the Schutzstaffel. The world would know them as the dreaded SS—the most loyal and ruthless enforcers of the Third Reich…

It began as a small squad of political thugs. Yet by the end of 1935, the SS had taken control of all police and internal security duties in Germany—ranging from local village “gendarmes” all they way up to the secret political police and the Gestapo. And by 1944 the militarized Waffen SS had more than eight hundred thousand men serving in the field, even rivaling Germany’s regular armed forces, the Wehrmacht.

In Army of Evil: A History of the SS, author Adrian Weale delves into materials not previously available, including recently released intelligence files, the most up-to-date research and rare and never-before-published photographs.

Going beyond the myths and characterizations, this comprehensive account reveals the reality of the SS as a cadre of unwavering political fanatics and power-seeking opportunists who slavishly followed an ideology that disdained traditional morality, and were prepared to implement it to the utmost, murderous extreme that ultimately resulted in the Holocaust.

This is a definitive historical narrative of the birth, legacy, and ultimate demise of one of the most feared political and military organizations ever known, and those twisted, cruel men who were responsible for one of the most appalling crimes against humanity in all history.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is neither a combat history of the Waffen SS nor a history of the Holocaust. Instead, using newly released intelligence files and photographs, and describing the organization's history, ideology, and decision-making processes, Weale chronicles the evolution of a ragtag group of political intimidators into a criminal organization responsible for the Holocaust. He effectively argues that the Holocaust neither was perpetrated by psychopathic sadists (more often than not the perpetrators were career opportunists), nor was the Waffen SS an elite military formation whose guilt for crimes against humanity was by association only. Particularly interesting is that Weale rejects the idea that the Waffen SS were an elite force. Standards for recruitment were often low (criminal elements were admitted), often based on favoritism, and efforts to recruit foreign volunteers were by and large useless. The organization was but an arm of the SS that was never strong enough nor intended to counterbalance the German army and, ultimately, was a drain on valuable resources. VERDICT Intended for general readers, and best for them.—PM
Kirkus Reviews
Riveting look at the formation of the Schutzstaffeln (aka the SS), from Hitler's early private bodyguards to Heinrich Himmler's elite extermination squads. Weale (Patriot Traitors, 2001, etc.) plots the evolution of the SS as the embodiment and implementation of the Nazi racist ideology. Organized in 1925 as a personal security detail for the National Socialist leader on the rise, the SS was conceived as a self-conscious elite force set apart from the party's thuggish, ill-disciplined paramilitary force, the Sturmabteilung, or SA. Once the young Bavarian Nazi-organizer Himmler took over the restructuring process, the SS was soon imbued with new discipline, uniforms, recruitment and ideological framework that embraced the pseudo-science of eugenics current at the time. Weale breaks down the criteria for SS selectivity, which required not only absolute political loyalty, but a kind of physical perfection, including height restrictions and proof of "strictly Nordic German" blood; marriage by SS officers had to be approved by the Race Office. By 1933, Hitler was chancellor, and tension among the German army, the SA and the SS was eliminated by the Night of the Long Knives of July 1934, when Himmler's SS became the fully independent organization within the Nazi party in charge of security and policing--soon to be armed and sent into invasion action in Poland and elsewhere. Step by step, Weale delineates the consolidation of Himmler's power, including the implementation of the concentration camp system, first at Dachau, then in the "special task groups" sent in to mop up after Nazi invasion in Eastern Europe as the SS soldiers evolved into instruments of genocide. A chilling examination of the SS makeup, structure and ideology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451237910
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Adrian Weale was educated at York University and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He spent seven years in the regular army as a military intelligence officer, serving Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and Central America. He left in 1992 to pursue a career as a writer. He has published eight works of non-fiction and he writes and reviews regularly for a range of national newspapers. In 2003, he was mobilized for military service in Iraq, where he was appointed Deputy Governor of Dhi Qar Province. In this role, he organized and supervised the first free local elections in Iraqi history in August and September 2003. He remains on active duty.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Preface xi

Author's Note xv

Introduction 1

1 The Defeat of Wilhelmine Germany and the Origins of the National Socialist Party 5

2 The Rebirth of National Socialism and the Creation of the SS 19

3 Heinrich Himmler 33

4 A New Broom 46

5 Taking Control 68

6 Consolidation 87

7 Dachau and the Establishment of the Concentration Camps 95

8 The Central Organisation of the Ss 110

9 The Race and Settlement Office 119

10 The SD-The Intelligence and Security Wing Office 130

11 The Path to Genocide 151

12 Euthanasia and the Beginning of Mass Murder 169

13 Origins of the Waffen-SS 193

14 Militarising the "Political Soldiers" 205

15 Expansion of the Militarised SS 215

16 The Invasion of Poland and the Special Task Groups 224

17 The Ss and the Polish Jews 235

18 Gottlob Berger and the Creation of the Waffen-SS 246

19 Making Up the Numbers: Foreign Volunteers and Criminals in the Waffen-SS 256

20 The Waffen-SS Heads East 296

21 Operation Barbarossa and the First and Second Sweeps 306

22 The Wannsee Conference 325

23 The Extermination Camps 338

24 Auschwitz 366

25 The Final Act 398

Epilogue 410

Appendix: Table of Comparative Military Ranks 413

Notes 415

Bibliography 433

Index 441

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    Everybody seems to have forgotten what General Patton said about

    Everybody seems to have forgotten what General Patton said about the SS. This book is just all drama. Instruments of genocide. What a bullcrap. Adrian Weale is just another opportunist.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    I love you

    Camofur and Strongheart. †J

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

    I read some of it every night and its great. Very informative. G

    I read some of it every night and its great. Very informative. Gives interesting facts, and it is a good start if you are just starting to read about the SS.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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