Army of Evil: A History of the SS

Army of Evil: A History of the SS

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by Adrian Weale
     
 

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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

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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.
From the Publisher
“Exceptional.”—Andrew Roberts, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Storm of War

“Compelling...This is an extremely important book, which I recommend most highly.”—Michael Burleigh, Author of Moral Combat

“In this landmark history, Adrian Weale tells the twenty-year story of the SS with much brio and authority, and presents a story rich in drama and horror. This is a major achievement by a historian at the top of his game.”—Guy Walters, Literary Review (UK)

“Riveting…a chilling examination of the SS makeup, structure, and ideology.”—Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451237910
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
09/04/2012
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Compelling…Weale elucidates the warped values which enabled this sinister organization to commit some of the worst crimes in recorded history. This is an extremely important book which I recommend most highly.”—Michael Burleigh, author of Moral Combat

“Exceptional.”—Andrew Roberts, Mail On Sunday (UK)

“In this landmark history, Adrian Weale tells the twenty-year story of the SS with much brio and authority, and presents a story rich in drama and horror. This is a major achievement by a historian at the top of his game…A meticulous account of the emergence of the SS from its origins as Hitler’s protection squad to the huge, ungainly beast that it became.”—Guy Walters, Literary Review (UK)

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