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 Schutzstaffeln. 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

Overview

In Nazi Germany, they were called the Schutzstaffeln. 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 the way up to the secret political police and the Gestapo. Eventually, its ranks would grow to rival even Germany’s regular armed forces, the Wehrmacht.

Going beyond the myths and characterizations, Army of Evil 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—an ideology that they were prepared to implement to the utmost murderous extreme, which ultimately resulted in the Holocaust.

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

INCLUDES RARE PHOTOGRAPHS

Editorial Reviews

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101598078
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/04/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
588,524
File size:
6 MB
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)

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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Army of Evil: A History of the SS 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Camofur and Strongheart. †J
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.