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The SSshort for the German Schutzstaffelnwas a far-flung organization, of which the Gestapo was only one branch, that served as the tyrannical expression of Nazi bureaucracy, a politics of terror. Germans in high places still use the SS as a standard excuse for the acts of murder, extortion, and genocide that were facts of daily life under the Nazis. Reitlinger explores the complex social machinery that allowed the SS to operatethe administration and internal rivalries, the SS field divisions, German military intelligence, and the organization of the concentration and death camps. He shows how the SS was embedded in the basic government of the country during those years and how its members were not so much lunatic killers as loyal citizens doing the bidding of a country that had gone insane. Powerful, objective, and based on original German documents and interviewsincluding information from Himmler's statisticianthis book rejects the SS as an alibi for a nation's responsibility in the most far-reaching racial massacre in history.