The SS (The Third Reich)
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"The SS" is a volume in the Time-Life Third Reich series. This Time-Life work is an excellent historical overview of the SS. Good introduction for the casual historian. With illustrations and photographs.
satisfied, and more than insatiable ambition drove them on; in the maelstrom of Hitler's government, littered with organizations and alliances created and abandoned in the — — 71 quest for more power, to stand deliberate design, everyone was still was to be consumed. By Hitler's pitted against everyone else. Par1;nerships were temporary, principles did not exist, and nothing was prohibited except what displeased the Fiihrer. The path to success had been demonstrated: Find enemies,
officer named Fritsch. Later, Schmidt had been encouraged to identify one of the transgressors as General Fritsch, commander in chief of the army. Himmler reportedly had taken the matter to Hitler, u^ho glanced at the transcript of the Schmidt interrogation, labeled it "muck, and curtly ordered Himmler to burn it. Fritsch at that time was considered indispensable to Germany's rearmament efforts and therefore enjoyed Hitler's total support. Of course, the "muck had not been burned but filed, and
local volunteer units in Latvia, Lith- and the Ukraine, had killed nearly half a million people. By such standards, the execution that took place in the city of Minsk a month or so after the invasion was a modest one. It was deemed special only by the presence of Heinrich Himmler. This extraordinary man, whom uania, Estonia, Hitler's architect Albert Speer how later described as "half schoolmaster, half was done. He ordered the commander of Task Force B to line up 100 prisoners, men and
the SS-VT. For all the training and preparation, the armed SS had yet to test its mettle in combat. There were two opportunities in 1938. In March a motorized battalion of Dietrich's Leibstandarte had accompanied Wehrmacht troops occupying Austria during the Anschluss. But the Austrians had failed to fight back. Likewise, three SS-VT regiments and two battalions of SS-T participated in the occupation of the Czech Sudetenland in the autumn and met no resistance. /Vn order issued by the OKW,
was now a unit from Wehrmacht the outset of the Polish invasion 100,000 strong. Moreover, to protect his new divisions Himmler had persuaded the Fiihrer to institute special SS wayward SS personnel, effectively removing the SS from the legal jurisdiction of the German army. The development could not have been timelier from Himmler's viewpoint. Already an SS man had been court-martialed for his role in the shooting of fifty Polish Jews. Himmler wanted to make sure that such a trial would not