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Shelves: ww2 , history This monumental book on the SS is one I believe many will not want to miss. For the uninitiated like me who thinks that the SS is but a single organisation of uniform people, this book will almost confuse you with the divisions and sub-divisions within the collective SS outfit. Riding along the history of the SS is the inescapable history of the Third Reich, this book therefore does more than one job.
The Introduction to the book was written like a literature review in a thesis with a good survey This monumental book on the SS is one I believe many will not want to miss.
The Introduction to the book was written like a literature review in a thesis with a good survey of the then available literature. The research questions were given at the start: 1.
What is this organisation and how do they go about the tasks that defined their existence? What turned the SS into this machinery that turned the ethnic cleansing doctrine into reality? The author then spent the rest of the book trying to answer these two questions, which he did admirably. It is obvious that the author researched the materials very well and was meticulous about the smallest details.
Unfortunately, I became quickly lost in the many names that appeared in the book, some making but a fleeting appearance. At first I tried to follow the names and developments as closely as possible, but found it tough-going and sometimes lost sight of the larger story. I then resorted to only paying attention to names associated with major events or incidents. A book on the Third Reich will always evoke questions about how it came to be.
How did a bunch of people who started off on the fringe, identified more with a group of hooligans than stately politicians came to gain total control over Germany and almost dominated Europe?
The author did not explicitly answer these questions but gave clues for the readers to make their own conclusions. It was not that nobody was able to see the sinister side of the Hitler, but the law, which might have stopped him, failed to be exercised.
The generals had their chances but would never take the fateful step when the time came pg. There are a few chapters that are particularly worth reading. Examples of these are the one on Heydrich Chapter 8 and especially the one on the Final Solution Chapter The latter gives a raw depiction at the heart of the Nazi regime, one that is defined by violence. Many readers would have known about the camps and the number of people who died.
And I always believe that the interest in understanding the Nazis is precisely because we know that we might be like them. More interestingly is how people deal with the issue of the SS after the war. The author hinted that the Germans were very quick to recognise the existence of the SS, not to glorify them, but rather to paint them in as bad a light as possible, thereby shifting their collective guilt to the SS, absolving themselves of blame pg.
What of the surviving members of the SS then?
Der Orden unter dem Totenkopf: Die Geschichte der SS