The Waffen-SS was one of the most feared combat organizations of the twentieth century. Originally formed as a protection squad for Adolf Hitler it became the military wing of Heinrich Himmler’s SS and a key part of the Nazi state, with nearly 900,000 men passing through its ranks. The Waffen-SS played a crucial role in furthering the aims of the Third Reich which made its soldiers Hitler’s political operatives. During its short history, the elite military divisions of the Waffen-SS acquired a reputation for excellence, but their famous battlefield record of success was matched by their repeated and infamous atrocities against both soldiers and civilians.
Waffen-SS is the first definitive single-volume military history of the Waffen-SS in more than 50 years. In considering the actions of its leading personalities, including Himmler, Sepp Dietrich, and Otto Skorzeny, and analyzing its specialist training and ideological outlook, eminent historian Adrian Gilbert chronicles the battles and campaigns that brought the Waffen-SS both fame and infamy.