The true story of Hitler's SS is strange and, at times, absurd. It is the story of an organisation that was not directed by some devilishly efficient system but was the product of accident, inevitability and the grouping together of criminals, social climbers and romantics. The SS was the terror of Europe. Swearing eternal allegiance to Adolf Hitler, it infiltrated every aspect of German life and murdered millions. In charge of the police and the secret service, the SS also occupied key positions in agriculture and the health service while maintaining a powerful influence over racial policy and scientific affairs. The sentries at the Reich Chancellery and the guards in the death camps were hand-picked from their deadly ranks. This book cuts through the myth of the efficient German machine and exposes the rivalries, infighting and bizarre customs of the most macabre elite in recent history. Above all this book describes the chaotic political conditions following the First World War which allowed the SS to assume and exercise unaccountable power from 1930 to its demise 15 years later in the middle of the Third Reich.
Heinz Hohne was head of the Foreign News Department at 'Der Spiegel' and is also the author of CODEWORD: DIREKTOR, the story of the Red Orchestra spy-ring which operated in Nazi Germany.