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The SS: Alibi of a Nation, 1922-1945
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.
A Masterful Work of History
By Cody Carlson
- September 6, 2000
It's been over thirty years since Gerald Reitlinger's 'The SS. Alibi of a nation, 1922-45' was published and yet it still remains one of the most informative and important books on the subject of Nazi Germany and the SS. In 1945-6 the Nuremburg court ruled that the SS was a criminal organization and membership itself was a crime. Reitlinger argues that this was a mistake- in criminalizing this one organization, the court all but absolved the other bureacratic agencies that contributed no less assiduously to the 'Final Solution,' and provided a nation that willingly followed Hitler with the ultimate scapegoat. Throughout the book the reader is introduced to lesser known, though no less responsible, members of Hitler's Reich- Martin Luther, Walter Schellenberg, and Gottlieb Berger are just some of the every-day bureacrats that allowed such terror to reign supreme in Germany for twelve years. Truly a great work of history.
A brilliant analysis of the Third Reich internal structure
By IVAN JIMENEZ CORREAL
- March 16, 2001
This book provides a very accurate description of the facts, the tactics and the people who ruled the destinies of the Third Reich. The story of the SS is in fact the story of Nationalsocialism. The author displays a wide and precise knowledge of the events, and offers a complete vision of it, both global and detailed. The analysis spreads from the NSDAP takeover, the rise and fall of the Sturmabteilung (SA),the development of the Schutztaffeln (SS) and the Intelligence Services before the war, to the II World War, the role of Waffen SS (Armed SS) and the finally apocalypse which came over Germany, all through the period 1922-1945. It's really worth while, for instance, the acute descriptions of the RSHA (Reichsicherheitshauptamt-Reich Main Security Office), the SD (Sicherheitsdienst-Security Service) as well as its transformations through the war, the role they played with the SA in overthrowing constitutional legality of the Weimar Republic. In this book you can also realize who is... read more
The oldest, yet still the best!
By P. Bjel
- August 3, 2000
This book was first published in 1956 in England, written by a prolific scholar of the Nazi era. This current work is well worth a careful read, as it is saturated with a wealth of information. Upon examination, one can see the facts that others have gathered from Reitlinger's work (eg. William L. Shirer), and with good reason. There is so much written about the SS in this book! The backgrounds of the major personalities, and later chief architects of the Final Solution, notably SS chief Heinrich Himmler, and SD chief Reinhard Heydrich, are discussed at some length, as are the backgrounds of those that commanded and became associated with affiliates of the SS, an elite organization originally intended as a small body designed to protect Adolf Hitler. Their crimes so immense that they are without number, this organization became another phrase for mayhem. Reitlinger's writing style is brilliant, adding to the ever-growing list of good things about this book. Sure, it... read more
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