‘For the SS man there is one absolute principle: he must be honest, decent, loyal and friendly to persons of our own blood, and to no one else...’
– Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer-SS
The divisions of the Waffen-SS were the elite of Hitler’s armies in World War II. SS- Das Reich is an in-depth examination of the second Waffen-SS unit to be formed. The book explores the background to the unit’s formation, including its origins as the SS- VT Division, the men it recruited, the key figures involved in the division throughout its war service and its organization. It also looks at the specialist training of the Waffen-SS, and the uniforms and insignia of the unit.
SS-Das Reich provides a full combat record of the division, which fought on both fronts during World War II. The book outlines the unit’s involvement in the invasion of Poland, the fall of France, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the battles of Kharkov and Kursk, the defence of Normandy, the Ardennes offensive, the fruitless attempt to relieve Budapest and its final days defending Vienna. The division’s darker side is also revealed, with an examination of its role in the massacre of French villagers at Oradour-sur-Glane in June 1944.
Illustrated with rare photographs, SS-Das Reich is a definitive history of one of Nazi Germany’s elite combat units of World War II.