Sydnor Jr., Charles W.


Guild ed., 1989. Xvi + 371 pp. D.j., 21 x 14cm. FINE. The SS Death's Head Division was one of the most powerful and destructive military forces in history. Drawing extensively upon a wide variety of SS manuscript sources and captured German Army materials, the author relates the political and military experience of the SS Totenkopfdivision to the institutional development of the SS and the ideological objectives of Nazi Germany. The author describes in detail the organization and development of the pre-war German concentration camp system and its SS guard units – the formations that supplied virtually all the important officers and unit commanders as well as the infantry cadre for the Death's Head Division. He devotes particular attention to an analysis of the brutal ethos of the pre-war SS camp guards as it became the wartime creed of the unit. Here too is a careful assessment of the impact of the division on its founder and first commander, Theodore Eicke, who was ruthless and fanatical in his commitment to the goals of National Socialism. A superb book.

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