Waffen SS in Combat (Warrior 6504)
By Robert Michulec, Ron Volstad
Publisher: Concord Publications 1999 60 Pages
PDF 20 MB
The Waffen-SS had its origins in the post WWI Nazi organization known as the SA - Sturmabteilungen - the storm troops headed by Ernst Rohm. In the early 1920s, a small group of men within the SA were formed into Hitlers personal bodyguard, at first known as "Stosstruppe Adolf Hitler". They later became known as the Schutz Staffel - protection squad - or SS for short. By 1929, they numbered less than 300 men, as compared to more than a quarter million in the SA, and held no special place in the organization. However, that year Heinrich Himmler was given command of the SS and during the next five years, membership rose to 30,000. By this time, the strength of the SA had grown to more than 3 million, and Hitler had serious concerns about control of this large, private army controlled by Rohm.
On June 30, 1934, Rohm and his SA leaders were arrested and shot to prevent a supposed coup attempt, with the SS providing the firing squads, an event which came to be known as "The Night of the Long Knives".
In the following years, under Himmler's guidance, the SS took over political police work in Germany, working its way into many areas of the Nazi party and various functions of the government.