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The Birth, Life And Death Of The Waffen-SS, The Elite But Notorious Combat Division Of The Schutzstaffel (SS) Paramilitary Organization Commanded By Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler During Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, Whose Exploits In Battle Might Well Have Earned Them Glory Were It Not For Their Abominable Record Of Atrocities And Brutalities Throughout All The Theaters Of Combat They Were Deployed In During World War II, Presented In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS As An MP4 Video Download Or Archival Quality All Regions Format DVD! (Color, 1990, 57 Minutes.)
The Waffen-SS (German: Armed SS) was the combat branch of the Nazi Party's paramilitary Schutzstaffel (SS) organization. Its formations included men from Nazi Germany, along with volunteers and conscripts from both occupied and unoccupied lands. The Waffen-SS grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, and served alongside the German Army (Heer), Ordnungspolizei (Order Police), and other security units. Originally, it was under the control of the SS Fuhrungshauptamt (SS operational command office) beneath Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS. With the start of World War II, tactical control was exercised by the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW, "High Command of the Armed Forces"), with some units being subordinated to the Kommandostab Reichsfuhrer-SS (Command Staff Reichsfuhrer-SS) directly under Himmler's control. Initially, in keeping with the racial policy of Nazi Germany, membership was open only to people of Germanic origin (so-called "Aryan ancestry"). The rules were partially relaxed in 1940, and after the Operation Barbarossa invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Nazi propaganda claimed that the war was a "European crusade against Bolshevism" and subsequently units consisting largely or solely of foreign volunteers and conscripts were also raised. These Waffen-SS units were made up of men mainly from among the nationals of Nazi-occupied Europe. Despite relaxation of the rules, the Waffen-SS was still based on the racist ideology of Nazism, and ethnic Poles (who were viewed as subhumans) were specifically barred from the formations. The Waffen-SS were involved in numerous atrocities. Due to its involvement in the Holocaust, the Porajmos and numerous war crimes and crimes against the civilian population, it was declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg in 1946. Therefore Waffen-SS members, with the exception of conscripts, who comprised about one third of the membership, were denied many of the rights afforded to military veterans. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the dissemination of propaganda material and the use of SS symbols are a crime and punishable by Sections 86 and 86a of the German Criminal Code.