Germany in WW2

What was the Waffen SS?


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2011-07-12 08:38:28
2011-07-12 08:38:28

The term, Waffen-SS, means 'armed SS'. The Waffen-SS was a large paramilitary organisation under the strategic and tactical command of the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces) but under the disciplinary command of the SS.

The name came into use during the opening months of World War Two, prior to which it was made up of formations of the Leibstandarde-SS 'Adolf Hitler', the SS-Verfugungstruppe, and SS-Totenkopfverbande.

Because the Wehrmacht had priority over recruiting, the Waffen-SS was only able to expand by recruiting foreign volunteers from Western and Eastern Europe. Accordingly, as the war progressed, Waffen-SS divisions were formed from western and eastern European volunteers in addition to existing German divisions. Non-German members of the Waffen-SS were not able to become members of the SS, and their Divisions were therefore termed 'Division der SS' or 'Freiwilligen Division der SS', never'SS Division'.


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