This new addition to the very popular Images of War series follows the established pattern of concise text, captions, extended captions and lavish illustration. Most books in this series use largely images from official archives. In this new book many images come from private albums of members of the Division – Very Highly Recommended.
NAME: Images of War, SS Totenkopf At War, A History of the Division, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives FILE: R2617 AUTHOR: Ian Baxter PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 142 PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, German Army, Waffen-SS, armour, Panther, Tiger, Royal Tiger, gun tank, tank killer, T-34, concentration camps, Russian Front, East Front ISBN: 1-47389-093-4 IMAGE: B2617.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y7f9hee3 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: This new addition to the very popular Images of War series follows the established pattern of concise text, captions, extended captions and lavish illustration. Most books in this series use largely images from official archives. In this new book many images come from private albums of members of the Division – Very Highly Recommended. The Waffen SS was both responsible for war crimes, and an elite organization that fought ferociously with great courage on the battlefield. The SS Totenkopf was the most controversial of the Waffen SS Divisions. It was closely associated with the concentration camps and death camps which is not surprising seeing that SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Theodore Eike was its founder and commander. Eike was made commander of the Dachau concentration camp in June 1933. He was the architect and father of the Nazi camp system and its death camps. Initially, the prototype camp at Dachau was a prison for political prisoners and anyone considered undesirable by the Nazi. Many of the prisoners were released at some point in a similar manner to normal prisons. The main difference was that the guards were Nazi supporters and SS, who engaged in casual brutality. Eike considered that the SS should build its own army and eventually replace the German Army. In this, he considered the SA a rival that should be destroyed. As the camp system evolved into a slave labour system where prisoners were worked to death and into an industrial scale extermination system, the Waffen-SS evolved from another bunch of thugs competing with the SA into a disciplined and fanatic military force, equipped with the best weapons and determined to achieve all of the objectives set it, what ever the cost. The Totenkopf was involved in war crimes from the start of WWII. It considered prisoners of war an inconvenience and was happy to murder them. Where other units involved in the invasion of France took British and French prisoners and treated them in accordance with international agreements, the Totenkopf did not. As with the SS generally, many of the officers had University degrees and there were those with multiple doctorates and professorial chairs. They had to be supporters and members of the NSDP and be able to demonstrate Aryan heritage. They commonly accepted that anything ordered by the Fuhrer was a sacred duty. They became efficient warriors and were widely regarded by Germans as elite 'Guards' divisions. The Totenkopf was regarded by many Nazis as the premier Waffen-SS unit and were directly commanded by Eike until he was killed when his Fiesler Storch was shot down during the 3rd Battle of Kursk in February 1943. The Totenkopf accepted very heavy casualties on the Eastern Front to reach the objectives set them. Some will argue that this showed their weaknesses as a military formation because they could have often achieved their tasks by more intelligent tactics, but whatever else the Totenkopf may have done, it was a determined and aggressive foe on the field of battle and continued fighting to the very end. From the invasion of Poland onwards, the Totenkopf continued to commit atrocities against enemy soldiers and civilians. Their common practice was to either machine-gun groups of unarmed prisoners in the open, or to herd them into buildings, throw in grenades and set the buildings on fire, machine-gunning anyone who tried to escape. Surprisingly few of their officers and men ever faced war crime trials and this was mainly because the Western Allies rapidly concluded that the need for a stable West Germany was more important in the opening stages of the Cold War. The author has provided a very good history of the Totenkopf and his text is fully supported by an outstanding selection of images from official and private archives.