Ideology of the SS
The ideology of the SS refers to the idealized values and motivations of the Schutzstaffel ("Protection Squadron"; SS), a huge and powerful paramilitary force of the Nazi Party. Racial purity, fitness, field exercises, and loyalty to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany played a large part. SS men were indoctrinated with the belief they were members of a master race and trained to be ruthless political warriors. Violence and anti-Semitism were heavily emphasized in the training program, internal literature, and lectures of the SS. The influence of SS teaching resulted in unprecedented atrocities before and during World War II.
The SS training program was rigid and intense, and focused on Nazi ideology. All recruits were taught the basic ideological fundamentals of the Nazi Party, namely the belief in the superiority of the Nordic race, loyalty and absolute obedience to Adolf Hitler, and hatred of inferior races, particularly the Jews. Anti-Semitism was heavily emphasized in the training program and the internal literature as well as lectures of the SS. Students studied the most anti-Semitic passages of Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), Hitler's autobiography and political manifesto, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an antisemitic document purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination. The SS educational leaders were also responsible for general anti-religious training and activities.
Particular aspects of SS ideology were emphasized in training programs, such as sports as an intense conflict. All SS men were required to obtain the sports badges of the Sturmabteilung ("Storm Department"; SA), thereby promoting a "natural selection" and guaranteeing the formation of an elite group. The SS sports training had a large paramilitary component with an emphasis on total victory over the opponent. The ultimate goal was not sports performance, which was considered too individualistic for the collective mentality of the SS, but molding the perfect warrior who exemplified willpower, hardness of temperament, and national purity.
Beginning in 1938, the SS intensified the ideological indoctrination of the Hitler-Jugend Landdienst ("Hitler Youth Land Service"). It set out the ideal of the German "Wehrbauer" ("Soldier Peasant"). Special high schools were created under SS control to form a Nazi agrarian elite that was trained according to the principle of "blood and soil". While SS leader Heinrich Himmler remained concerned about the racial elitism of his SS, it was Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler's deputy and protégé, who focused his attention on their "political" training and the development of intellectual prowess through the creation of "racial detectives" who would become Hitler's "ideological Shock Troops", honoring the Führer's ideals and providing domestic protection for the Nazi state.
According to Himmler, the German gospel centered around the life and race of the German Volk. Meanwhile, in the struggle for total control over German minds and bodies, the SS developed an anti-clerical agenda. No chaplains were allowed in its units (although they were allowed in the regular army). The Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service; SD) department of the SS was used to identify and eliminate Catholic influence. The SS determined the German Catholic Church was a serious threat to its hegemony and, while it was too strong to be abolished, it had to be stripped of its influence; for example by closing its youth clubs and publications.
Himmler used the Jesuits as the model for the SS, since he found they had the core elements of absolute obedience and the cult of the organisation. Hitler is said to have called Himmler "my Ignatius of Loyola". As an order, the SS needed a coherent doctrine that would set it apart. Himmler attempted to construct such an ideology, and deduced a "pseudo-Germanic tradition" from history. Himmler dismissed the image of Christ as a Jew and rejected Christianity's basic doctrine and its institutions. In a 1936 memorandum, he set forth a list of approved holidays based on pagan and political precedents meant to wean SS members from their reliance on Christian festivities. However, these attempts were not entirely successful. Historian Heinz Höhne observes that the "neo-pagan customs" Himmler introduced into the SS "remained primarily a paper exercise". Although the SS never endorsed Christian beliefs, rituals and Christian practices were generally tolerated and respected.
Atheism was banned within the SS as Himmler believed it to be a form of egotism that placed the individual at the center of the universe, and thus constituted a rejection of the SS principle of valuing the collective over the individual. All SS men were required to list themselves as Protestant, Catholic or Gottgläubig ("Believer in God"). Himmler preferred the neo-paganism "expression of spirituality". Still, by 1938 "only 21.9 percent of SS members described themselves as gottgläubig, whereas 54 percent remained Protestant and just under 24 percent Catholic." Belief in God among the SS did not constitute adherence to traditional Christian doctrine nor were its members consummate theologians, as the SS outright banned certain Christian organizations like the International Bible Research Association, a group whose pacifism the SS rejected. Dissenting religious organizations like the Jehovah's Witnesses were severely persecuted by the SS for their pacifism, failure to participate in elections, non-observance of the Hitler salute, not displaying the Nazi flag, and for their non-participation in Nazi organizations; many were sent to concentration camps where they perished. Heydrich once quipped that any and all opposition to Nazism originated from either "Jews or politicized clergy."
In contrast to the German army's traditions, officer promotions in the SS were based on the individual's commitment and political reliability, not on Junker status or upper-class family background. Consequently, the SS officer schools offered a military career option for those of modest social background, which was not usually possible in the Wehrmacht.
The relationship between officers and soldiers were also less formal than in the regular armed forces. SS officers were referred to as Führer ("leader"), not Offiziere ("officer"), which was seen as having class connotations. The military rank prefix Herr ("Sir") was forbidden, and all ranks were addressed simply by their title. Off duty, junior ranks would address their seniors either as Kamerad ("Comrade") or Parteigenosse ("Party colleague"), depending on whether both were members of the Nazi Party. Though SS membership was open to all who met Himmler's eugenic and genealogical standards, an inordinate number of SS men came from the aristocracy.
The SS placed an intense emphasis upon elitism and portrayed themselves as part of an elite order which "explicitly modelled on an a historical version of religious orders, such as the Teutonic Knights or the Jesuits, whose dedication to a higher idea was admired in these otherwise anti-clerical circles". Despite the elitism of the SS, their ideological maxims emphasized that the general good always came before private interests and the individual was nothing compared to the collective German Volk.
Consistent with the eugenic and racial policies of the Third Reich, Himmler advocated racial elitism for his SS members. Throughout the existence of the SS, its members were regularly encouraged to procreate to maintain and increase the Aryan-Nordic bloodline; the SS member, along with his wife and children, were to become an exclusive racial community (Sippengemeinschaft) within the Nazi state. Along these lines, Himmler stated on 8 November 1937 at a Gruppenführer meeting in Munich in the officers’ quarters:
- The SS is a National Socialist order of soldiers of Nordic race and a community of their clans bound together by oath...what we want for Germany is a ruling class destined to last for centuries and the product of repeated selection, a new aristocracy continuously renewed from the best of the sons and daughters of our nation, a nobility that never ages, stretching back into distant epochs in its traditions, where these are valuable, and representing eternal youth for our nation.
Hitler certainly subscribed to these views and once remarked that the elite of the future Nazi state would stem from the SS since “only the SS practices racial selection.” Wives of SS members were scrutinized accordingly for their racial fitness, and even marriages had to be approved through official channels as part of the SS ideological mandate governing racial purity. According to their ideology, SS men were believed to be the bearers of the very best of Nordic blood, and it was their ideological tenets and scholarly justifications that shaped numerous Nazi actions and policies, merging racial determinism, Nordicism, and anti-Semitism.
Intellectuals within the SS took racial hygiene very seriously, as did leading members of the regime. An SS Doctors’ Führer School was established in the small village of Alt-Rehse which encouraged the practice of racial hygiene and focused on the future of “German genetic streams” (deutsche Erbströme). Medical journal articles written by SS intellectuals stressed the importance of genetic heritage, arguing that “biology and genetics are the roots from which the National Socialist worldview has derived its knowledge, and from which it continues to derive new strength.”
Racial hygiene proponents within the SS were convinced that the superior Nordic-Germans were being gradually extinguished or degenerated through repeated contact with racial inferiors. Not only was contact with racial "others" a concern, but attrition through bloodshed was an additional factor. Fear of losing a large percentage of Germanic racial stock once the Second World War began drove SS ideology, as victory in the field could not prevail without a corresponding biological legacy of children to carry on the mission. Himmler stressed the ideological imperative to SS men that they were obliged to procreate to preserve Germany’s genetic legacy so the "master race" could secure and sustain the "Thousand Year Reich" of the future. The extensive proliferation of Germanic culture demanded racial purity and the proper environment if German imperialism (the achievement of Lebensraum) was to succeed according to SS ideology.
When the Nazis seized power in Germany in 1933, they imposed several laws ensuring the safety and well-being of animals. Himmler made an effort to ban the hunting of animals, and treating animals with care became a standard SS practice. There was widespread support for animal welfare in Nazi Germany. In Nazi propaganda, SS officers were often publicly depicted as an animal-loving nobility. Wolfgang Held, nephew of an SS soldier, later recalled:
I was playing with some friends, and we didn't notice the SS men. One of my friends saw a cat, picked up a stone, and threw it at the cat. When an SS man saw this, he grabbed my friend, boxed his ears and said, "It's not right to torment animals."
Several prominent Nazi leaders, including Hitler, Himmler, and Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring (who was described as a "fanatical animal lover") publicly showed themselves as supporters of animal welfare. In 1933, the Nazi government passed a very strict Animal Protection Law which exhaustively stipulated how animals were to be treated in Germany.
The SS was built on a culture of violence, which was exhibited in extreme form by the mass murder of civilians and prisoners on the Eastern Front after the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Historian Hans Buchheim wrote that the mentality and ideal values of the SS men were to be "hard," with no emotions such as love or kindness; hatred for the "inferior" and contempt for anyone who was not in the SS; unthinking obedience; "camaraderie" with fellow members of the SS; and an intense militarism that saw the SS as part of an elite order fighting for a better Germany. The principal "enemy" of the SS, represented as a force of uncompromising, utter evil and depravity, was "world Jewry". Members of the SS were encouraged to fight against the "Jewish Bolshevik sub-humans". In the pamphlet The SS as an Anti-Bolshevist Fighting Organization, published in 1936, Himmler wrote:
We shall take care that never again in Germany, the heart of Europe, will the Jewish-Bolshevistic revolution of subhumans be able to be kindled either from within or through emissaries from without.
The SS value of "fighting for fighting's sake" could be traced back to the values of the front-line German soldiers in World War I and the Freikorps, and in turn led SS members to see violence as the highest possible value, and conventional morality as a hindrance to achieving victory. For many in the SS, what really mattered was a mentality that fostered violence and "hardness". The ideal SS man was supposed to be in a state of permanent readiness for a fight against all comers with all his might and fury. SS men who attempted to live by that principle of violence had an unusually high suicide rate. The "soldierly" values of the SS were specific to the German post-World War I concept of the "political soldier" who was to be indoctrinated to be a "fighter" who would devote his life to struggling for the nation.
Although not an SS document, the 1930 book Krieg und Krieger ("War and Warriors"), edited by Ernst Jünger, with contributions by Friedrich Georg Jünger, Friedrich Hielscher, Werner Best and Ernst von Salomon, served as an excellent introduction to the intellectual traditions from which the SS ideal arose. The essays in Krieg und Krieger called for a revolutionary reorganization of German society, which was to be led by a new elite of "heroic" leaders who would create a "new moral code" based upon the idea that life was a never-ending, Social Darwinian "struggle" that could only be settled with violence. The book claimed that Germany had only been defeated in the First World War because the country had been insufficiently "spiritually mobilized", and what was required to win the next war was the proper sort of "heroic" leaders, unhindered by conventional morality, who would do what was necessary to win. The values of the "heroic realism" literature gloried the principle and practice of fighting to the death regardless of the military situation.
Out of the intellectual heritage of the "heroic realism" literature came a rejection of the traditional values of Christianity and the enlightenment (principles which were considered too sentimental); what emerged in its place was a cold indifference to the value of human life. Marriage of the image of the "fighter" from "heroic realism" literature and the practical need of the SS to serve as political cadres for the National Socialist state, led to the elevation of the concept of "duty" as the highest obligation of the SS man. The SS ethos called for "achievement for achievement's sake", where achievement ranked as the highest measurement of success. As such, winning at all costs regardless the sacrifice became a supreme SS virtue. The SS principle of loyalty above all, as reflected in the official slogan "My honour is loyalty", was severed from traditional moral considerations and instead focused entirely upon Hitler. As part of the process, creating an elite order led to emphasis upon an idealized and distorted version of German history which was intended to instill pride in SS men.
Himmler admonished the SS against pity, neighborly love, and humility, instead celebrating hardness and self-discipline. Indoctrinating the SS to perceive racial "others" and state enemies as undeserving of their pity, helped create an environment and a mental framework where the men saw acts of wanton violence against those same enemies, not as a crime, but part of their patriotic obligation to the Nazi state. As historian Claudia Koonz points out, “the cerebral racism of the SS provided the mental armor for mass murderers.” When Himmler visited Minsk and witnessed a mass killing of 100 people, he made a speech to the executioners emphasizing the need to put orders over conscience, saying that "soldiers... had to carry out every order unconditionally". According to historian George Stein, unquestioning obedience and "submission to authority" on the part of the SS represented one of the ideological "foundation stones" to combat the party's enemies. As the Waffen-SS fought their way through the eastern European territories and into the Soviet Union, the men wrote of their "great service in saving western civilization from being overrun by Asiatic Communism." One Waffen SS recruiting pamphlet told potential members that answering the call meant being "especially bound to the National Socialist ideology," a doctrine which implied both an ideological battle and a racial struggle against subhumans (Untermenschen) accompanied by an unprecedented brutalization of warfare.
To destroy unwanted elements in the Nazi regime’s push eastwards, special units of the SS known as Einsatzgruppen were used for large-scale extermination and genocide of "undesirables" such as Jews, gypsies, and communists. When the task of killing became too much for the SS Einsatzgruppen, they enlisted the aid of specially created Order Police (drawn from Germany and/or the local populations) who they indoctrinated for this purpose. One Order Police participant named Kurt Möbius testified during a postwar trial, that he believed the SS propaganda about the Jews being "criminals and sub-humans" who had caused "Germany’s decline after the First World War." He went on to state that evading "the order to participate in the extermination of the Jews" never entered his mind. One SS officer, Karl Kretschmer, "saw himself as a representative of a cultured people fighting a primitive, barbaric enemy," and wrote to his family of the need to desensitize himself from the mass killings.
Obedience to criminality
Historian Hans Buchheim argues there was no coercion to murder Jews and others, and all who committed such actions did so out of free will. He wrote that chances to avoid executing criminal orders "were both more numerous and more real than those concerned are generally prepared to admit". Buchheim commented that until the middle of 1942, the SS had been a strictly volunteer organization, and that anyone who joined the SS after the Nazis had taken over the German government either knew or came to know that he was joining an organization that would be involved in atrocities of one sort or another.
Historians generally agree that there is no evidence that SS men who refused to carry out criminal orders were punished with execution or sent to a concentration camp. On the other hand, there is no known record of an SS officer refusing to commit an atrocity; they willingly did so, and then cherished the awards they received for doing it. SS wartime rules, though calling for harsh and murderous treatment of Jews, prohibited acts of gratuitous sadism, as Himmler wished for his men to remain "decent" and that such acts of gratuitous cruelty were taken on the individual initiative of those who were either especially cruel or wished to prove themselves ardent National Socialists. Finally, Buchheim argues that those of a non-criminal bent who committed crimes did so because they wished to conform to the values of the group they had joined and were fearful of being branded "weak" by their colleagues if they refused.
Adherence to Nazi doctrine was essentially a given among SS members as they represented some of the most ideologically committed persons within the Third Reich. Not only had they been selected for their physical exemplification of Nazi racial ideals, but they had also sworn an oath to Hitler and the Nazi cause. Part of that sworn commitment included the obedience and enforcement of National Socialist ideological tenets as the vanguards of the regime. Two organizations under the SS umbrella, the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and Gestapo, were used as Hitler’s ideological enforcement mechanism. Representing the ideological opponents of the regime in one form or fashion, historian George C. Browder identified the Nazi state’s list of enemies as follows:
- Enemy States: Other nations' efforts to keep Germany down, to persecute or treat her unfairly or disrespectfully; any xenophobic statements
- Miscegenation: The weakening of the German nation by the pollution of German blood with that of other "races"
- Jews: Fear/hate of Jews as a major threat to the German nation
- Catholicism: Conflicts with or hostility toward Catholic clergy; belief that Catholic Christianity is an internationalist, pacifist, alien ideology detrimental to the strength of the German spirit; belief that the Catholic Church is an international, conspiratorial power working against the German nation
- Freemasonry: Belief that the Masonic order is a society of internationalist, liberal conspirators through which Germany's enemies operate to undermine natural German culture and society
- Communism: Fear/hate of the KPD, Communist (Marxist) ideology, or an international Communist conspiracy SPD: Fear/hate of the Social Democratic Party, its labor organizations, and its influence in the Weimar "system"
- The Republic: Hostility directed at the liberal republican constitution or form of government, politicians of the ("non-Marxist") pro-Republic parties, partisan politics in general, and the corruptions of the "system," and any expressed desire or act to overthrow the Republic
- Homosexuality: Fear/hate of homosexuality or homosexuals as corrupting, weakening influences (Himmler wrote a 1942 memo urging "ruthless severity" to eliminate the "dangerous and infectious plague," and the death penalty was instituted for homosexuality in the SS)
- Moral Decay: Concern with other symptoms of "moral decadence" as threats to the strength of the German nation
- Capitalists: Hate/fear of economically powerful combinations or individuals as unjust, corrupting, undermining influences and forces in German society
- Old Guard: Hate/fear of traditionally powerful influences and institutions of the old society as unjust, retarding influences in German society
It was these enemies that the SS and its subordinate organizations comprehensively sought to delegitimize or destroy as they attempted to define and shape their ongoing ideological, albeit political mission. Himmler intended for the SS to be a hierarchical system of "ideological fighters" from the organization’s inception. The SS proved to be that and more, essentially becoming the instrument most responsible for the actualization of Nazi beliefs. SS ideology comprised perhaps the single most significant philosophical dimension of Nazism, employing in the process, ontological, anthropological, and ethical elements to their methods under the guise of science, shaping the Nazi state’s doctrine and crystallizing ideals (no matter how callous) into dogmatic truths. It was SS principles and thinking which provided the scientific impetus for the devaluation of humanity and their actions as ideological enforcers that propelled the Nazis forward into an ultimate paroxysm of destruction and genocide.
- Weingartner 1969, pp. 1–12.
- The Waffen-SS 2008.
- Koonz 2005, p. 238.
- Webman 2012, pp. 41–42.
- Bahro 2007, pp. 78–91.
- Hoberman 1999, pp. 69–85.
- Hartmann 1972, pp. 143–147.
- Banach 1998, pp. 98–100.
- Steigmann-Gall 2003, p. 129.
- Lapomarda 1989, pp. 10–11.
- Höhne 2001, p. 135.
- Höhne 2001, p. 146.
- Steigmann-Gall 2003, pp. 132-133.
- Höhne 2001, pp. 138, 143, 156.
- Steigmann-Gall 2003, pp. 130-132.
- Buchheim 1968, pp. 303, 396.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 195.
- Gerwarth 2012, pp. 102-103.
- Höhne 2001, p. 200.
- Gerwarth 2012, p. 105.
- Steigmann-Gall 2003, p. 133.
- Lumsden 1997, pp. 52–53.
- Burleigh 2000, pp. 191–195.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 193.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 191.
- Mineau 2011, p. 64.
- Koehl 2004, pp. 59, 62.
- Longerich 2012, p. 352.
- Trevor-Roper 2008, p. 83.
- Longerich 2012, pp. 353–358.
- Ingrao 2013, p. 51-63.
- Burleigh & Wippermann 1991, pp. 49–58.
- Proctor 1988, pp. 83–84.
- Proctor 1988, pp. 85–86.
- Hutton 2005, p. 9.
- Carney 2013, p. 60.
- Carney 2013, pp. 74, 77.
- Smith 1989, pp. 212-213.
- Arluke & Sanders 1996, p. 132.
- Kitchen 2006, p. 278.
- DeGregori 2002, p. 152.
- The SS 2003.
- Larson 2011, p. 134.
- Straubinger 1999, p. 150.
- Buchheim 1968, pp. 320–321.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 321.
- Himmler 1936, p. 8.
- Buchheim 1968, pp. 323–327.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 320.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 323.
- Buchheim 1968, pp. 321–323.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 324.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 325.
- Buchheim 1968, pp. 326–327.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 328.
- Höhne 2001, pp. 154–155.
- Koonz 2005, p. 246.
- Schroer 2012, p. 35.
- Bialas 2013, pp. 358-359.
- Koonz 2005, p. 250.
- Hilberg 1961, pp. 218-219.
- Stein 1984, p. 123.
- Stein 1984, p. 124.
- Stein 1984, pp. 125-128.
- Rhodes 2003, p. 14.
- Rhodes 2003, p. 158.
- Rhodes 2003, p. 159.
- Schroer 2012, p. 38.
- Buchheim 1968, pp. 372–373.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 373.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 390.
- Goldsworthy 2010, p. 188.
- Blood 2006, p. 16.
- Buchheim 1968, p. 372.
- Buchheim 1968, pp. 386–387.
- Höhne 2001, pp. 148-149.
- Weale 2012, pp. 62-67.
- Browder 1996, p. 275.
- Giles 2002, p. 269.
- Browder 1996, pp. 77-84, 175-196.
- Mineau 2011, p. 23.
- Mineau 2011, pp. 110-111.
- Arluke, Arnold; Sanders, Clinton (1996). Regarding Animals. Temple University. ISBN 1-56639-441-4.
- Bahro, Berno (2007). Der Sport und Seine Rolle in der Nationalsozialistischen Elitetruppe SS (in German). Historische Sozialforschungszentrum. ISSN 0172-6404.
- Banach, Jens (1998). Heydrichs Elite: Das Fuhrerkorps der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD 1936-1945. Paderborn: F. Schöningh. ISBN 978-3506775061.
- Bialas, Wolfgang (2013). "The Eternal Voice of the Blood: Racial Science and Nazi Ethics". In Anton Weiss-Wendt; Rory Yeomans. Racial Science in Hitler's New Europe, 1938–1945. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0803246058.
- Blood, Philip (2006). Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe. Potomac Books. ISBN 978-1597970211.
- Boden, Eliot H. (2011). "The Enemy Within: Homosexuality in the Third Reich, 1933-1945". Constructing the Past 12 (1).
- Browder, George C (1996). Hitler’s Enforcers: The Gestapo and the SS Security Service in the Nazi Revolution. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195104790.
- Buchheim, Hans (1968). Command and Compliance: Anatomy of the SS State. Walker Publishing. OCLC 1084.
- Burleigh, Michael (2000). The Third Reich A New History. Hill & Wang. ISBN 978-0809093267.
- Burleigh, Michael; Wippermann, Wolfgang (1991). The Racial State: Germany 1933–1945. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521398022.
- Carney, Amy (2013). "Preserving the 'Master Race': SS Reproductive and Family Policies during the Second World War". In Anton Weiss-Wendt; Rory Yeomans. Racial Science in Hitler's New Europe, 1938–1945. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0803246058.
- DeGregori, Thomas (2002). Bountiful Harvest: Technology, Food Safety, and the Environment. Cato Institute. ISBN 1-930865-31-7.
- Gerwarth, Robert (2012). Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300187724.
- Giles, Geoffrey J (January 2002). "The Denial of Homosexuality: Same-Sex Incidents in Himmler's SS and Police". Journal of the History of Sexuality 11 (1/2): 256–290. doi:10.1353/sex.2002.0003.
- Gingerich, Mark P. (1997). "Waffen SS Recruitment in the 'Germanic Lands,' 1940-1941". Historian 59 (4): 815–831.
- Goldsworthy, Terry (2010). Valhalla's Warriors: A History of the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front 1941–1945. Dog Ear Publishing. ISBN 978-1608446391.
- Hartmann, Peter (1972). Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Wilhelm-Pieck-Universitat Rostock – Gesellschafts und Sprachwissenschaftliche Reihe (in German). Rostock Verlag. ISSN 0323-4630.
- Hilberg, Raul (1961). The Destruction of the European Jews. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.
- Himmler, Heinrich (1936). Die Schutzstaffel als Antibolschewistische Kampforganisation (in German). Franz Eher Verlag.
- Hoberman, John (1999). Primacy of Performance: Superman not Superathlete. The International Journal of the History of Sport. doi:10.1080/09523369908714071.
- Höhne, Heinz (2001). The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0141390123.
- Hutton, Christopher (2005). Race and the Third Reich: Linguistics, Racial Anthropology and Genetics in the Dialectic of Volk. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0745631776.
- Ingrao, Christian (2013). Believe and Destroy: Intellectuals in the SS War Machine. Malden, MA: Polity. ISBN 978-0745660264.
- Kitchen, Martin (2006). A History of Modern Germany, 1800-2000. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1-4051-0040-0.
- Koehl, Robert L. (2004). The SS: A History, 1919-45. Gloucestershire: Tempus. ISBN 978-0752425597.
- Koonz, Claudia (2005). The Nazi Conscience. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674018426.
- Lapomarda, Vincent (1989). The Jesuits and the Third Reich. E. Mellen Press. ISBN 978-0889468283.
- Larson, Erik (2011). In the Garden of Beasts. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-307-40885-3.
- Longerich, Peter (2012). Heinrich Himmler. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199592326.
- Lumsden, Robin (1997). Himmler's Black Order 1923–45. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-1396-7.
- Mineau, André (2011). SS Thinking and the Holocaust. New York: Editions Rodopi. ISBN 978- 9401207829.
- Proctor, Robert (1988). Racial Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674745780.
- Rhodes, Richard (2003). Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust. New York: Vintage. ISBN 978-0375708220.
- Schroer, Timothy L. (February 2012). "Civilization, Barbarism, and the Ethos of Self-Control among the Perpetrators" (PDF). German Studies Review 35 (1): 33–54.
- Smith, Woodruff D. (1989). The Ideological Origins of Nazi Imperialism. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195047417.
- Steigmann-Gall, Richard (2003). The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945. New York and London: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521823715.
- Stein, George H. (1984). The Waffen SS: Hitler’s Elite Guard at War, 1939-1945. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0801492754.
- Straubinger, Johannes (2009). Sehnsucht Natur: Geburt einer Landschaft. Salzburg: Norderstedt. ISBN 978-3839108468.
- Trevor-Roper, Hugh, ed. (2008). Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941–1944: His Private Conversations. New York: Enigma. ISBN 978-1615238248.
- Weale, Adrian (2012). Army of Evil: A History of the SS. New York: Caliber Printing. ISBN 978-0451237910.
- Webman, Esther (2012). The Global Impact of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Century-Old Myth. Routledge Publishing. ISBN 978-1136706097.
- Weingartner, James (1969). 'Blood and Soil' and Militarism: The Role of the Education Leader in the SS-Verfügungstruppe. Studies in History and Society.
- Weiss-Wendt, Anton; Yeomans, Rory, eds. (2013). Racial Science in Hitler's New Europe, 1938–1945. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0803245075.
- The SS. Power Struggle. The History Channel. 2003. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- The Waffen-SS. Gladiators of World War II. World Media Rights. 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2015.