Murderous Elite: The Waffen-SS and its complete record of war crimes, James Pontolillo

Murderous Elite: The Waffen-SS and its complete record of war crimes, James Pontolillo

The Waffen-SS is still one of the most controversial forces of the Second World War. In the aftermath of the war it was judged to be a criminal organisation, but a range of SS veterans, apologists and deniers have repeatedly attempted to claim that the Waffen-SS was just another part of the German military, and not linked to the crimes of the Nazi regime.

This book helps to firmly disprove that lie. The book is split into four main sections. We begin with a study of the atrocities, organised by location. This is the heart of the book, looking at what was done and the evidence for it, organised by location. This includes every claim made against the Waffen-SS, and dismisses a number due to a lack of evidence (or flawed evidence). As the accompanying maps demonstrate, these crimes were spread across every theatre in which the Waffen-SS serviced, starting in Poland in 1939, and spreading to Western Europe in 1940 and 1944-45, the Balkans, and most notoriously the Eastern Front.

The second part covers each unit within the SS, starting with the divisions and working down to smaller units, including the notorious Einstazgruppen. This section helps to demolish one of the favourite arguments of the various apologists and defenders of the Waffen-SS, who often claim that the 'classic' divisions, manned by German citizens, were simply fighting units, and try and shift the blame for the war crimes onto those units recruited outside Germany. Although some of these international units did indeed commit many atrocities, the 'classic' divisions were by far the worst, committing two thirds of the proven crimes.

Third comes a biographical dictionary, listing those SS officers most directly linked to war crimes, from individual criminals to division commanders.

Finally there is an examination of the issues raised by this litany of atrocities, including post-war war crime trials, the motives and methods of the various defenders of the Waffen-SS (split into 'revisionists', apologists' and 'propagandists'), and the possible causes of war crimes. One of the most valuable sections here is a demolition of some of the most common tactics used by these pro Waffen-SS authors (some of whose woeful works I have the misfortune to read).

This is an extremely valuable examination of the crimes of one of the leading organs of the Nazi regime, making it quite clear that the Waffen-SS was indeed a criminal organisation, deeply involved in the Nazi war crimes. It will also be a very valuable tool for anyone dealing with the appalling defenders of the Waffen-SS, and a very handy reference book for me when reviewing Waffen-SS unit histories!

Chapters
Atrocities
Units and Organizations
Individuals
Conclusions

Appendices
A: Table of Corresponding Ranks
B: Glossary
C: The Nuremberg Principles (1946)
D: Atrocity Statistics

Author: James Pontolillo
Edition: Hardcover
Pages:
Publisher: Leandoer & Ekholm, Stockholm
Year: 2009


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