|About the Book|
The origins of the SS lie right back at the genesis of the Nazi movement in Germany in 1923. These were turbulent times, and few then would have been willing to bet on the outcome of the struggle for domination of Germany between the Nazis and theMoreThe origins of the SS lie right back at the genesis of the Nazi movement in Germany in 1923. These were turbulent times, and few then would have been willing to bet on the outcome of the struggle for domination of Germany between the Nazis and the Communists. The two sides often battled violently in the streets, and injuries and deaths were far from uncommon. It was clear that some form of bodyguard element was required to protect those who spoke at Nazi outdoor meetings. The SA Stormtroopers, the Sturmabteilung, or Brownshirts, were little more than an unruly rabble, most of them unemployed :hugs with no real loyalty to Hitler, but useful for meeting the opposing Communists head on in countless violent street fights while, in the main, being by no means trustworthy or disciplined enough to provide reliable bodyguards for the Party leadership.Hitler, however, had been impressed by the performance of at least some of his minders, and in March 1923 he decided to form an elite, dedicated bodyguard unit from a number of such dependable comrades. The task of forming this trusted band was delegated to his faithful chauffeur, Julius Schreck, and another trusted follower, Josef Berchtold. To begin with, this group was simply a small detachment within the SA, and was known as the Stabswache, or Headquarter Guard. Within a few weeks it had been expanded and took on the name Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler. This so-called Shock Troop took part in the abortive Munich Putsch of 9 November 1923, providing personal protection for Hitler. On Hitlers release from Landsberg Prison following the abortive Putsch, he decided to reform his bodyguard, and once again turned to Julius Schreck to create this new unit. Initially, it consisted of just eight chosen men, and thanks to Hermann Goring was given the title of Schutz Staffel, or Protection Squad. This was a reference to Gorings highly successful career as a fighter pilot during the First World War, when this title was used for aircraft allocated to flying escort duties.