To understand the complex mystical fabulous army of foreign volunteers who fought alongside the Reich during the war is necessary to go back in time to the first season of the Nazi party. A few years after the foundation of the NSDAP arises the need to create an elite corps, to protect the Nazi leaders at rallies and concentrations. For this reason the SS was founded, Sections Protection of the Nazi party.
At first, the SS and SA are part of the Assault Sections, paramilitary organization aimed at street fighting. But after the bloody night of the Long Knives, the SS are recognized as anindependent organization within the party.
Absolute power after the Night of Long Knives
At that time, Heinrich Himmler, SS-Reichsfuhrer or national chief of the SS, its structure divided into two major branches: the Allgemeine-SS or SS-and SS-General Verfungungstruppe (SS-VT) or militarized SS troops available. Both different.
While the Allgemeine-SS was designed as a troop of police reinforcements, the SS-VT was entirely a military organization, and as such began to develop.
In February 1933 creates the SS-Totenkopfverbande, designated to guard the concentration camps, organized into five battalions under the command of the inspector of concentration camps and SS General Theodor Eicke. In August of that year, Hitler, through a top-secret decree provides that the SS-VT are educated as military organizations, with equipment provided by the Wehrmacht. At the same time the acceptance of voluntary decrees Nordic non-Germans.
In 1935, the SS-VT is organized into two regiments: the first, headquartered in Munich, and the other in Hamburg. Alongside, there is the body guard of Hitler, known as theLeibstandarte Adolf Hitler.
With the annexation of Austria into the Reich in 1938, Himmler creates another regiment in Vienna in November and is formed in a body of SS Dantzig, integrated by officialsTotenkopfverbande.
Pop the war: they were born the Waffen-SS
When Germany crosses the Polish border, to September 1, 1939, the SS-VT is organized into three divisions, one motorized regiment and fourteen regiments of police reinforcements. It's also created the SS Haupt Amt, the recruiting department of the SS, with the general Berger ahead.
At the beginning of the year 1940, Andreas Schmidt, head of the German community of Romania and Transylvania, Berger proposes the recruitment of volksdeutscher, the ethnic German nationals of foreign countries.
In March 1940, Himmler adopted the official title of Waffen SS, and the foreign contingent of the sum of one hundred men, including five Americans of German origin, three Swedes and forty-four francs. But the invasion of Denmark and Norway in April opens up new possibilities, and Himmler put all his efforts in recruiting volunteers Scandinavians. The 20th of this month authorizing the creation of the SS-Regiment Nordland, with volunteers from the two countries.
The campaign of the West also opens new perspectives, and May 25 constitutes the SS regiment Westland, with Dutch and Flemish volunteers. In autumn, these two regiments, along with German Germania, form the first division of the foreign SS, the SS Wiking Division, under the command of General Steiner? one of the best generals of the Waffen SS.