The Waffen-SS (Armed SS) was created as the armed wing of the Nazi Party's Schutzstaffel ("Protective Squadron"), and gradually developed into a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of Nazi Germany. The Waffen-SS grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, and served alongside the Heer (regular army) but was never formally part of it.
Adolf Hitler resisted integrating the Waffen-SS into the army, as it was to remain the armed wing of the Party and to become an elite police force once the war was won. Prior to the war it was under the control of the SS Fuhrungshauptamt (SS operational command office) beneath Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Upon mobilization its tactical control was given to the High Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht).
Film Duration: 48 min