What was the role of the SS in Hitler's Germany?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The SS operated as Hitler's elite police force.  They were a group of individuals who were committed to the Nazi party and the leadership.  They were seen as authentically German, representative of the Aryan superman to which Hitler frequently alluded.  Their exact role varied, but they can be seen as the forces that allowed Hitler and the Nazi leadership to accomplish their primary goals of consolidating power and ensuring that all resistance could be addressed in a swift and startlingly effective manner.  Their uniforms commanded the highest of respect when seen.  Their purpose was meant to inspire a sense of fear regarding the power of the Nazis and to be a part of this organization represented a distinctive sign of elite state in the Nazi state.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The role of the SS in Hitler's Germany was as the model of racial purity, the social, military and political elite of the New Germany, and as executors of the Final Solution Holocaust of the Jews.

Entry requirements in the early SS were extremely strict.  Applicants had to prove three centuries of pure German bloodline in their family trees, undergo strenuous physical testing and training, and submit to rigid party indoctrination.  Their training ended with a blood oath to the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler.

As wartime losses among the SS mounted, and the scope and size of the Holocaust grew, they became less particular, admitting Ukranians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was considered Hitler's elite.  This was a group of men who were considered superior in racial purity and ability over all others (even other Germans).  They were the most devoted to Hitler and to Nazi values.  The SS is also considered to be the most responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity that happened during WW2.  The SS was behind the most despicable things that took place during the war.

It started as a somewhat small, very elite group.  Eventually it grew to close to a million men, who worked on the front lines of battle as well as behind the scenes, politically.

beausoleil | Student

Thank you, this has been a great help.