The SS originated as Hitler's personal bodyguard and following his rise to power in 1933 the organisation divided into two: the Waffen-SS, which comprised the military wing, and the Allgemeine-SS, whose role was to support the police in maintaining order. The Allgemeine-SS had a wide-ranging effect on all aspects of life in Nazi Germany, from enforcing Hitler's racial policies through to the running of over 500 factories in Germany and occupied Europe. While the more visible armed SS combat units naturally received all the publicity, especially duringWorld War II, it was the rather faceless Allgemeine-SS which wielded the real power.
Robin Lumsden lives in Fife, Scotland and is an Inspector with the local constabulary. His life-long interest in military memorabilia, especially that of Nazi Germany, has resulted in several definitive works on the subject.