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The Allgemeine SS (1944) | SHAEF Handbook

The Allgemeine SS (1944)

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(The General SS)

Supreme Headquarters Allied
Expeditionary Force
Evaluation and Dissemination Section



SHAEF / M.I. 14, London, 1944

An extremely rare, original, WW2 intelligence manual, produced by SHAEF/M.I. 14 in 1944. Basic Handbook: The Allgemeine SS was a restricted document, compiled by Allied intelligence services, and marked ‘Confidential' on the front cover. It would have been issued to Intelligence Staff of the British and US Armies as a vital source of information on the Allgemeine or General SS. Unlike the Waffen SS, the Allgemeine SS was active throughout Germany as an extra police and supervisory force; it also provided many of the guards for the concentration camps. The text gives details of the development of the SS as a whole, the offices of the Allgemeine, including the infamous Race and Resettlement Office and other organisations down to local level.

This is one of the few documents that can be directly connected to M.I. 14, the British wartime department that specialised in intelligence about Germany. Also known as 'Section 14', M.I. 14 was a department of the British Directorate of Military Intelligence. Originally part of M.I.3, during WW2 the German sub-department's expertise and analysis became so important to the war effort that it was spun off into its own Military Intelligence section. Now defunct, M.I. 14's foreign intelligence remit is handled by the Secret Intelligence Service (M.I.6).

Compiled from numerous intelligence sources and reports gathered during WW2, The Allgemeine SS includes a wealth of information on the history, structures, functions, units, and personnel of the Allgemeine SS. It details virtually everything that was known about the Allgemeine SS in 1944, bringing together in one volume the work of SHAEF, G-2 Counter Intelligence Sub-Division, and M.I. 14. Subjects covered include: development of the SS, general organisation of the SS, organisation of the Allgemeine SS, training and recruiting, racial policy, uniforms and insignia, the General Staff of the SS, the SS economic and administrative department, the SS Fifth Column, and a gazetteer of the SS. The handbook is illustrated with charts of SS organizational structures, a coloured map, and 3 colour plates of SS uniforms and insignia.

A fascinating and invaluable reference work on the Allgemeine SS during WW2, this book is an important source for anyone researching the SS, the Nazi State, and the work of the Allied Intelligence Services.

The Allgemeine SS: was a major branch of the Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany, and it was managed by the SS Main Office (SS-Hauptamt). The Allgemeine SS was officially established in the autumn of 1934 to distinguish its members from the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS Dispositional Troops or SS-VT), which later became the Waffen-SS, and the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS Death's Head Units or SS-TV), which were in charge of the Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps. Starting in 1939, foreign units of the Allgemeine SS were raised in occupied countries. From 1940 they were consolidated into the Directorate of the Germanic-SS (Leitstelle der Germanischen SS). When the war first began, the vast majority of SS members belonged to the Allgemeine SS, but this proportion changed during the later years of the war after the Waffen-SS opened up membership to ethnic Germans and non-Germans. The Allgemeine-SS had a wide-ranging effect on all aspects of life in Nazi Germany, from enforcing Hitler's racial policies and controlling the Police and Gestapo, to the running of over 500 factories in Germany and occupied Europe. While the actions of the Waffen SS combat were more well-known, especially during the war, it was the Allgemeine SS which wielded the real power.     


In good condition. The hardback binder cover is in good condition, with general signs of wear and use, some wear at the edges and corners, and some marks. The laced binding is good and secure. The text, illustrations, and plates are in very good condition, with some marks to the title page and endpapers, and some wear to the page edges. 

Published: 1944
SHAEF hardback binder boards with laced binding
Illustrated with 3 colour plates, 2 charts and 1 map
Dimensions: 215mm x 330mm
Pages: 200 (plus plates and map)