HIST202 - The Waffen- SS: Hitler's Elite Soldiers in WW II

The Waffen-SS (armed SS) are considered to be not only an elite group of soldiers, but also Hitler’s/Nazi Germany’s most determined and fanatical troops. Waffen-SS soldiers were predominantly volunteers and were recruited from Germany and other areas from across Nazi occupied Europe; the ranks included not just men from Germany, but ethnic Germans from much of Europe, and also men from many different nationalities in Europe. Throughout the war, Waffen-SS troops were deployed to the toughest and most critical sectors of the front, whether to attack or defend. While individual Waffen-SS soldiers often displayed significant battlefield fighting ability, there are a number of well-documented war crimes that Waffen-SS troops participated in. This course will focus on the reality and the history of the Waffen-SS, examining the role they played, and the men who served in Waffen-SS units (both in combat and behind the front lines). The readings assigned for the course include actual accounts by soldiers of various Waffen-SS divisions, and include such primary source elements as memoirs, diaries, and wartime letters. Those types of sources are at the heart of what is considered the new military history, as well as everyday life history, and the emphasis is placed on the enlisted men, NCOs, and junior officers, who made up the majority of the Waffen-SS. In this way, students will get a sense of the average Waffen-SS soldier’s view from below, the concrete reality and everyday lives of those individuals as experienced in wartime, both on the home front and the front lines, and the immediacy of their lives in what was the largest, most costly, most widespread, and most devastating war in human history. The course will be discussion-based, which will promote student involvement, participation, interaction with the professor, and analysis, retention, and understanding of the readings under discussion.
Day and Time: 
R 0600PM-0900PM
Cross Listings: 
    This is an LPS course. Registration may be limited to LPS students.