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by Charles W. Sydnor Jr.

Download Soldiers of Destruction eBook
Charles W. Sydnor Jr.
Princeton University Press; Revised ed. edition (May 1, 1990)
392 pages
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Charles W. Sydnor Jr's, "Soldiers of Destruction" is a wonderful piece of historical literature. This book represents Dr. Sydnor's P.

Charles W. Soldiers of Destruction" is a pleasure to read - well-crafted prose and flow - and contains lots of facts.

Soldiers of Destruction book. Sydnor's Soldiers of Destruction has been out for some time. First published in 1977, it remains a unique work among World War II histories. Essentially the book is a history of the formation (especially the politics involved) and personnel policies of the SS Totenkopf Division from 1933-45. Those looking for a history of the battles, in which SSTK fought, especially during 1943-45, will have to look elsewhere.

Sydnor, Charles W. Syndor. Title Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945. The Description for this book, Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945, will be forthcoming.

Similarly, in Soldiers of Destruction by Charles W. Sydnor, J. Theodore Eicke, the creator and commander of the Third SS Panzer Division Totenkopf, strives to instill upon his soldiers the elite character of their division. With the goal of instilling elitism in his soldiers, Eicke s combination of uncompromising demand for obedience, talent for organization, and a gift for inspiring and leading men has given the Totenkopfdivision the reputation as one of the most powerful formations in the German armed forces.

Charles Sydnor relates the political and military experience of the SS Totenkopfdivision to the institutional development of the SS and the ideological objectives of Nazi Germany. Charles Sydnor relates the political and military experience of the SS Totenkopfdivision to the institutional development of the SS and the ideological objectives of Nazi Germany. Excellent history of the Totenkopf Division.

Books listed by ISBN Princeton University Press Charles W. Sydnor Jr. Charles W. title. Soldiers of Destruction. 978-O-691-OO853-O (O-691-OO853-1). C. W. · Charles J. · Charles S. · Charles Sydnor · Charles W. · Charles W Sydnor · . Syndor Jr.

Charles Sydnor Jr. explains in his book Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945 that the Totenkopf Division was an exception to the other Waffen-SS units. The Totenkopf Division had during the war still associations with the concentration and extermination camp system. The Shutzstaffel Totenkopf (SSTK) Division had its beginnings with the birth of the Third Reich. The division was an outgrowth of the concentration camp guard units, and many of the cruel and inhuman characteristics of these soldiers carried over into the SSTK.

  • Tetaian
This book received five stars for its excellent portrayal of Eicke, his relationship with Himmler, his impact on the SSTK and the SS before the war and even his influence on the Division after his death in Feb 1943. The author delivers an extensive introduction of how the Totenkopf came into existence as camp guards and through Eicke's determination and training raised their status to being one of the toughest, most dependable divisions in the whole Wehrmacht. Since Eicke was so instrumental in this development for good and bad, Mr Sydnor builds a telling profile of the commander, describing his personality and idiosyncrasies that delivers a good understanding to the reader of what made Eicke tick. Eicke had such a forceful personality that even Heydrich, Rohm, Himmler and others were sometimes leery of him. Some may call it Eiche or SS bashing but I would disagree. The author is neither an apologist or a basher but was just trying to present the total picture of the SSTK and its commander. Eicke's dark side equaled his good side and I'm not condoning his actions but his dark side probably had more influence on making SSTK the tough division that it evolved into and the author brings all these perspectives to the surface.

The author does a nice job of covering the operational aspects of the SSTK in the Polish, French campaigns as well as the struggle at the Demyansk Pocket in 1942. Both military and non military issues are discussed and much can be learned. However his battle coverage after 1942 slips and is only adequate and will leave some readers wanting for more. The coverage of Kursk, Kharkov 43, Dniepr River campaign, Rumania, Warsaw, Budapest barely scratch the surface.

There are a few photos and maps included with the dialog. The photos were good but clearly the author should have added many more photos. The few maps are basic. The extensive Bibliography of primary and secondary sources still have value and should be investigated. The book closes with a useful Index.

One of the best chapters in the book is the last one, "Some Observations: Ideology, Personality and the Question of Totenkopf Criminality", where the author discusses the actions and the ideology that was perpetuated by Eicke, and his henchmen. Its sad but fascinating reading about the dark deeds these people partook under the guise of protecting Fascism. The book's rating may now be less than five stars but its certainly worth more than four stars. Its still one of the best books on Totenkopf and is recommended.
  • Rainshaper
This is a well researched and well written book and despite being originally written over 25 years ago it is still an excellent read and one of the best books on the SS and the Eastern Front. It provides clear insight into the Waffen-SS discussing their status an elite fighting unit, their battle performance and their political and idealogical training, all through the lens of the Totenkopfdivision (later the 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf). It debunks the myth popularized by some writers, particularly former SS soldiers such as Paul Hausser and Felix Steiner, that the Waffen-SS should be considered a seperate and distinct institution from the sadistic thugs that ran the concentration and extermination camps. The author documents the close and constant relationship between the Waffen-SS and their cousins in the camps and the internal security organizations.

For the military historian the best passages are the descriptions of the intense and prolonged fighting that the division endured with Army Group North in the Demiansk area south of Lenigrad for several months in 1941 and 1942 during which the division was practically destroyed. This is one of the best descriptions of Eastern front fight I have read. Also noteworthy is the author's potrait of Theodor Eicke the founder and commander of the Totenkopfdivision and the man who imbued it both with its fighting spirit and its idealogical penchant for brutality.
  • saafari
Charles W. Sydnor Jr's, "Soldiers of Destruction" is a wonderful piece of historical literature. This book represents Dr. Sydnor's Ph.D. dissertation and as such is based on significant research - this is historical prose by a historian! However, having said that, this does not imply that "Soldiers of Destruction" is merely an academic book with facts that is dry to read, quite the opposite. "Soldiers of Destruction" is a pleasure to read - well-crafted prose and flow - and contains lots of facts. This dissertation is not meant to represent a study of the whole Waffen SS, but rather an in depth look at one component - Third SS Panzer Division Totenkopf (Totenkopfdivision) - as an individual and somewhat isolated case. That said, it is fair to say that whether you are an airchair historian looking for a good read or a serious student of history interested in the Waffen SS and issues associated with the fighting arm of the SS, "Soldiers of Destruction" might be what you're looking for.
Dr. Syndor begins his story with a discussion of the development of the Totenkpfdivision as an outgrowth from the SS Totenkopfverbande (Deaths Head Division) and the concentration camp guard system. Central to this development was Theodor Eicke, who put his aggressive, fanatical NSADP stamp on the system. He organized the concentration camp guard system and from that the initial Totenkopfdivision, making this Waffen SS unit one with a particularly rabid Nazi makeup, at least at its inception. By bringing the formation of the Totenkopfdivision into focus provides important perspective for Syndor and the reader to assess the actions of the division in its military exploits, including charges of brutality. Simply put, are actions seemingly askew from other battle units, such as murder of POWs, ultimately unexpected given the personalities and ideological "training" of the division? Syndor does not use this analysis to excuse the actions but rather to provide clarity for greater understanding in a historical context.
The passages dealing with combat of the Totenkopfdivision (most of which occurred against the Soviets) are fascinating and highly enlightening. Syndor has does a great job brining to life these years of the division and balancing the highly effective and laudable (from a military perspective) battle actions of the Totenkpdivision with the criminal activities that followed the division. The reader can easily separate these issues and then place the latter in context given the introductory material. This is in fact what Syndor attempts to do (quite effectively I believe) in the last section of the book, entitled: Ideology, Personality, Criminality.
In the end this is a wonderful book, both from a mere historical and a reading enjoyment standpoint. Syndor conveys a clear history of a single element of the Waffen SS that is both significant and fair. Highly recommended reading - five stars!
  • Sennnel
Good, in-depth assessment and history of men thrust into continual war without mercy, in a land that's slow to reveal its secrets: The Russian Front. An SS division that only saw the west briefly, it was worked to the bone defending the Reich. An interesting thought might be tracing the survivors, if any, to this day. SAA.