WILLIAM LEE COMBS, Purdue University


This thesis addresses the revolutionary nature of the Schutzstaffeln (SS), the elite order of German National Socialism. Its primary source is Das Schwarze Korps, the only official journal of the SS, which is used to determine whether the SS expressed a revolutionary doctrine. The journal is an important historical source not only because it was the SS's only newspaper, but also because its editor, Gunter d'Alquen, was on Himmler's Personal Staff and had regular contact with most of the SS's top leaders during the entire ten years the journal was published (1935-1945). D'Alquen also served as the commander of the SS's war propaganda unit and was considered by Himmler as one of the promising future leaders of the SS. D'Alquen's status insures that his newspaper was authoritative.^ The first chapters examine the events surrounding Das Schwarze Korps' creation and survey the staff who published it. Some of the inner workings of the staff are reconstructed to show how it chose themes, developed editorial policy, obtained information and reacted to the opposition and pressure which it encountered. It is shown that the SS journal had a greater degree of independence from Josef Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry than did the remainder of the press.^ The journal's ideological concepts are described in detail and analyzed with regard to their revolutionary nature. This includes the journal's treatment of racial ideology, religion, administration and justice, foreign policy, Communism, business and capitalism, National Socialist culture, history, the status of women, incidental topics of special interest and the self-images the journal had of the SS and itself.^ The study concludes that the SS journal accurately reflected the SS leadership's outlook. Those leaders made the SS a revolutionary force which Hitler used as a primary instrument in the implementation of his more radical policies. The journal shows that the SS was proud of this role, that it was attuned to Hitler's philosophy and that it was extremely loyal. Das Schwarze Korps' contents confirm that the SS retained its radical views into the latter years of the National Socialist Dictatorship.^



Subject Area

History, European

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