As the Nazi Reich staggers toward final extinction desperate resistance continues amidst the rubble of Berlin. Accusing all around him of treachery, abandoning the German people and his yet faithful leftenants to the pleasure of the victors, Adolf Hitler kills himself in the deep bunker of the imperial Chancellery. Obedient to his last orders, two SS men burn the body in the Chancellery garden. For the nations of Europe a long agony is ended. Hitler had sent his armies marching and ravaging over a continent and beyond. Throughout all that vast sphere of conflict there was one band of fighting men who were everywhere known. In their brief but extraordinary existence they won a unique reputation for daring elan and unfailing professionalism in combat. Yet if their courage was beyond dispute, so too was the fear and loathing which they elicited, even eventually among their own people, and in the regular soldiers alongside whom they fought. In many of the most signal triumphs of German arms they played a conspicuous role, one far disproportionate to their numbers. In the long period of decline and retreat, despite repeatedly sustaining appalling casualties their discipline remained unbroken, their fighting ardour unimpaired, almost to the very end. Subsequently they were burdened with the near exclusive blame of the blackest crimes of the Nazi regime, and for all their high undoubted bravery they bear a reputation forever shrouded with infamy. Some units, known as “waffen” or “armed” SS, were used as elite shock troops. This video tells the story of Hitler’s inner circle of protection, an elite corps of combat troops known as the Schutzstaffel, or SS. The SS was headed by Heinrich Himmler from 1929 on until the demise of the Nazi war machine and his own suicide. Under his leadership, the role of the SS expanded from being a protective force to that of a powerful party weapon to coerce or eliminate Hitler’s political enemies. They were the Waffen SS. Narrated by Richard Greenwood.