The Nazis' dream of a world dominated by legions of Aryan `supermen', forged in battle and absolutely loyal to Adolf Hitler, was epitomised by the Waffen-SS. Created as a supreme military elite, it grew to become Nazi Germany's `second army', an immense force totalling almost one million men by the end of the War.
An astonishing fact about the SS is that thousands of its members were not German. Men stepped forward from almost every nation in Europe, for many sometimes complex reasons that included hatred of Bolshevism and nationalist sentiment or even straightforward anti-Semitism; foremost among them were Scandinavians from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and even Finland. Thousands were recruited from 1940 onwards and fought with distinction on the Russian Front.
They served at first in national legions but were then brought together in the elite Wiking Panzer Division and the Nordland Panzer-grenadier Division. In Hitler's Vikings, Jonathan Trigg details the battles these men fought and what inspired them to join the Waffen-SS, based in part on interviews with surviving veterans.show more