SS was the Nazi paramilitary organization from 1925 to 1945. It acted as the armed force behind the Nazi Party’s actions before it came to power and as the security force after 1933. The organization was tasked with carrying out many aggressive policies of the German state outside of military activities.
Since the start of the WWII, SS started playing a gradually bigger role in the military. Named Waffen-SS, the military branch of the organization was known for its fanatic ideological adherence to Nazism and for carrying out some of the worst atrocities in the Second World War.
Meaning and History
SS was originally created in 1925, but it assumed its official function in the German state apparatus in 1933, after the Nazi Party came to power. SS is short for ‘Schutzstaffel’, meaning ‘defense squadron’. The abbreviation was used widely in the official documentation. It even became the main emblem, although stylized as lightning runes.
What is SS?
SS was the main paramilitary organization utilized in Nazi Germany for security, terror and for enacting racial policies. It was created in 1925 by NSDAP and went on to become an official armed force answerable only to the party officials. They are known to have perpetrated some of the worst atrocities of the Second World War.
1932 – 1945
The lightning bolt symbol is a pseudohistorical rune that allegedly stands for ‘S’. It was part of the collection of runes created in the early 19th century by an Austrian occultist based on little historical and cultural knowledge. In author’s mind, it represented the sun, but also spelled as ‘sig’, close to the German ‘Sieg’ (‘victory’).
They put two of these lightning bolts together to represent the abbreviation. They were usually colored white and placed onto a black background. It was typically a flag or an armband.
SS was notable for their use of jet black and white. The emblems also utilized this color scheme, and black was often given preference. The white was used for the runes themselves, but they could be black if placed against a lighter surface. No other colors were used on a regular basis.
The organization didn’t make any frequent use of inscriptions to identify themselves, besides the aforementioned runes. They can be considered an alphabet with a unique carved, straight style. If used, inscriptions were written in the Fraktur font, a calligraphic bookish style used extensively used in Nazi Germany.