The equestrian SS : organization, function and leadership / by Paul Joseph Wilson.
This study examines the Equestrian SS and its importance to perhaps the most notorious organization in history, the SS. The Equestrian SS had a dual function: to attract farmers to the organization and to gain elite support and social prestige. Because the SS was primarily an urban organization, Himmler used the Equestrian SS to penetrate the German countryside. Naturally, the organization gained a significant number of farmers. However, since equestrianism was generally a sport of the upper class, Himmler's mounted units also appealed to some members of Germany's traditional elite groups. Proportionally, there were more nobles in the Equestrian SS officer corps than in any other SS organization. Furthermore, SS horsemen who triumphed in equestrian competitions afforded the organization an air of dignity, celebrity, and distinction. The Equestrian SS was also a unique; it was the only SS organization acquitted at the Nuremberg trials. This study is based essentially on primary sources. Personnel files of equestrian unit leaders were examined, along with documents and microfilm from several archives, to assess the importance of the Equestrian SS to its parent organization and ultimately to decide whether the Nuremberg Tribunal acted properly in excluding the Equestrian SS from condemnation. The evidence suggests that the equestrian units were an integral SS component which allowed the organization to penetrate rural society. They were intended to be an SS cavalry and security force, a function that was realized in World War II. As this study reveals, the Equestrian SS should have been included in the Nuremberg Tribunal's guilty verdict on the SS.
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