THE MOST important political organization in Nazi Germany was the SS (abbreviated from Schutz-Staffel, which means "protective quadron"). No totalitarian state can function without an SS-like organiation. It is therefore important for us as psychiatrists to know all we can about the SS, to understand its motivation and how it worked, what its strength was and what its weaknesses were; and it is the duty of sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists to study these facts and to make them generally understood.
The SS was a criminal organization not only because its members actually committed crimes, but also because the essential mode of its thinking and its group behavior were those of all criminal organizations. If a member did anything which put his loyalty to the organization in a questionable light, either he was liquidated—killed—or he had to undertake a cirminal act which definitely and irrevocably tied him to the organization. According
ALEXANDER L. SOCIOPSYCHOLOGIC STRUCTURE OF THE SSPsychiatric Report of the Nurnberg Trials for War Crimes. Arch NeurPsych. 1948;59(5):622-634. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1948.02300400058003