- The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

    Schutzstaffeln: Allgemeine-SS (General SS)

The Death's Head Insignia of the SS


In 1934 the SS had grown to more than 250,000 members serving in a variety of military and administrative functions.  It was decided that the total organization was best administered by dividing it into two distinct groups.  The General SS (Allgemeine-SS) was the first of these groups and was reserved for men who served in administrative roles on a full and part-time basis.  The second group was known as the Armed SS (Bewaffnete-SS) which was later renamed the Waffen-SS in July 1940.  The Bewaffnete-SS encompassed all the SS units that were designated military by nature, and it included only men who were able to serve on a full-time basis like those serving in the German Armed Services (Wehrmacht).  Both branches were totally integral to one another and their members swore loyalty only to Adolf Hitler.

Members of the Allgemeine-SS served in administrative units assigned to legal, race, economic, personnel, and security matters.  Most of the Allgemeine-SS were concentrated on matters of State security for the purpose of enforcing National Socialist ideology including matters of racial purity.  Members were trained to counter any type of political or civil unrest and were prepared to seize control of the national infrastructure if needed.  This effort resulted in a close working relationship with State, local, and rural police organizations that provided day-to-day order among the civilian population.  Many police officers were granted membership in the SS and the ties between the two organizations resulted in the eventual merging of several police related activities.

During wartime, members of the Allgemeine-SS contributed to home front activities related to Germany’s economy.  This included working with leading industrialists, organizing, controlling, and directing foreign labor, and supporting groups such as the Air Protection Warning Service (Luftschutzwarndienst).  In addition, the Allgemeine-SS played a foremost role in enforcing racial purity laws to include overseeing the operation of concentration camps in Germany and occupied countries.  Near the war’s end, Home Guard units of Germany’s “People’s Army” (Volksturm) were organized by the Allgemeine-SS as a “last ditch” effort to provide defense against invading Allied armies.

1 The LAH independently fielded combat troops during the campaign against Poland.  Elements later joined the SS-VT prior to the invasion of Russia in 1941.


Each section of is divided into separate Information Tracks that outline important details, facts, and historical notes pertaining to steel helmets used by the German Armed Forces during World War II.  

Information Tracks are organized by subject matter and their content is directly related to the service arm or organization to which each topic is related.  Topic areas that bridge one subject matter to another are cross linked within each Information Track.

This Information Track provides historical facts pertaining to steel helmets worn by the General-SS (Allgemeine-SS) from 1934-1945.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

    Primary Topics

Helmet Types

Period Photos

    Related Topics
    Protection Units


SS-Heimwehr Danzig / Danzig Polizei

SS-Leibstandarte (LAH)

SS-Sicherheitspolizei (SD)

SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT)


Waffen-SS  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

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