The Waffen-SS (German pronunciation: [ˈvafən.ɛs.ɛs], Armed SS) was created as the armed, more fanatical wing of the Nazi Party's Schutzstaffel (SS, "Protective Squadron"), and gradually developed into a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of Nazi Germany.
Wardaddy greatly despised the Waffen-SS, rightly singling them out over the normal German or Nazi. He told Norman Ellison to kill each one he saw. The climax of Fury is when a Waffen-SS infantry battalion of 300 panzergrenadiers ambushes the crew of Fury.
The Waffen-SS grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, and served alongside the Heer (regular army) but was never formally part of it. Adolf Hitler resisted integrating the Waffen-SS into the army, as it was to remain the armed wing of the Party and to become an elite police force once the war was won. Prior to the war, it was under the control of the SS Führungshauptamt (SS operational command office) beneath Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Upon mobilization its tactical control was given to the High Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht).
Initially membership was only open to people of Germanic "Aryan" origin, who were said to be the Herrenvolk (master race) and greatest of the aryan peoples, according to Nazi racial ideology. The rules were partially relaxed in 1940, although groups considered by Nazis to be "sub-human" like ethnic Poles or Jews remained excluded. Hitler authorized the formation of units composed largely or solely of foreign volunteers and conscripts. Foreign SS units were made up from recruits in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium (both Wallonia and Flanders), Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Galicia, Georgia, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia (including Cossaack and Tatar, Turkic SSR Republics), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Asian Regiment, Arab Regiment, USA (15-20 volunteers) and a small number of British troops, with the latter unit being a significant propaganda tool.
At the post-war Nuremberg Trials the Waffen-SS was condemned as a criminal organization due to its connection to the Nazi Party and involvement in numerous war crimes. Waffen-SS veterans were denied many of the rights afforded to veterans who had served in the Heer (army), Luftwaffe (air force), or Kriegsmarine (navy). An exception was made for Waffen-SS conscripts sworn in after 1943, who were exempted because of their involuntary servitude.