The Waffen-SS were the armed units of the Schutzstaffel, better known as the SS. The SS were the protective guards of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) - or the "Nazis." Many soldiers in the Waffen-SS distinguished themselves in combat, and in a small number of cases, became notorious for their atrocities. However, these crimes against humanity should not label the entire Waffen-SS as an organization of hate. The vast majority of soldiers were combatants, not criminals.