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Oberführer and General der Panzertruppen Der Waffen-SS, Joseph (Josef) "Sepp" Dietrich was born in Hawangen, Bavaria on May 28, 1892 to a simple peasant family. Joseph fought in World War I and earned a good share of decorations, as well as advancing to the rank of Sergeant Major. After the war ended he strived to make a living holding jobs such as a butcher, and petrol pump attendant, and Bavarian police officer. He also fought in Silesia as a member of Freikorps Oberland. The Freikorps were volunteer military groups that popped up after World War I due to the lack of any formal armed forces in Germany.

Dietrich joined the Nazi party, and the Waffen-SS in the year 1928. He quickly gained rank and notariety with the party leader, Adolf Hitler, whose confidence he won over. Hitler appointed Dietrich commander of a elite SS unit to be the fuhrer's personal bodyguard. The Leibstandarte SS (Known as the "Adolf Hitler" squadron because that what was embroidered their cuffbands) was officially formed in March of 1933 to protect the Reich Chancellry.

Although occasionally disagreeing with Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer der SS (the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany), Dietrich would play prominent roles taking command of various SS divisions and important roles in notable events - such as the Night of the Long Knives in which Dietrich helped in Hitler's ordered overthrow of the SA backed Röhm-putsch.

He served on different fronts and campaigns throughout World War II, received the Knights Cross to the Iron Cross in July 1940, and remained a supporter of Hitler. He survived the war, and afterwards was convicted of killing captured US troops and sentenced to life by the Allies international war tribunal at Nuremburg. He was paroled 1955. The German's tried him in court for his part in Night of the Long Knives of killing six SA men, and he was sentenced to a short term, but never served that out completely either. He died on the 22nd April, 1966 - and while not the best military strategist, he was obviously admired by his men. More than 6,000 previous SS men showed for his funeral services.

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