The war against the Soviet Union was bound up with mass murder from the very beginning. Einsatzgruppen (task forces) of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police) and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD, Security Service), Waffen-SS (armed SS) divisions, Ordnungspolizei (order police) battalions and secret military police murdered Communist officials, and, from August 1941 at the latest, all Jews were also systematically murdered. Roma and other groups of civilians in the Soviet population also became victims of the mass shootings. The population of the Soviet Union, collectively branded as inferior, were to starve by the millions: The first victims of this starvation policy were the soviet soldiers captured in 1941, followed by the inhabitants of the larger cities. Under the guise of combating the partisans, the SS, the police, and the Wehrmacht killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.