The Nazi Use Of Terror

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  • The Nazi Use Of Terror/Police state
    • Although there was a large degree of popular support for Hitler, the Nazis still used Terror to control Germany. Nazi Germany was a police state. Systematic use of terror to ensure this occurred.
    • The Courts
      • New laws were introduced to deal with political offences. e.g. In December 1934 anyone convicted of making hateful remarks about the Nazis could be executed.
      • 'People's courts were set up to try communists and other 'enemies of the regime'  The new judges were harsher than Nazis.
        • By 1939, in Order to qualify as a judge it was necessary to make a 'serious study of National socialism and its ideological foundations'
      • In WW2 the remaining independence of the Judges and the courts were destroyed.
        • In April 1942 the government introduced that it would remove people if they didn't do what the government ordered.
          • Otto Thierack, an SS group leader and President of the People's court, became Minister of Justice in August 1942 and Senior officials at the ministry were replaced by Nazis.
    • The SS
      • Heinrich Himmler was made leader of the SS in 1929. Loyal to Hitler, and under his control took responsibility for the party's intelligence and espionage as well as concentration camps.
      • To take charge of the day-to-day running of concentration camps, the Death's Heard Units were formed. Mostly young peasants who treated the inmates brutally.
      • The role of the SS increased massively in WW2. Himmler was appointed Commissioner for Consolidating German Nationhood. This gave him responsibility for the resettlement of ethnic Germans from Poland. Responsible for deporting and murdering 'undesirables' in concentration camps.
    • The Gestapo
      • As of 1936, Himmler was also put in charge of the Gestapo, the 'secret police'
        • The duty of the Gestapo was, according to one Nazi, to watch over 'the health of the German body politic' to recognise 'every system of sickness' and to destroy all 'destructive cells'
      • The Gestapo attained a status as an all-seeing, all knowing arm of state security and law enforcement, but in reality it was a small organisation.
        • It consisted of about 20,000 men of whom 3000 were also members of the SS
          • Most Gestapo officials were office workers who spent their time creating and the updating files about communists, social democrats, 'deviants' and grumblers.
      • The Gestapo were dependent on informers for most of their information, most of these informers could just be dedicated Nazis or have a grudge against the person they were convicting.
        • With the 'Ordinance against Parasites on the Body Politic' and the War Penal code, the Gestapo was able to arrest not only criminals, but anyone who dared to voice doubts about the war or who listened to the BBC's foreign broadcasts.
    • Concenration Camps
      • In 1933, concentration camps and torture chambers were set up as part of the SA's brutal campaign of violence against socialists and communists.
        • Disliked by many so were shut down
        • By the time Himmler took over concentration camps, there were only 3000 inmates, indicating the Nazis had destroyed most opposition
        • in 1936, the Gestapo and SS began to round up habitual criminals, asocials and homosexuals. Inmates began to increase again. In December 1937 a law was paseed which meant anyone who did not fit into the people's community could be arrested.
          • Could include the long term unemployed and even traffic offenders.
          • Camps were increasingly used as sources of labour, and in Poland from 1942 onwards the camps being used on a large scale to exterminate the Jews from different parts of Nazi occupied Europe.


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