The Terror State


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Himmler and the S.S.
Development of the SS,
1925 ­ Formed as Hitler's personal bodyguard. A minor section of the S.A. and had 250 members. 1929 ­ Himmler
became the leader, and was to build it as his power base. 1931 ­ S.D. created ­ Party's internal security. 1933 ­
Membership at 52,000. Reputation for blind obedience and commitment to Hitler and swore a personal oath of
allegiance. 1933 March ­ Himmler was appointed Head of the Political police in Munich and set up the model prison
camp of Dachau. 1933/4, after a deal with Goring, Himmler assumed control of all police in the Lander, including the
Gestapo in Prussia. 1934 ­ Rewarded for their contribution in the Night of the Long Knives, the SS became an independent
organisation within the Party.
Growth of Influence of the SS,
1936 - After further manipulation with Goring and Hitler (when Goring took over the Ministry of the Four Year Plan), ALL
police powers were consolidated under Himmler, who became, "Reichfuhrer" SS; Chief of German Police ­ including the
Gestapo. The SIPO, were the security police and the ORPO, were the regular police. 1939 ­ All Party and State police
organisations were amalgamated into the RSHA, the Reich Security Office. This was overseen by Himmler and
coordinated by deputy Heydrich.
Four Main Organisations of the SS ­ 1. The SD ­ Intelligence Gathering,
An intelligence gathering body, controlled by Heydrich. Had the special task of maintaining the security of the Fuhrer;
party leadership; Nazi Party and Reich. It was supposed to operate under the Minister of the Interior, Frick, but was really
under the control of Himmler and Heydrich.
2. Kripo and Gestapo,
Kripo ­ Criminal Police ­ Arthur Nebe
Responsible for maintenance of general law and order ­ dealing with asocials, i.e. alcoholics, homosexuals and
persistent criminals. and thieves. 1930s campaign popular and supported by propaganda, i.e. in defense of public order.
1936 ­ linked with Gestapo. Nazis tough line on public order was well received.
Evil reputation for brutality. It could arrest and detain anyone without trial.
Key policing organisation for upholding regime by using surveillance and repression.
1934 - Under Himmler's control.
Targeted people like Jews, Communists and other suspect groups ­ other people left alone.
Controversy about the Gestapo,
Evil reputation, supported by propaganda. Image as all-powerful and fearsome. Rights of the individual subordinate to
those of State. "The Gestapo is Everywhere". "The dominance of this terror state helps explain why so many Germans
were willing ... to work towards the Fuhrer".
Overworked and under strength. Not all fanatical Nazis. The operational head was a professional policeman. Some
Gestapo offices staffed by one man. Limited Gestapo in other cities. ORIDINARY GERMANS SHOPPED PEOPLE TO THE
3. Disciplining Opposition,
Torture chambers and concentration camps were created early in 1933 to deal with political opponents ­ mainly
Communists and Socialists. Originally short term detention. 1936 ­ 6000 inmates in camps. Dachau became a model
camp, run by Eicke. Nazi's formalised the camp system and rounded up "asocials", beggars and gypsies. 1939 ­ 21,000 in
camps. Changed nature during the war.
4. The Waffen SS,
They were the Military wing of the SS, and conflicted with the regular army. They were considered to be an elite fighting
force ­ ready to go anywhere. They even trained with live ammunition! 1938 ­ approx. 14,000 soldiers. Racially pure and
committed to Nazi ideology. Number of units increased from 3 to 35. Influence increased after the Blomberg-Frisch
scandal of 1938 weakened the regular army, and also with the anti-Semitic actions they were required to take.
The SS State,
Himmler came to control a massive police apparatus answerable only to Hitler. It became a "state within a state."
By 1939, there were 250,000 members and it eclipsed other interest groups. It took on various roles:
1. Security: All responsibilities of policing and intelligence. SS officers given severe powers to crush opposition. 2.
Military: The Waffen SS grew into a separate army, committed, brutal and militarily highly rated. By 1944 rivalled the
Army. 3. Economy: Became responsible for "new order" in the occupied lands ­ plundering Eastern Europe of over 150
firms, organised slave labour to extract raw materials and manufacture goods. 4. Ideology and Race: Extermination and
resettlement pursued with vigour. SS "Deaths Head Units" ran the prison camps.


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