Nazi Terror Network

Terror Network

How successful was the Nazi machinery of terror at controlling the Third Reich

·         Up to a point, the Nazis had to rely on existing courts to sentence the enemies of the Volksgemeinschaft. These were back up, however, by terror: the SS, the Gestapo and the concentration camps.

·         Nazis insured the courts carried out their wishes by:

o   Introducing new laws dealing with political offences like offending the Nazi state and its leaders

o   Setting up people’s courts to try communists and other enemies.

o   Judges instructed to give tougher sentences.

o   By 1939, potential judges had to undertake a serious study of National Socialism.

·         The Second World War destroyed Germany’s judiciary system. By 1942, Nazis had complete control of trials. Verdicts were often ordered before trials had begun.

The SS

·         Heinrich Himmler created the independent Schutzstaffel to be responsible only to Hitler.

·         Himmler hoped the SS would create a new racial elite. From 1935, only pure Aryans could join.

·         The SS soon became a key instrument in the machinery of terror:

o   Himmler had loyally supported Hitler against Röhm. Hitler therefore granted the SS independence from the SA and gave responsibility for the concentration camps.

o   The Totenkopfverbände (Death’s Head Units) were mostly young peasants trained in brutality to monitor the camps.

o   Himmler took control of the Gestapo and all police forces in 1936. It now worked closely with the SS and the SD.

o   Revolutionary strike forces forming in the SS gave Himmler more power.

·         SS influenced increased with WWII. Himmler’s appointment as RKFDV gave him responsibility for ethnic Germans


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The rise of Germany 1871 – 1945 resources »