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.
· 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…