History: Why was the SS so Important?

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Which organisation eventually become the most powerful in Germany?
The SS
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What was the SS originally?
A private bodyguard for Hitler and other Nazi leaders.
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What does SS stand for?
'Schlutz Staffel' or 'protection squad'
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What did Heinrich Himmler do in four years to the SS?
It only had 500 men, but over four years he built it into an elite force of 50,000 tall, blond, blue-eyed Aryan 'supermen'. The physical standards were very strict. Until 1936 even a filing in a tooth was enough to keep a man out of the SS
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Complete the sentence: The SS were ________ and fiercely _____ to Hitler.
The SS were ruthless and fiercely loyal to Hitler.
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What did the SS help to do in 1934?
They helped to crush the SA in the 'Night of the Long Knives' After this he made them into a separate organisation - he changed their brown uniforms with black ones.
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How did the role of the SS change after the Night of Long Knives?
They became the main means of terrorising or intimidating Germans into obedience. The SS had almost unlimited power to arrest people without trial, search houses, or confiscate property. They also ran the concentration camps.
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What happened when the war began?
The SS became more important. They had their own fighting units, the Waffen SS, which soon rivalled the power of the army.
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What was the Gestapo originally?
The Prussian secret police run by Hermann Goering.
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What happened to the Gestapo after June 1936?
It became the state secret police under command of Heinrich Himmler.
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What did the Gestapo do?
Tapped telephones, intercepted mail and spied on people. They had a network of informers throughout Germany. Anyone who so much as whispered any opposition to Hitler could be reported to the Gestapo by an informer and arrested.
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What could the Gestapo do against the ordinary Germans?
They could strike anywhere. It was probably the Gestapo that the opponents of Nazism most feared.
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What were the first concentration camps?
Temporary prisons set up by SA&SS in disused factories/warehouses/in hastily erected barbedwire enclosures in the countryside.Some were local camps taking overflow from nearby jails.Others specialised in particular kinds of prisoners.
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What were the opponents of the regime taken to concentration camps for in the early days?
Questioning, torture, hard labour and 'reducation'
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What would happen if someone was killed at a concentration camps?
Their family members would receive a note saying that the victim had died of pneumonia or some such disease, or that he had been shot while trying to escape.
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Talk about concentration camps by 1939.
They'd built up massive business using their prisoners as slave labour,extracting raw materials&manufacturing weapons.
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Talk about concentration camps after 1939.
These became the scenes of mass genocide, but in the early days of the regime - although there was great cruelty and suffering - they were not death camps as they were in later years.
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When they Nazis came to power did they get rid of the existing police and legal system?
No - they took control of it.
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Who was the police under the command of?
The SS
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Who did the judges take an oath of loyalty to?
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What happened to the number of crimes punishable by death from 1933 to 1943?
It rose from 3 to 46 - they included listening to foreign radio stations or publishing anti-government leaflets.
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What is so shocking about Heinrich Himmler leading the SS, who were feared for their callous brutality, and supervised the extermination of six million Jews.
He was a chicken farmer, he was interested in German folklore and the occult. He was said to be so sensitive that he felt sick when he witnessed a killing and could not bear to see an insect harmed.
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Talk about the Nazi Party having a strong local structure.
Every town was divided into small units called blocks which included only a handful of homes. Their local Nazi - the Block Warden - visited them weekly, collecting donations and checking up on them.
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What were local leaders intended to act as?
The eyes and ears of the Party. They had to write reports o the 'political responsibility' of their block residents. These reports could determine whether somebody got a job.
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What could stop somebody getting a job?
Signs of independent thinking - anti-Hitler jokes, refusing to support the party, hosting illegal political meetings, or not flying a Nazi flag on celebration days.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What was the SS originally?


A private bodyguard for Hitler and other Nazi leaders.

Card 3


What does SS stand for?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What did Heinrich Himmler do in four years to the SS?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Complete the sentence: The SS were ________ and fiercely _____ to Hitler.


Preview of the front of card 5
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