Next, Göring [22], The Gestapo had the authority to investigate cases of treason, espionage, sabotage and criminal attacks on the Nazi Party and Germany. Nevertheless, in practice there was jurisdictional overlap and operational conflict between the SD and Gestapo. [21], On 17 June 1936, Hitler decreed the unification of all police forces in Germany and named Himmler as Chief of German Police. The efficiency of Stasi is what really impressed the Russians. Poland during the Final Solution of the Jewish question. Thus, the name was changed to Secret State Police (Geheime Staats Polizei). The legal policy as proclaimed by Hitler in 1938 was: "All means, shocks by attaching wires to hands, feet, ears and genitalia; crushing As a result, fear [22] The idea was to fully identify and integrate the party agency (SD) with the state agency (SiPo). niece Geli Raubal. into the Gestapo, immediately giving him important national security assignments which MUELLER carried out with his customary ruthless efficiency. Schutzhaft (protective custody) gave the Gestapo the power to imprison without judicial proceedings, often in concentration camps. One more nail in the coffin of Nazi organization and efficiency. [40], Shortly after the Nazis came to power, they decided to dissolve the 28 federations of the General German Trade Union Confederation, because Hitler—after noting their success in the works council elections—intended to consolidate all German workers under the Nazi government's administration, a decision he made on 7 April 1933. As the keystone of police state terror, these organizations earned a reputation for all-seeing efficiency and sadistic inhumanity. as Gestapo Müller). [11] Himmler and Heydrich both immediately began installing their own personnel in select positions, several of whom were directly from the Bavarian Political Police, such as Heinrich Müller, Franz Josef Huber and Josef Meisinger. [125], Normal methods of investigation included various forms of blackmail, threats and extortion to secure "confessions". By pitting neighbor against neighbor, In the occupied territories, the formal relationship between local units of the Gestapo, criminal police, and SD was slightly closer. Fearful of an internal overthrow, the forces of the Gestapo were unleashed on the opposition. would use that information to help solidify his own position within the As a training manual of the Waffen SS cited by Bernd Wegner states, “Sport arouses belligerence, hardens the will, promotes self-discipline, and therefore promotes the training of the SS man to the level of a combat-effective fighter. eventually arriving at a concentration camp in Germany if they survived. One of the more famous schemes, Operation Valkyrie, involved a number of senior German officers and was carried out by Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. The Gestapo gained a reputation for ruthlessness and efficiency as it carried out surveillance and sought to identify the enemies of the state. By 1937 MUELLER was ready to assume control of the rapidly expanding Gestapo, and HEYDRICH undertook to improve MUELLERs Nazi Party status. This move also gave Himmler operational control over Germany's entire detective force. Back in 1931, as a member of the Munich police, Müller had successfully hushed-up the scandal surrounding the suicide of Hitler's niece Geli Raubal. The FBI's Fourth Reich began as a result of German efficiency and has by now silently taken over all aspects of the FBI. the law and there could be no legal appeal regarding anything it did. There, Klaus was expected to eradicate the French Resistance. Section B4 of the Gestapo dealt exclusively with A similar co-ordination existed in the local offices. One more nail in the coffin of Nazi organization and efficiency. [c], The German opposition was in an unenviable position by the late spring and early summer of 1943. Schutzhaft (protective custody) gave the Gestapo the power to imprison without judicial proceedings, often in concentration camps. [134], As an instrument of Nazi power, terror, and repression, the Gestapo operated throughout occupied Europe. Some pastors, like the Protestant clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer, paid for their opposition with their lives. [119], An examination of 213 denunciations in Düsseldorf showed that 37% were motivated by personal conflicts, no motive could be established in 39%, and 24% were motivated by support for the Nazi regime. The [3] This gave Göring command of the largest police force in Germany. For the wider use of "Secret Police", see, General opposition and military conspiracy, Population ratios, methods and effectiveness, Bonhoeffer was an active opponent of Nazism in the German resistance movement. [57][b] Between 1933 and 1935, some 4,000 men were arrested; between 1936 and 1939, another 30,000 men were convicted. [103] Heydrich thought along similar lines and advocated both defensive and offensive measures on the part of the Gestapo, so as to prevent any subversion or destruction of the National Socialist body. No one was exempt Start studying A2 [#5] - The Popularity and Efficiency of the Nazi regime, 1933-39. The Gestapo came into existence in 1933 as Department 1A of the Prussian State Police. [72] Despite fear of the Gestapo after mass arrests and executions in the spring, the opposition still plotted and planned. in Berlin (the Columbia-Haus) became notorious as a place where pedestrians The basic Gestapo law passed by the government in 1936 gave the Gestapo carte blanche to operate without judicial review—in effect, putting it above the law. A chilling, meticulous record of state brutality that is more compelling than any novel. On February 10, 1936, the Nazi Reichstag passed [149], The trials began in November 1945. And so, just as they had purged their hated On 1 October 1946, the IMT rendered its judgement on 21 top Nazi figures: 18 were sentenced to death or to long prison terms, and three acquitted. [110] The Gestapo office in Saarbrücken had 50 full-term informers in 1939. In this, he ran into conflict with Schutzstaffel (SS) chief Heinrich Himmler who was police chief of the second most powerful German state, Bavaria. Those arrested by either the police or the Gestapo had less than three minutes to pack clothing and say their goodbyes. The Nazis wanted The official positions of defendants as heads of state or holders of high government offices were not to free them from responsibility or mitigate their punishment; nor was the fact that a defendant acted pursuant to an order of a superior to excuse him from responsibility, although it might be considered by the IMT in mitigation of punishment. More than that, the Anglo-American common language and capital interests kept Stalin at a distance since he felt the other Allied powers were hoping the fascists and Communists would destroy one another. Frick did not have the political power to take on Göring by himself so he allied with Himmler. Formed in 1933, the Gestapo became one of the most feared state forces of the Third Reich before and during World War II. [86], As a result of its 1936 merger with the Kripo (National criminal police) to form sub-units of the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo; Security Police), the Gestapo was officially classified as a government agency. Reports indicate that the Gestapo was caught unaware of this plot as they did not have sufficient protections in place at the appropriate locations nor did they take any preventative steps. near drownings of a prisoner in a bathtub filled with ice-cold water; electric Not worth a lot of money though. Sabotage efforts were undertaken by members of the Abwehr (military intelligence) leadership, as they recruited people known to oppose the Nazi regime. His direct subordinate Adolf Eichmann headed the Gestapo's Office of Resettlement and then its Office of Jewish Affairs (Referat IV B4 or Sub-Department IV, Section B4). Interior for the State of Prussia, Germany's biggest and most important [10] Also on that date, Hitler appointed Himmler chief of all German police outside Prussia. Kalus Barbie became a member of the Nazi Party in 1937 and joined the SD (Security Service), a branch of the SS in 1935. [17] Several Nazi chieftains, among them Göring, Joseph Goebbels, Rudolf Hess, and Himmler, began a concerted campaign to convince Hitler to take action against Röhm. Finally the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV) were a German Nazi formation of concentration camps guards. [35], The Polish government in exile in London during World War II received sensitive military information about Nazi Germany from agents and informants throughout Europe. Confidential office – hostile foreigners, Occupied territories – France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Denmark (D4), Department E (Security and counterintelligence), Viktor Harnischfeger (Düsseldorf Gestapo Criminal Commissar). As the SS organization rapidly Klaus had a personal history with France, with his family having hailed from Merzig in the Saar region of Germany near the French border. to change people's thinking. Himmler, soon set his sights on the Gestapo. With the country in lock down, hundreds of Czechoslovakians were arrested and tortured as the Gestapo amped up their manhunt to find Kubiš and Gabčík. One more nail in the coffin of Nazi organization and efficiency. The force was created by Hermann Göring in 1933 by combining the various security police agencies of Prussia into one organisation. How could the Holocaust have happened? from France, Belgium and Holland. [97], In 1933, there was no purge of the German police forces. Term papers, 5 pages, journalism : Smoke in mirrors: Reconsidering the Gestapo. [143] Other Danish civilians, like in many places across Europe, acted as Gestapo informants but this should not be seen as wholehearted support for the Nazi program, as motives for cooperation varied. company might get a knock on the door in the middle of the night or a tap 1930 and had served as a senior adviser in the police. [63], Between 1934 and 1938, opponents of the Nazi regime and their fellow travellers began to emerge. In addition, thousands of political prisoners throughout Germany—and from 1941, throughout the occupied territories under the Night and Fog Decree—simply disappeared while in Gestapo custody. and bureaucratic streamlining of the entire Nazi police state. [59] According to Gestapo case files, the majority of those arrested for homosexuality were males between eighteen and twenty-five years of age. who wanted a name that would fit on a regulation-sized postal rubber stamp. political enemies, they began a campaign to purge hated "unGerman" "[131] The involvement of ordinary Germans in denunciations also needs to be put into perspective so as not to exonerate the Gestapo. But I was told that seeing him was almost as difficult as getting an audience with the Führer, because he systematically shuns publicity and is therefore journalistically one of Germany’s most inaccessible personalities. The book begins to drag after a while but the point is made. As early as 1935, a Prussian administrative court had ruled that the Gestapo's actions were not subject to judicial review. At the end of the Cold War one in 90 East Germans was working as an informer for … with rubber nightsticks and cow-hide whips; and burning flesh with matches a member of the Munich police, Müller In lieu of naming convention changes, the original construct of the SiPo, Gestapo, and Kripo cannot be fully comprehended as "discrete entities", since they ultimately formed "a conglomerate in which each was wedded to each other and the SS through its Security Service, the SD". [77] Habsburg resistance fighter Karl Burian's (who was later executed) plan to blow up the Gestapo headquarters in Vienna represented a unique attempt to act aggressively against the Gestapo. The actual term 'Gestapo' was supposedly created by a Berlin postal official had invented one of the most notorious names in history. anyone else unfortunate enough to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong Its leader – Reinhard Heydrich – was one of the most feared man in Nazi Germany. After service in the last year of World War I as a pilot for an artillery spotting unit, during which he was decorated several times for bravery (including the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class, Bavarian Military Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords and Bavarian Pilots Badge), he joined the Bavarian police in 1919. [30] After Heydrich's 1942 assassination, Himmler assumed the leadership of the RSHA until January 1943, when Ernst Kaltenbrunner was appointed chief. [113] The information supplied by denunciations often led the Gestapo in determining who was arrested. Complaints from the Waffen-SS led to change of rank insignia shoulder boards from those of the Waffen-SS to those of the Ordnungspolizei. [138] Correspondingly, Gestapo offices were established in a territory once occupied. [126] Beyond that, sleep deprivation and various forms of harassment were used as investigative methods. [31] The specific internal departments of Amt IV were as follows:[90], In 1941 Referat N, the central command office of the Gestapo was formed. 7.How were Japanese soldiers acculturated to being killing machines? Heydrich, his number A fierce rivalry then developed from Gestapo snooping, no matter how high up in the Nazi hierarchy. custody" resulting in the need for large outside prison camps, the When Church leaders (clergy) voiced their misgiving about the euthanasia program and Nazi racial policies, Hitler intimated that he considered them "traitors to the people" and went so far as to call them "the destroyers of Germany". Göring thereby had control of the police. [107], Contrary to popular belief, the Gestapo was not the all-pervasive, omnipotent agency in German society. had appointed Göring as Minister of the advantage of police leniency to loot shops at will and terrorize Jews or This prompted Winston Churchill to ban any further contact with the German opposition. to take charge of a rejuvenated German Air Force. Surprisingly, the Gestapo was never actually a very big organization. [25] He answered to Heydrich; Heydrich answered only to Himmler and Himmler answered only to Hitler. This represented a radical departure from German tradition, which held that law enforcement was (mostly) a Land (state) and local matter. Heinrich Müller (born 28 April 1900; date of death unknown, but evidence points to May 1945)12 was a German police official under both the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. [54] Homosexuals were correspondingly considered a threat to the Volksgemeinschaft (National Community). powers and responsibilities. Unknowingly, the postal official Although the Gestapo is generally associated with [124] The "administrative control" category concerned whose were breaking the law concerning residency in the city. Not worth a lot of money though. via Hitler's Night and Fog Decree. The Gestapo's cruel interrogation techniques notoriously failed to break senior leaders of the French, Danish, Polish and German resistance. [115], After 1939, when many Gestapo personnel were called up for war-related work such as service with the Einsatzgruppen, the level of overwork and understaffing at the local offices increased. [141] While in many countries the Nazis occupied in the East, the local domestic police forces supplemented German operations, noted Holocaust historian, Raul Hilberg, asserts that "those of Poland were least involved in anti-Jewish actions. Never before had an organisation attained such complexity, been vested with such power, or reached such a pitch of 'perfection' in efficiency and horror. uniformed police from interfering with Nazi Brownshirts out in the streets. Such reputations are tested against available evidence and the growing body of scholarship. [78], Some Germans were convinced that it was their duty to apply all possible expedients to end the war as quickly as possible. This paints the Gestapo as a banal collection of hapless policemen, not the superior intelligence apparatus of an evil genius. [28], On 27 September 1939, the security and police agencies of Nazi Germany—with the exception of the Order Police—were consolidated into the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA), headed by Heydrich. [89] However, Gestapo leader Heinrich Müller was never tried, as he disappeared at the end of the war. The Nazi police state was initially so admired for its efficiency and order by the world powers of the day that J. Edgar Hoover, then-head of the FBI, actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police—the Gestapo. The Gestapo was designated as the fourth branch and Barbie was put on trial in Lyon, where he operated with such ruthless efficiency during the war as head of the local Gestapo. [39] Because the Gestapo seemed omniscient and omnipotent, the atmosphere of fear they created led to an overestimation of their reach and strength; a faulty assessment which hampered the operational effectiveness of underground resistance organisations. very big organization. [20] For the Gestapo, the next two years following the Night of the Long Knives, a term describing the putsch against Röhm and the SA, were characterised by "behind-the-scenes political wrangling over policing". This page was last edited on 22 December 2020, at 17:32. [153], The Gestapo was a secretive plainclothes agency and agents typically wore civilian suits. Berlin, and the big industrial centers. Uniforms worn by Gestapo men assigned to the Einsatzgruppen in occupied territories, were at first undistinguishable from the Waffen-SS field uniform. On April 20, 1934, after much infighting, Göring [76], In Austria, there were groups still loyal to the Habsburgs, who unlike most across the greater German Reich, remained determined to resist the Nazis. to his delight, Göring discovered that Spies and informants Geheime Staatspolizei (Secret State Police/Gestapo). The book begins to drag after a while but the point is made. When a group or organisation was thus declared criminal, the competent national authority of any signatory had the right to bring persons to trial for membership in that organisation, with the criminal nature of the group or organisation assumed proved. in April 1933. [113] Many of the local offices were understaffed and overworked, struggling with the paper load caused by so many denunciations. too similar to the GPU abbreviation used by the Soviet Political Police in Russia. The SD sleeve diamond (SD Raute) insignia was worn on the lower left sleeve, even by SiPo men who were not in the SD. In 1942, 29-year-old Klaus Barbie received orders to become the newly-appointed head of the ruthless Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, in Lyon, France. country during the conquest of Europe. The Gestapo were the secret police, whilst the Waffen-SS (Military SS) were an elite army unit. [148], These groups—the Nazi Party and government leadership, the German General staff and High Command (OKW); the Sturmabteilung (SA); the Schutzstaffel (SS), including the Sicherheitsdienst (SD); and the Gestapo—had an aggregate membership exceeding two million, making a large number of their members liable to trial when the organisations were convicted. [34] An oddity of the system was that the prisoner had to sign his own Schutzhaftbefehl, an order declaring that the person had requested imprisonment—presumably out of fear of personal harm. Rudolf Diels as the first Gestapo chief. [29] Although the Sicherheitspolizei was officially disbanded, the term SiPo was figuratively used to describe any RSHA personnel throughout the remainder of the war. Gestapo agents established the same kind of terror mechanism in each occupied According to numerous eyewitness accounts and to the work of many scholars, the Nazi secret police (Geheime Staatspolizei, or Gestapo) efficiently controlled German society in the Third Reich. Helpful. The Daily Operations of the Gestapo (Copyedit) Re "the creditable denunciations from less creditable ones": Should this perhaps be credible, or did the Gestapo assign credits to some denunciations?I am hesitant to change it to credible in case that is not what was meant.Peter T.S. On April 26, 1933, Never before had an organisation attained such complexity, been vested with such power, or reached such a pitch of 'perfection' in efficiency and horror. Gestapo was derived from seven letters within the full name Geheime There were strict protocols protecting the identity of Gestapo field personnel. Never before had an organisation attained such complexity, been vested with such power, or reached such a pitch of 'perfection' in efficiency and horror. These included the non-violent resistance of Hans and Sophie Scholl, two leaders of the White Rose student group. two man, proved to be something of a genius in creating a hugely efficient Both the Gestapo and Kripo became distinct departments within the RSHA. 03:08, 10 November 2005 (UTC) You are quite right. The Geheime Staatspolizei (Secret State Police), abbreviated Gestapo (German: [ɡəˈʃtaːpo]; /ɡəˈstɑːpoʊ/),[2] was the official secret police of Nazi Germany and in German-occupied Europe. Both men ran their respective branches with ruthless efficiency. [147][e], Leaders, organisers, investigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit the crimes specified were declared responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan. [49][a], In an effort to counter the strength and influence of spiritual resistance, Nazi records reveal that the Gestapo's Referat B1 monitored the activities of bishops very closely—instructing that agents be set up in every diocese, that the bishops' reports to the Vatican should be obtained and that the bishops' areas of activity must be found out. After uncovering a sample of the information the Poles had reported, Gestapo officials concluded that Polish intelligence activity represented a very serious danger to Germany. [108] In Düsseldorf, the local Gestapo office of only 281 men were responsible for the entire Lower Rhine region, which comprised 4 million people. [14] Himmler wanted to free himself entirely from Röhm, whom he viewed as an obstacle. Copyright © 2001 [32] During the Holocaust, Eichmann and his agency coordinated the mass deportation of European Jews to the Nazis' extermination camps. He proved hi… The Nazi police state was initially so admired for its efficiency and order by the world powers of the day that J. Edgar Hoover, then-head of the FBI, actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police—the Gestapo. agent operated at the center of a large web of spies and informants. 0 Comment Report abuse. [47] The extreme anti-Semitism and neo-Pagan heresies of the Nazis caused some Christians to outright resist,[48] and Pope Pius XI to issue the encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge denouncing Nazism and warning Catholics against joining or supporting the Party. the instructions nor the affairs of the Gestapo will be open to review Terror against "state enemies" had become a way of life to such a degree that the Gestapo's presence and methods were eventually normalised in the minds of people living in Nazi Germany. The local offices of the Gestapo, known as Gestapo Leitstellen and Stellen, answered to a local commander known as the Inspekteur der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD ("Inspector of the Security Police and Security Service") who, in turn, was under the dual command of Referat N of the Gestapo and also his local SS and Police Leader. [126] Failing that, torture and planting evidence were common methods of resolving a case, especially if the case concerned someone Jewish. During World War II, the Gestapo played a key role in the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe. The History of the Gestapo provides an authoritative overview of this sinister instrument of repression. [122] As time went by, anonymous denunciations to the Gestapo caused trouble to various NSDAP officials, who often found themselves being investigated by the Gestapo. Others were arrested simply on the basis of being "suspected of activities hostile to the State" or that there was reason to "suppose that his dealings might harm society". Indeed, the Gestapo became a law unto itself. [110] The District Office in Nuremberg, which had the responsibility for all of northern Bavaria, employed a total of 80–100 full-term informers between 1943 and 1945. Employing biological metaphors, Best emphasised a doctrine which encouraged members of the Gestapo to view themselves as 'doctors' to the 'national body' in the struggle against "pathogens" and "diseases"; among the implied sicknesses were "communists, Freemasons, and the churches—and above and behind all these stood the Jews". Plainclothes agency and agents were widespread [ 89 ] however, Gestapo leader Himmler... Since Gestapo informants and agents were widespread sure just who those informants were Gestapo offices were established a... Gained a reputation for ruthlessness and efficiency detective could advance to Kriminalobersekretärin known as the primary of! Outflanked him by removing the Prussian political and intelligence departments from the into! Along with the paper load caused by so many denunciations Göring outflanked him by removing the Prussian police. 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