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[O] History(Elect) Smart Guides

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  1. Unit 1: The World in Crisis

    1. Impact of World War I in Europe
    14 Topics
  2. 2. Stalin's Soviet Union
    12 Topics
  3. 3. Hitler's Germany
    27 Topics
  4. 4. Outbreak WWII in Europe
    13 Topics
  5. 5. Germany's Defeat in World War II
    21 Topics
  6. 6. Outbreak War in Asia Pacific
    6 Topics
  7. 7. Japan's Defeat
    10 Topics
  8. Unit 2: Bi-Polarity and the Cold War
    8. Reasons for the Cold War in Europe
    21 Topics
  9. 9. The Korean War
    19 Topics
  10. 10. Cuban Missile Crisis
    25 Topics
  11. 11. The End of Cold War
    19 Topics
Chapter 3, Topic 23
In Progress

Social Impact of Hitler’s Ruling (Rise of the Secret Police)

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Rise of the secret police

  • The Nazis set out to make Germany a totalitarian state, with no opposition to challenge their rule.
  • When propaganda and censorship failed, they employed violence to hunt down their opponents, and this was usually carried out by the SS or the Gestapo.

a) Schutz-Staffel

German nazi SS black forage cap
  • The Schutz-Staffel (SS) was formed in April 1925; it was to comprise of an elite force of ‘pure Aryan’ Germans and serve as Hitler’s personal bodyguard.
  • Heinrich Himmler was appointed as its leader in 1929, and he made the SS powerful not only within the Nazi Party, but also within Germany, especially after practically destroying the SA in 1934.
  • The SS itself became a huge organisation, responsible for destroying the Nazis’ enemies and for carrying out their racial policies.
  • There were 2 important sections of the SS: the Death’s Head Units & the SS Verfuegungstruppe (Special Purpose Troops).
  • The Death’s Head Units were responsible for the concentration camps which were the Nazis’ ultimate weapon against their opponents. Later, the Nazis would set up more camps.
  • In March 1933, Himmler set up their first concentration camp at Dachau.
  • The Death’s Heads Unit punished those who were not loyal to Nazi ideals.
  • Beatings were common, food was scarce and prisoners were forced to work 11 hours a day.
  • The Death’s Head Units trained and provided staff for all these new concentration camps in Germany, Austria and Poland. Conditions in these camps would become worse by late 1930s.
  • When the Nazis decided on the policy of mass extermination of the Jews, the Death’s Head Units were responsible for carrying it out.
  • The SS Verfuegungstruppe, known as SS-VT, was the Nazi Party’s personal armed force.
  • It was renamed Waffen SS in 1941, and played an important part in the fighting during World War II.

b) Gestapo

Gestapo officials recording data on incoming prisoners at a German concentration camp. Many others are seated on the ground
  • The Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei) was the Nazis’ secret police & it was staffed by SS officers.
  • In April 1934, Heinrich Himmler took over as Head of Gestapo. 11
  • Under Himmler’s leadership, the Gestapo was responsible for finding and removing threats to the Nazi Party as well as to the Nazi state. They also maintained offices in all Nazi concentration camps.
  • The Gestapo became feared throughout Germany and Europe as they were responsible to no one, and had the power to detain persons without trial.
  • In June 1936, Himmler was put in command of all local police forces throughout Germany.
  • By 1937, the police, especially the Gestapo, had unlimited powers of arrest.
  • People could be taken into custody just based on the suspicion that they might commit a crime.
  • Many Germans were arrested and put into concentration camps without a trial.
  • Gestapo used torture, murder, arrests & tactics such as blackmail to stifle opposition to Hitler.