Historical story

History of the Gestapo (2)

The Gestapo was a highly efficient and well-prepared tool of the Nazi German regime. With very few agents they managed to control the population of both Germany and the occupied countries. Efficiency in your organization was one of the keys to your success.

The organization of the Gestapo

The organization of the Gestapo, although never simple, was fluid. The SS under Himmler controlled large sectors of the state, including economic, administrative, and above all police functions. Müller was in charge of the operation of the Gestapo. It was the perfect job for him. His zeal was matched only by his obsession with efficiency. Things soon went the way he wanted.

The Gestapo report was clear and unambiguous. It would be the means to cleanse Nazi Germany of all cultural, racial, social and political impurities. If his methods conflicted with existing statutes, the Gestapo would take precedence.

Everyone who passed through the hands of the Gestapo was photographed, fingerprinted and assigned a card with personal details of their alleged crime, the details of the interrogation and the action taken on it. In the indices of those cards lay the power of the Gestapo. The archives resemble those of any large bureaucracy. The language is formal and there are boxes for each piece of information. It is as if the official appearance of the paperwork legitimized the actions that he so painstakingly recorded.

The removal of the SA

The new top security chiefs frequently appeared in public, except for Müller, who insisted on secrecy. They gave the impression of total confidence, but her problems were not over yet. There was a serious threat to his ambitions. Despite having pushed it aside, the SA had not disappeared by the beginning of 1934.

After their early savage plundering, Hitler had reined in the SA, but Röhm remained determined to work on his behalf and complete his National Socialist revolution. For Röhm the Nazi party owed all its success to its stormtroopers and deserved to have police and military power as a reward. The situation was complicated by the fact that Röhm was one of the few who trusted Hitler. He was Hitler's chief of staff. In public, Hitler supported Röhm in his aspirations.

Röhm was becoming a problem. Hitler, adopting his usual techniques, made his other henchmen get rid of Röhm. On June 27, 1934, at a secret meeting in Prinz Albrecht Street, Heydrich announced that intelligence has confirmed that the SA under Röhm is planning a coup .It was a blatant lie.

Heydrich and Müller coordinated a so-called counter-operation from Gestapo headquarters. Heydrich prepared a list prepared by Hitler of those who would be shot. A few days later, the newspapers reported the event. 90 internal rivals, including Ernst Röhm, had been liquidated in the purge, known as the Night of the Long Knives. The police paraded triumphantly past Hitler's offices. The SA was crushed. Having eliminated the threat, Himmler's security service had unlimited power. The Gestapo was ready to advance. Nothing and no one could stop her.

The operation of the Gestapo

Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich and Müller were now in total control of the security of Nazi Germany. The country's political police, under orders from the Gestapo, were already suppressing all forms of dissent. Under the command of Müller, who had made a study of the famous Soviet political police, the Gestapo was establishing its characteristic methods. They were all designed to spread fear.

In the propaganda, the Getapo agents appeared as the guardians of the town. They were there to serve. The posters portrayed the police as friends and helpers, as protectors of society from the dark forces that threatened it. They even appeared in children's games. It was all part of Müller's carefully devised strategy, designed to create a specific image of the Gestapo in the popular mind. And that image was that of an all-powerful body, capable of crushing its enemies at will. The classic Gestapo knock on the door, sudden, quick and anonymous, underscored his aura of total control.

As part of this, Müller fueled the belief that the Gestapo was everywhere. Propaganda stories were also placed in newspapers to instill fear in potential protesters. The reports described an incessant trickle of arrests. In fact there were long advertisements for the power of the Gestapo.

The Getapo's knowledge was actually less complete than her meticulously manicured image implied. But the accumulation of information was still much greater than could be expected from such a small group of officers. The secret of the Gestapo's success was its very extensive network of informers. It was the German public that did much of the Gestapo's work. The officers were primarily in charge of analyzing and collating the incoming data.

Many whistleblowers did so in the belief that the future of Nazi Germany was more important than the fate of individuals. Others did so out of envy or revenge. And even more they did it to save themselves or their families. Since Gestapo suspicions were known to lead to concentration camps, an officer's word was all that was needed.

And immediately everyone knew that the Gestapo equated mercy with weakness and considered weakness fatal to the regime. The fame of the Gestapo was firmly established and opposition to the Nazi party was quickly crushed.

The Gestapo as an incontestable power

By the late 1930s the Gestapo had purged Germany of all visible resistance. It was the moment when the leaders thought they could fulfill their true destiny and shape a thousand-year-old Reich. Heydrich put into words the new task of the Gestapo:The police of the National Socialist state will fulfill above all the task of rebuilding the society of the people from the base according to the precepts of political leadership.

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The Nazi ideal was the Volksgemeischaft, the ethnic-national community. This society would be based on equality, unity and social harmony, but only for those who belonged to the racial race and blindly submitted to the dictates of the regime. It required absolute compliance. The task of the Gestapo was to make lists of those whose actions incapacitated them. The faults that made them enter the lists were many and varied.

The Gestapo was not expected to go after those on the lists. There were simply too many and the task was delegated to ordinary police forces. One of the groups that appeared on the lists was the Jews. Immediately, the discrimination was legal. On September 15, 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were announced. The discrimination of the Jews already had an official basis:the racial laws. People didn't need encouragement. A new kind of pseudoscience came into being.

The Gestapo abroad

In 1936 Hitler appointed Himmler chief of the entire police force in Germany. That meant that all police forces in the country were controlled by the political apparatus of the Nazi party. The reach of the Gestapo increased. The Gestapo was so effective in its national tasks that by the end of the 1930s they were ready to spread their wings. Hitler had a new role prepared for them.

Hitler had plans to extend the Third Reich and the new conquest would have to be placated. Hitler assigned the Gestapo the task of dismantling all resistance in the occupied territories. Heydrich prepared the plans. The Gestapo would accompany the German armed forces in their first movements abroad and through the territories of the countries most sympathetic to Nazi Germany.

Müller assigned his most trusted officers to compose secret lists of those who might cause trouble. They would be arrested and eliminated as soon as the military movement began. Austria in March 1938 was the first to be annexed. Barely a few months later, the army marched unopposed through the Sudetenland, the German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia. Like Austria, they saw it as a national territory despite being in another country. The Gestapo also arrived there with their lists.

They then continued on to Prague. With the Sudetenland under control, it is easy to take over the Czech capital as well. Hitler had expanded the Reich virtually unopposed, and as the Gestapo cleared the new territories of any trace of opposition, his popularity rose to new heights.

Few expected Hitler to stop his aggression there. His propaganda machine began to sound like war in Europe. And at the Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, the plans were already drawn. Heydrich, Müller, and a small group of trusted Gestapo officers were preparing for Operation Tannenberg. It was a brutal and ruthless plot intended to deceive both the German public and the entire world.

The Gestapo had been entrusted with devising a plan that would lead Europe, and ultimately the entire world, to war. His power was now immense.

Last updated on 06-09-2022 / Affiliate Links / Affiliate API Images