Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Who were the Gestapo? Hidden roles of the Nazi secret police

Any discussion regarding World War II would not be complete without a basic introduction to the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei). This was a highly elite group of police officers, feared for their secrecy and diligence. They were directly under the supervision of Heinrich Himmler who led all police squads within Nazi Germany.

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The group was created to protect the country from influences that were deemed dangerous. These threats were handled in the fastest and most efficient manner possible. At the height of their existence, there were many factions and potential threats that were listed. This became a challenge, as the Gestapo – despite its growing number – was stretched to its limit. In the end, the police force was tasked to only two things. The first was to manage threats to the Nazi party and second, to quell any resistance movements and maintain order. This was to ensure the safety of all the citizens of Germany. 

Historians say that one of the things that made the Gestapo powerful was the perceived amount of influence they had. Records show that even when the police force was limited and undertrained, the fear they created was profound. It can be likened to George Orwell’s 1984 novel. There was a perception that the Gestapo had eyes and ears everywhere, which was not the case. Still, this perception was spread and strengthened until there were rumors of their "hidden roles". 

Data shows that the actions of the Gestapo were pretty straight forward. All accounts state that they were highly efficient in what they did. However, at the Nuremberg Trials, the force was labeled a criminal organization. 

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John Eilermann believes that studying history helps prevent certain events from happening and happening again. Learning from experience is always best. Learn more when you follow this Twitter account.

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