The Success of the Nazi Party
The Nazi Party's leadership encompassed many aspects. Not least of
those was the use of fear and terror. Helping control the populace and
ensuring they remained subdued was a key factor in Nazi success.
However other factors were involved such as Hitler's economic policies
and foreign policy. Hence, how important was the use of fear and
terror to the Nazi Party's survival.
Fear and terror in Nazi Germany was a wide ranging policy. Many
different forces were required to maintain order amongst the often
dissenting masses. The SA [Stormabteilung] were the first of such
groups. Formed early in Hitler's political campaign, the SA were used
before he came to power to siege opposition party meetings and brawl
with the other paramilitary groups. The SA grew in strength to over
half a million men by the time Hitler's regime was in full swing in
the mid 1930's and with their new found strength came increased power,
and the desire for more. Thus, in 1934, the Night of the Long Knives
began. That fateful night saw Ernst Rohm - leader of the SA - and
other high ranking SA officials gunned down by squads of SA men
dispatched by Hitler himself. This came as a direct result of Rohm
wisihing for control over the Army [Reichswehr] as well as the SA.
Hitler felt with the Army and SA he could mount a realistic threat to
his dominance as leader so with typical bluntness, Rohm was removed.
Left with no protection force, the SS was born out of necessity. The
brainchild of Bavarian Minister Heinrich Himmler, the SS was Hitler's
new bodyguard and paramilitary arm of the state. Membership was not as
simplistic as the SA, however. Members-to-be had to prove they were of
Aryan blood not "tainted" by Semitic ancestors. Aryan-Semitic
relationships had been previously banned under the Nuremburg laws so
these were obviously banned amongst SA members also. Most notorious
among all SA members, one unit stands out. The Death's Head squadrons,
responsible for the management of the Nazi death camps at Dachau,
Auschwitz and elsewhere. Himmler was also responsible for the Gestapo,
the German secret police. Initially meant as a supplement to the
Bavarian police force they were merged with the national police.
Unlike the SA or SS before them, the Gestapo had a certain subtlety.
If they had reason to suspect a member of the public, they would be
tailed for a number of days or weeks until enough evidence was
gathered against them to warrant an interrogation which for the
majority of the time led to an equally unfair trial for the defendant.
Fear and terror was not of course, the only reason for Nazi success.
When Hitler came to power in January 1933 he set to work creating a
"1000-year Reich". Political intrigue had set the foundations for this
regime but Hitler was determined to set...