The SS and the Gestapo

The SS and the Gestapo

World War II was a time of high tensions. The struggle for food and shelter was a reigning issue, especially in Europe, and more specifically Germany. The Holocaust was causing mass death among the population. The concentration camps were heavily guarded and few people made it out of them alive. The SS and Gestapo were two very important forces during this time because they had direct relations with Hitler, they were run by insane people, they largely influenced the history of the world, and much, much more.

The SS and the Gestapo are two of the forces that were connected to the Nazi Party during World War II. The SS was more of a security force, while the Gestapo was the official secret police force. While many people may know the name  “Green Police”, the Gestapo was the actual term for the police force. The name “Green Police” stuck because of the green-ish gray color of the uniforms the Gestapo would wear.

The Gestapo was founded by Hermann Göring after Hitler was in need of a secret police force. Göring created the Gestapo from his old police force by replacing any officers who were not affiliated with the Nazi Party with those who were. Originally, the title of the Gestapo was Genheime Polizei amt. Because its acronym, GPA, was too close to the acronym for the Soviet Union’s secret police force, GPU, it was changed to the Gestapo, which is not a German word, but rather a shortened version for its full name, Geheime Staatspolizei. 

During this time of terror, Hitler thought of the Gestapo as his “deadliest weapon. The Gestapo targeted critics and members of the resistance, Jews and Romani, homosexuals, and anyone else that Adolf Hitler thought of as undesirable. After the creation of the Gestapo, a policy was put into place by Göring. This policy forbid police from arresting Nazi storm troopers if they harassed or inflicted violence upon any German citizen. 

The SS was Hitler’s private security force that was founded by Hitler himself in 1925. Hitler created the SS, which stands for schutzstaffel, as a way to maintain order and control audiences at large demonstrations. 1934 and onward, the SS was responsible for the brutal treatment of the inmates of concentration camps. Up until 1940, the SS was a voluntary organization. 

The SS and the Gestapo had a rivalry. This rivalry, and many others, were encouraged by Hitler and he varied in favoritism among his administration. According to Hitler, he did this as a way of ensuring great loyalty to him and making sure that other high-ranking Nazis didn’t unite against him. Eventually the SS got what they wanted: to control the Gestapo.

The leader of the SS was Heinrich Himmler. He was a slight romantic and wrote several pages worth of love letters to his wife, Marga. He also had five children whom he would send letters to as well. Himmler cared a lot about his family and even sent them chocolate and cheese while the rest of the population was barely surviving off of food stamps and bread crumbs. At one point, Himmler was on his way to watch hundreds of Jews being gassed when he wrote his wife another love letter. The letter reads, “In the next days, I will be in Lublin, Zamosch, Auschwitz, Lemberg and then at a new accommodation,” he said, “I’m curious if and how it will work out with (talking on) the phone. … Have good days with our daughter. Lots of love and kisses. Yours Pappi.” 

The Diary of Anne Frank is connected to the SS and the Gestapo. The most obvious connection is that the annex residents in the diary are hiding from these two forces. If the residents were discovered, the Gestapo would take them away, and the SS would torment them at the concentration camps, which is what ended up happening to them. Also, in act 2 scene 3 of the play version, the text from Anne’s diary says that the Gestapo had found the stolen radio and the annex residents feared that it would be traced back to them.

The SS and the Gestapo played a large role in the history of the world. Both forces influenced Hitler’s reign of terror greatly. The Gestapo helped carry out Hitler’s evil plan to get rid of the “unwanted” people. The SS protected Hitler and made it possible for him to prosper for as long as he did. Both the SS and the Gestapo made Hitler’s plan for demise possible. By carrying out this plan, the world was forever affected.

In conclusion, the SS was the private security force founded by Hitler himself. For a long while, they were responsible for the conditions of concentration camps. The leader of the SS was insane, but also cared about his family. The Gestapo was created from another police force when Hitler needed a brand new one. It helped exterminate the “undesirable.” The rival between these two forces, supported by Hitler himself, resulted in Himmler taking control of the Gestapo. These forces are connected with one of the largest primary sources of the Holocaust, the Diary of Anne Frank. Overall, the SS and the Gestapo are two very important topics in history.

Heinrich Himmler (Leader of the SS)
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