The Nazi Police State


Learn more about the Nazi police state as part of our learning series on Germany between the wars. This slide set covers the totalitarian nature of the Nazi regime, resulting in the SS, the Gestapo and Concentration Camps.
Andrew Burke
Slide Set by Andrew Burke, updated more than 1 year ago
Andrew Burke
Created by Andrew Burke about 5 years ago

Resource summary

Slide 1

    The Nazi Police State
    The Nazis wanted to create a totalitarian state. In a totalitarian state there are no political rivals and no political debate. The ordinary citizen diverts all their time and attention into serving the state and the demands of their leader. The rest of these slides will demonstrate the various ways and means the Nazis used to control the German population. 

Slide 2

    The Schutzstaffel (SS)
    Formed in 1925 from fanatics loyal to Hitler Huge organisation from 1934 onwards - By 1939, 240,000 members and 1 million members by 1944 Leader of the SS was Heinrich Himmler Highly trained and loyal to Hitler,  the SS had primary responsibility for destroying opposition and carrying out Nazi racial policies SD was the internal security service of the SS The Death's Head units looked after the concentration camps and the transportation and eventual murder of Jews  As it grew in power, the SS set up its own courts and carried out many activities similar to the Gestapo  Around 200,000 Germans were sent to concentration camps by these courts
    Caption: : The SS symbol

Slide 3

    The Gestapo
    The Gestapo were the secret state police Their commander was Reinhard Heydrich  Gestapo agents had sweeping powers, which meant they could arrest and send citizens to concentration camps without trial Perhaps, the organisation that was most feared by ordinary citizens

Slide 4

    The Police and the Courts
    Top jobs in the local police force were given to high-ranking Nazis who reported to Himmler The police were under strict instructions to ignore crimes that were committed by Nazi agents  The Nazis also controlled magistrates, judges and courts They appointed judges they approved of and sacked those that they disapproved  Due to their influence in the magistrate, opponents of Nazism rarely received a fair trial 

Slide 5

    Concentration Camps
    Caption: : German concentration camp at Wobbelin
    Set up as soon as Hitler came into power 1933 - The first concentration camps were makeshift prisons in disused factories and warehouses  Soon, purpose-built camps were constructed, mainly in isolated rural regions These were run by the SS Death's Head units  Prisoners were forced to do hard labour Food was limited  Prisoners suffered beatings, discipline and random executions  Jews, socialists, communists, trade unionists, churchmen and anyone who criticised the Nazis end up in these camps Historians estimate around 1.3 million Germans spent some time in concentration camps between 1933-1939 By the late 1930s, deaths were very common and few people came out alive from the camps These camps were harsh and many died, but they were not built with the purpose of killing people the same way later camps were  The aim of these camps was to 'correct' opponents of the regime
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