Only $35.99/year

Third Reich

Terms in this set (44)

A member of the NSDAP from its early days, Göring was wounded in 1923 during the failed coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch. After helping Adolf Hitler take power in 1933, he became the second-most powerful man in Germany. He founded the Gestapo in 1933. Göring was appointed commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force) in 1935, a position he held until the final days of World War II. By 1940 he was at the peak of his power and influence; as minister in charge of the Four Year Plan, he was responsible for much of the functioning of the German economy in the build-up to World War II. Adolf Hitler promoted him to the rank of Reichsmarschall, a rank senior to all other Wehrmacht commanders, and in 1941 Hitler designated him as his successor and deputy in all his offices.
Göring's standing with Hitler was greatly reduced by 1942, with the Luftwaffe unable to fulfill its commitments and the German war effort stumbling on both fronts. . Informed on 22 April 1945 that Hitler intended to commit suicide, Göring sent a telegram to Hitler asking to assume control of the Reich. Considering it an act of treason, Hitler removed Göring from all his positions, expelled him from the party, and ordered his arrest. After World War II, Göring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials; he was the highest-ranking Nazi to be tried there. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide by ingesting cyanide the night before the sentence was to be carried out.
The Night of the Long Knive, sometimes called the Röhm-Putsch, was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders. Leading figures of the left-wing Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party, along with its figurehead, Gregor Strasser, were murdered, as were prominent conservative anti-Nazis (such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Gustav Ritter von Kahr, who had suppressed Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923). Many of those killed were leaders of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary brownshirts. Adolf Hitler moved against the SA and its leader, Ernst Röhm, because he saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his newly gained political power. Hitler was uncomfortable with Röhm's outspoken support for a "second revolution" to redistribute wealth. Finally, Hitler used the purge to attack or eliminate critics of his new regime, especially those loyal to Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, as well as to settle scores with old enemies. At least 85 people died during the purge, and more than a thousand perceived opponents were arrested.Most of the killings were carried out by the SS and the Gestapo. The purge strengthened and consolidated the support of the Reichswehr for Hitler. It also provided a legal grounding for the Nazi regime, as the German courts and cabinet quickly swept aside centuries of legal prohibition against extra-judicial killings to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime. The Night of the Long Knives was a turning point for the German government. It established Hitler as "the supreme judge of the German people", as he put it in his July 13, 1934 speech to the Reichstag.
Einsatzgruppen (German for "task forces", "deployment groups"were SS paramilitary death squads of Nazi Germany that were responsible for mass killings, primarily by shooting, during World War II. The Einsatzgruppen had a leading role in the implementation of the Final Solution of the Jewish question in territories conquered by Nazi Germany. Almost all of the people they killed were civilians, beginning with the Polish intelligentsia and swiftly progressing to Soviet political commissars, Jews, and Gypsies throughout Eastern Europe. Under the direction of Himmler Reinhard Heydrich, the Einsatzgruppen operated in territories occupied by the German armed forces following the invasion of Poland in September 1939 and Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union) in June 1941. The Einsatzgruppen carried out operations ranging from the murder of a few people to operations which lasted over two or more days, such as the massacre at Babi Yar (33,771 killed in two days) and the Rumbula massacre (25,000 killed in two days). As ordered by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, the Wehrmacht cooperated with the Einsatzgruppen and provided logistical support for their operations. After the close of the World War II, 24 senior leaders of the Einsatzgruppen were prosecuted in the Einsatzgruppen Trial in 1947-48, charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. Fourteen death sentences and two life sentences were handed out. Four additional Einsatzgruppe leaders were later tried and executed by other nations.
The RSHA, (Reich Main Security Office or Reich Security Main Office) was an organization subordinate to Heinrich Himmler in his dual capacities as Chief of German Police and Reichsführer-SS. The organization's stated duty was to fight all "enemies of the Reich" inside and outside the borders of Nazi Germany.
The RSHA was created by Himmler on 27 September 1939 through the merger of the SS intelligence service the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) or Security Service, and the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo) or Security Police which were nominally under the Interior Ministry. The first chief of the RSHA was General of Police Reinhard Heydrich until he was assassinated in 1942 (following a British-backed Czech operation). Following Heydrich's assassination, Himmler personally took over as acting chief of the RSHA, but in January 1943 delegated the office to SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who served as the head of the RSHA for the remainder of World War II. The organization controlled the security service apparatus for the Reich and the Nazi Party. Its activities included intelligence-gathering, criminal investigation, overseeing foreigners, monitoring public opinion and Nazi indoctrination.
The RSHA also oversaw the Einsatzgruppen death squads that followed the invasion forces of the Wehrmacht Heer (German Army) into Eastern Europe. In its role as the nation's and NSDAP's security service, the RSHA coordinated activities among a number of different agencies that had wide-ranging responsibilities within the Third Reich.
28 February 1933. The Reichstag Fire Decree is the common name of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg in direct response to the Reichstag fire of 27 February 1933. The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens. With Nazis in powerful positions in the German government, the decree was used as the legal basis of imprisonment of anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazis, and to suppress publications not considered "friendly" to the Nazi cause. The decree is considered by historians to be one of the key steps in the establishment of a one-party Nazi state in Germany. The decree invoked the President's power under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which allowed him to take any appropriate measure to remedy dangers to public safety without the prior consent of the Reichstag. It consisted of six articles. Article 1 indefinitely suspended most of the civil liberties set forth in the Weimar Constitution, including habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right of free association and public assembly, the secrecy of the post and telephone, not to mention the protection of property and the home. Articles 2 and 3 allowed the Reich government to assume powers normally reserved for the federal states. Articles 4 and 5 established draconian penalties for certain offenses, including the death penalty for arson to public buildings. Article 6 simply stated that the decree took effect on the day of its proclamation.
Allowed for martial law and Hitler's dictatorship.