The goal of National Socialist terror was to eliminate political opponents, kill individuals held to be »racially inferior,« force the acceptance of Nazi norms within the population, and secure the exploitation of the entire economic and human potential of Austria for the preparation and execution of a war of conquest.
The Nazi terror system did not rely on the state institutions of oppression (police, courts, and administration) alone, but also on the Nazi movement, which soon pervaded state and society completely and was supported by parts of the population.
The terror system, a fundamental characteristic of the regime, spread through society, creating an atmosphere of fear (of persecution), which is typical of totalitarian systems. The most important components and dimensions were:
The Nazi rulers in the »Ostmark,« as Austria was now called, were determined to make terror a monopoly of state organs so that the influence of the NSDAP and its ancillaries played only a minor role in this field. Many Austrian Nazis were recruited for the police and made their careers there. More than a few participated as leading figures in Nazi crimes.