Nazi Terror
# Introduction
Gestapo and Police

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 NSDAP itself and its ancillary organizations SS, SA, Hitler Youth, and associated formations,
  • the justice system, which lost out in influence to the police,
  • the SS and police apparatus, with the Gestapo at its core,
  • the concentration camp system, deportations, and mass-murder,
  • various sectors of the Public Health system involved in the registration and selection of the »inferior,« forced sterilization, and euthanasia.

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.



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The propagation of slogans of hate against the Catholic Church and the Jewish community was the purpose of a demonstration instigated by Reichkommissar Bürckel and the Vienna organization of the NSDAP at Heldenplatz on 15 October 1938.

Nazi Terror