A necessary part of any totalitarian regime is a secret police force that has the authority to act outside of any legal contraints. They over see large scale killing and concentration camp systems. The various Soviet secret police forces (NKVD and KGB) and the NAZI Gestapo are the two most famous such forces, but there are quite a few other secret police forces operated by both authoritative and totalitarian regimes. In totalitarian systems, a foregihn intelligence organizatin is included within te structure of the secret police. In democraic systems there are also foreign inteligence operations, but the organization sructure is more varied. The difference between these units and those in totalitarian systems is that they are constrained by law.
The Отделение по Охранению Общественной Безопасности и Порядка or Department for Defense of Public Security and Order (Okhrana) was the secret police force of the Tsarist Empire. It was created by Tsar Alexander II after a second assasination attempt (1880). Count Loris-Melikov helped to create the Okhranka under Ministry of the Interior (MVD). The Special Corps of Gendarmes and Third Section of the Imperial Chancellery were combined to form the new unit. Ironically Alexander II was a relatively liberal Tsar/ He was the Tsar who fteed the serfs. And the Okhranka did not succeed in preventing the Tsar's assasination.
Benito Mussolini completed the March on Rome (October 29, 1922). The King Victor Emanuel appointed him primeminister. Italy was still, however, a parlimentary democracy and Mussolini still face opposition parties. A new Parliament convened (June 1924). The Socialist leader, Giacomo Matteotti, led the opposition and denounced Mussolini and the Fascists for their use of intimidation and force in the elections. The Fascists promptly murdered him. There was a national outcry against Mussolini and the Fascists. The opposition parties withdrew from the parliament whuch became known as the Aventine Secession. It was a grave mistake because it gave Mussolini absolute control of the parliament. And Mussolini proceeded to use the force availavle to completely eliminate the opposition.
The Fascist Parliament passed a law on association which outlawed all political opposition (1926). Also a secret police force was established--the Organizzazione per la Vigilanza e la Repressione dell'Antifascismo (OVRA). The Fascists and new OVRA arrested more than ten thousand anti-fascists (1925-26). They were sentenced to death, but for the most part exiled.
The Bolsheviks and other revolutionaries were brutally treated by the Ocrana, the Tsarist Secret Police. After the Bolsheviks seized power, many included Lenin were convinced that they needed their own secret police to deal with counter revolutionaries. The Bolshevik secret police was created only 2 months after the October Revolution (December 1917). The Bolshevik used the Cheka to firmly establish their rule. It was to be temporary expedient that Lenin assured the population that would be dibanded when the party has consolidated their hold on power. The Cheka was organized by Feliks Dzerzhinskii. It was at first only authorized to investigate "counterrevolutionary" crimes. In the struggle with counter-revolutionaries, however, the Cheka began a much broader campaign against of terror against the propertied classes. The Cheka often resorted to summary execution without trials. Some Bolsheviks were outraged with the Cheka's brutality. Lenin and other Bolsheviks were convinced that the Cheka's campaign of terror was necessary. While tghe Bolshevik's victory in the Civil War (1918-21) Lenin did disband the Cheka. The responsibilities were transferred to the State Political Directorate/United Department of Political Police (OGPU/GPU) (1922). The power of the GPU were more limited than that of the Cheka. This changed, however, with the rise to power of Joseph Stalin. Stalin perpetually obsessed with threats to his power again invested the secret police with virtually limitless extra-llegal powers. The GPU was renamed the People's Comissariat (later Ministry) for Internal Affairs (NKVD/MVD) (1934). Under Stalin the secret police were no longer subject to party control or any legal constraints. The NKVD was authorize to act against subversive elements, oversee prisons and labor camps, as well as the reducation of political prisoners. The NKVD became the person tool of Stalin which used it not only to purge the Pary but to wage a campaign of terror against the Soviet people. Stalin in the 1930s initiated a campaign against peasants to collectivize agriculture which was followed by purges and the Great Terror. Stalin conventiently purged the heads of the secret police that carried out his crimes. His last secret police head was Lavrenti Beria. When Stalin died (1953), the Soviet leadership purged Beria from the Communist Party and had him executed before he could use his power to seize power himself. The NKVD in the de-Stalinization era was renamed the KGB. The Gulag was slowly reduced and the Stalinist Terror receeded. The Soviets leaders, however, until the advent of Gorbechev continued to use the secret police to suppress political and religious thought and to act without any real legal
The Soviet Union in the countries it occupied set up secret police forces modeled on the NKVD/KGB. The force established in Germany after World war II was the Staatssicherheit (Ministry of State Security --STASI/MfS). Like the KGB, it combined foreign and domestic operations within the same organization.
It developed into one of the most sucessful secret police forces. It also operated a botable foreign espionage operation. The STASI engaged in extensive phone taps and other electronic surveilance. Huge numbers of East Germans were involved with the STASI. Wives spying on husbands and children on parents. Notably, half of its agents inserted in the West working were working on scientific and technological espionage. In this effort they achieved some success. The benefits to East Germany, however, seem limited. The STASI had 8,000 people in Berlin working on spy devices One author maintains that "technology was at the heart" of te STASI's spy operations. [Macrakis] The STASI both borrowed frim abroad and developed their own devices. One of the most notable STASI operations was the drugging of athletes, including children, to enhance acivement in international competitions, including the Olympics.
The Tokku or The Thought Police was the Japanese secret police force. The Japanese as they began building an overseas empire formed the Kempei Tai. Only subsequently was a domestic secret police service firmed. The Ministry of Justice set up the creation of the Special Higher Police (the Tokubetsu Koto Keisatsu or Tokko (1901). It became known as the “Thought Police. The Tokko, a branch of Japan’s Ministry of Justice, was formed in 1901 as the Kempei Tai’s civilian counterpart. the Thought Police informed the general public that they would welcome information and leads from ordinary Japanese citizens on suspicious or unpatriotic behavior (1930). This included mere conversations. Civilians responded and began spying on their neighbors. This cut across class barriers. Domestic servants began reporting private conversations of their employers. And the Thought Police acted on these reports. One source suggess that over 50,000 people were arrested (1933-36). This was even before the War in China. The charge was having “dangerous thoughts”. We are not yet sure just how these individuals were handeled.
Macrakis, Kristie. Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World
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