NAZI Organization: SS Agencies--Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA -- Reich Security Office)

Figure 1.--This unidentified family was photographed some time in the late-1930s oe rarly-40s, sidy before or after thge War began. The boy is wearing his winter Hitler Youth uniform. We are not an expert in NAZI uniform, but we think his father was a ranking officer in the Kriminalpolizei (state criminal police--Kripo). The Kripo ad other police agencies were included in the RSHA as part of the final NAZI centralization of all Reich security offices.

Hitler and the NAZIs strove to create a police state from as soon as Hitler was appointed chancellor. There were at first condtitutional difficulties, especially the fact that police power was difused among the various German states. Hitler's approached was to begin by seize control of the police in two major states, Prussia and Bavaria. Göring was placed in charge of the Prussian police and Himmler the Bavarian police. From that beginning the NAZIs steadily expanded their control of the German police, kncreasing bits aithority, reducing judicial authotity, and centralizing the fotce. The final step in the process of centralizing the police undervNAZI command was the creation of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA -- Reich Security Office). Himmler issued the decree creating the RSHA a few weeks after the beginning of World War II (September 27, 1939). This effectively centralized all agencies of state security within the SS, bluring the lines between a NAZI Party agency and a central government police agency. The RSHA thus became a SS unit responsible for combating the enemies of National Socialism. Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler's most poweful subordinate and with direct access to the Führer, was appointed to head the RSHA. Under Himmler's deft hand, the RHSA was created (1939). It combined the NAZI security aparatus under one command. It included the Sicherheitsdienst (SD -- Security Police), Kriminalpolizei (state criminal police--Kripo), and the Geheime Staatspolizei (state secret police--Gestapo). Many authors refer to the Gestapo as the NAZI secret police. In fact the Gestap was only one part of the NAZI security aparatus. The correct term is the RSHA. A unit of the RSHA was Amt VI headed by SS Colonel Adolph Eichmann who oversaw the mechanics of the Holocaust. The planning for Generalplan Ost (GPO), the NAZI master plan for the East, was another RSHA undertaking. A plan for the West was also in preparation. Under Heydrich's leadership, the RSHA began competing with the Abwehr in both intelligence and counter inteligence. After the July Bomb Plot and the eventual arrest of Admiral Canaris, the RSHA acquired full responsibility for intelligence abnd counter-intelligenc in the rapidly desiuntegrating Reich.


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Created: 1:34 AM 6/27/2009
Last updated: 2:42 AM 10/23/2016