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Introduction

A New Code of Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 October 2021

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Summary

How did the Gestapo enforce laws governing criticism? Recent historiography highlights denunciation driven policing as well as the overrepresentation of Communists and Jews in cases taken to trial. A system of selective enforcement is well-established fact, but the dynamics remain unclear. Enemies of the People randomly samples two categories of “criminal opinion” to capture the changing decision-making processes behind routine investigation, interrogation, and enforcement practices. Five arguments take shape. First, a conscious policy of selective enforcement based on political reliability as defined by standing within the Nazi people’s community. Second, the system punished subversive motive rather than actions. Third, political police viewed targeted minorities as subversives, privileged minorities as supporters, and carefully investigated “politically colourless” Germans. Fourth, from 1935 to 1944, the Gestapo behaved as an ordinary detective service when investigating individual Germans. Fifth, selective enforcement involved state prosecutors and the Party through five configurations. The violence of revolution and collapse were bookends on a decade of much cooler suppression.

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Enemies of the People
Hitler's Critics and the Gestapo
, pp. 1 - 26
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Introduction
  • J. Ryan Stackhouse
  • Book: Enemies of the People
  • Online publication: 08 October 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108961677.002
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  • Introduction
  • J. Ryan Stackhouse
  • Book: Enemies of the People
  • Online publication: 08 October 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108961677.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • J. Ryan Stackhouse
  • Book: Enemies of the People
  • Online publication: 08 October 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108961677.002
Available formats
×