Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2021
This chapter provides an overview of the Gestapo and political policing in Government District Düsseldorf. The origins of ministerial independence are traced through laws, precedents, and power struggles that recast political police as a “special authority” removed from administrative oversight. The origins of preventative police justice outline how Himmler carved out a new mandate of prevention without encroaching on punishment through the courts under the cover of policy and law regulating arbitrary “protective custody” in concentration camps. An overview of politico-economic geography then underlines the importance attributed to suppressing dissent in this strategically vital district with historically low support for Nazism. Generational biography of regional personnel further details how this conditioned a shared institutional culture defined by the defeat of 1918 and communist uprisings in the Rhineland. Finally, tectonic shifts in case load identify inflection points in 1935 as the Gestapo pursued organized resistance into society at large, and in 1943 when case load plummeted as attention shifted to suppressing a slave revolt.