Authors

Sean W. Hough '16, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2016

Department

History

Abstract

The Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) was once the capital of a vast empire of terror; a place where surveillance, persecution, and extermination became merely a quotidian, bureaucratic function and where the Schreibtischtäter could implement their deadly ideology from afar, or sometimes in person; a place where divisions of the SS less associated by the general public with Nazi crimes against humanity, such as the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo), would persecute and kill more people than the Gestapo and most other Nazi institutions of terror. The RSHA and its many offices became an outlet for many Nazi intellectual elites, who were educated at the prestigious institutions of Weimar and Nazi Germany. After the creation of the RSHA within the SS, these individuals through this apparatus and the opportunities presented by German military conquests were transformed from ideological academics to calculating exterminators of millions. Some made the transition behind a desk in Berlin, while others were committed to seeing the fruits of their labor first hand. These were the ‘true believers’ and most devoted followers of National Socialism.

Comments

History Senior Thesis

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