Reich Main Security Office
The Reich Main Security Office was an organization subordinate to Heinrich Himmler in his dual capacities as Chef der Deutschen Polizei and Reichsführer-SS, the head of the Nazi Party's Schutzstaffel. The organization's stated duty was to fight all "enemies of the Reich" inside and outside the borders of Nazi Germany; the RSHA was created by Himmler on 27 September 1939. Himmler's assumption of total control over all security and police forces in Germany was the "crucial precondition" for the establishment and growth of the SS state, he combined the Nazi Party's Sicherheitsdienst with the Sicherheitspolizei, nominally under the Interior Ministry. The SiPo was composed of the Geheime Staatspolizei and the Kriminalpolizei; the RSHA was abbreviated to RSi-H in correspondence to avoid confusion with the SS-Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt. The creation of the RSHA represented the formalization, at the top level, of the relationship under which the SD served as the intelligence agency for the security police.
A similar coordination existed in the local offices. Within Germany and areas which were incorporated within the Reich for the purpose of civil administration, local offices of the Gestapo, criminal police, SD were formally separate, they were subject to coordination by inspectors of the security police and SD on the staffs of the local higher SS and police leaders and one of the principal functions of the local SD units was to serve as the intelligence agency for the local Gestapo units. In the occupied territories, the formal relationship between local units of the Gestapo, criminal police, SD was closer. Throughout the course of wartime expansion, the RSHA continued to grow at an enormous rate and was "repeatedly reorganized". Routine reorganization did not change the tendency for centralization within the Third Reich nor did it change the general trend for organizations like the RSHA to develop direct relationships to Hitler, adhering to a familiar National Socialist pattern of the leader-follower construct.
For the RSHA, its centrality within Nazi Germany was pronounced since departments like the Gestapo were controlled by Himmler and his immediate subordinate SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich remained the RSHA chief until he was assassinated in 1942. In January 1943, Himmler delegated the office to SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who headed the RSHA until the end of World War II in Europe; the head of the RSHA was known as the CSSD or Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD. According to British author Gerald Reitlinger, the RSHA "became a typical overblown bureaucracy... The complexity of RSHA was unequalled... with at least a hundred... sub-sub-sections, a modest camouflage of the fact that it handled the progressive extermination which Hitler planned for the ten million Jews of Europe". The organization at its simplest was divided into seven offices: Amt I, "Administration and Legal" headed by SS-Gruppenführer Dr. Werner Best.
In 1940, he was succeeded by SS-Brigadeführer Bruno Streckenbach. In April 1944, Erich Ehrlinger took over as department chief. Amt II, "Ideological Investigation", headed by SS-Brigadeführer Professor Franz Six. Amt III, "Spheres of German Life" or the Inland-SD, headed by SS-Gruppenführer Otto Ohlendorf, was the SS information gathering service for inside Germany, it dealt with ethnic Germans outside of Germany's prewar borders, matters of culture. Amt IV, "Suppression of Opposition", formed from Abteilung II and III of the Gestapa, headed by SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller. SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann, one of the main architects of the Holocaust, was head of the Amt IV sub-department called Referat IV B4. Amt V, "Suppression of Crime" Kriminalpolizei led by SS-Gruppenführer Arthur Nebe and by SS-Oberführer Friedrich Panzinger; this was the Criminal Police, which dealt with non-political serious crimes, such as rape and arson. Amt V was known as the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt. Amt VI, "Foreign Intelligence Service" or Ausland-SD led by SS-Brigadeführer Heinz Jost and by SS-Brigadeführer Walter Schellenberg.
Amt VII, "Ideological Research and Evaluation" was a reconstitution of Amt II overseen by SS-Brigadeführer Professor Dr. Franz Six, it was headed by SS-Obersturmbannführer Paul Dittel. It was responsible for "ideological" tasks; these included the creation of anti-semitic, anti-masonic propaganda, the sounding of public opinion and monitoring of Nazi indoctrination by the public. The RSHA controlled the security services of the Nazi Party, its activities included intelligence-gathering, criminal investigation, overseeing foreigners, monitoring public opinion, Nazi indoctrination. The RSHA was "the central office for the extra-judicial NS measures of terror and repression from the beginning of the war until 1945"; the list of "enemies" included Jews, Freemasons and Christian activists. In addition to dealing with identified enemies, the RSHA advocated expansionist policies for the Reich and the Germanization of additional territory through settlement. Generalplan Ost, the secret Nazi plan to colonize Central and Eastern Europe exclus
Erhard Heiden was an early member of the Nazi Party and the third commander of the Schutzstaffel, the paramilitary wing of the Sturmabteilung. He was appointed head of the SS, an elite subsection of the SA in 1927. At that time the SS numbered less than a thousand men and Heiden found it difficult to cope under the much larger SA. Heiden was not a success in the post, SS membership dropped under his leadership, he was dismissed from his post in 1929 for "family reasons". He was executed that same year. Erhard Heiden was born on 23 February 1901 in a city in Bavaria. In 1917, he attended the NCO school in Fürstenfeldbruck. Little is known about his early life. Following Germany's defeat in World War I, mass unemployment, poverty and civil unrest plagued the country. During that time, Heiden served in a Freikorps unit. In 1919, a small right-wing political party known as the German Workers' Party was created and seated in Munich. In 1920, it changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party.
It advocated antisemitism and anti-Bolshevism. At party meetings in late 1919 and early 1920, hecklers and protesters tried to disrupt Adolf Hitler's speeches, fought with party members, it was decided that a permanent group of party members would serve to protect Nazi officials at rallies and disrupt the meetings of opposing parties. The basis for the Sturmabteilung had been formed. Heiden became an early member of the Nazi Party and the SA. In 1923, Heiden joined a small personal bodyguard unit for Adolf Hitler named Stoßtrupp-Hitler; that same year, Hitler felt strong enough to try to seize power in Munich. Inspired by Benito Mussolini's "March on Rome" the previous year, the Nazis aimed to first establish power in Munich and challenge the government in Berlin. On 9 November 1923 the Stoßtrupp, along with the SA and several other paramilitary units, took part in the abortive coup d'état, resulting in the death of sixteen Nazi supporters and four police officers, an event known as the Beer Hall Putsch.
After the putsch and other Nazi leaders were incarcerated at Landsberg Prison for high treason. The Nazi Party and all associated formations, including the Stoßtrupp, were disbanded. After Hitler's release from prison in December 1924, the Nazi Party was refounded. In 1925, Hitler ordered the formation of the Schutzkommando, it included old Stoßtrupp members such as Emil Maurice and Heiden. That same year, the Schutzkommando was expanded and renamed the Sturmstaffel, the Schutzstaffel. Heiden, described by William Shirer as "a former police stool-pigeon of unsavory reputation", joined the SS in 1925 and was an early advocate of separating the unit from the SA, its parent organization. On 1 March 1927, Joseph Berchtold transferred leadership of the SS to Heiden, his acting deputy. Berchtold had become disillusioned by the SA's authority over the SS; as head of the SS, Heiden found it difficult to function under the larger and more powerful SA. Under Heiden's leadership a stricter code of discipline was enforced than would have been tolerated in the SA ranks.
Heiden further demanded that the men under his command were not to be involved in party matters which were none of their concern. His intention was to obtain higher quality recruits. Except for the Munich area, the unit was unable to maintain any momentum; the membership of the SS declined from 1000 to 280 as the SS continued to struggle under the SA. As Heiden attempted to keep the small group from dissolving, Heinrich Himmler became his deputy in September 1927. Himmler had a great enthusiasm and vision for the SS and displayed good organisational abilities which Heiden used. Himmler in time eclipsed Heiden. Upon the dismissal of Heiden, Himmler assumed the position of Reichsführer-SS with Hitler's approval in January 1929. There are differing accounts of the reason for this dismissal; the party announced that it was for "family reasons". It was suggested at the time that the dismissal was due to Heiden associating with Jews. Since 1928, Heiden was co-owner of a clothing supply business that sold uniforms to the SS.
Another company in Munich supplied Heiden and his partner with the pants which were used for the SS uniforms. It was discovered. Further, it was alleged that Heiden had been making large profits on the clothing sales to the SS for uniforms; this led to Heiden having to resign as head of the SS. Historian Adrian Weale says that the dismissal was because he was ineffective in the job, but there were rumors that he was a police informer. Himmler's biographer Peter Longerich says that beyond the official announcement "we have no further clues to explain either Heiden's dismissal or Himmler's appointment". Under Himmler the SS expanded over time, with his ultimate aim being the one to turn it into the most powerful organization in Germany. After the Nazis came to power in January 1933, Heiden was arrested. On orders from Himmler and his chief lieutenant Reinhard Heydrich, he was murdered that year by members of the Sicherheitsdienst. Heiden's corpse was found in September 1933 and he was buried on 15 September 1933.
Karl Hanke Cook, Stephen. Heinrich Himmler's Camelot: the Wewelsburg Ideological Center of the SS, 1934–1945. Kressmann-B
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process; the official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire; the Nazi regime ended. Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, on 30 January 1933; the NSDAP began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the offices and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany.
All power was centralised in Hitler's person and his word became the highest law. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen; the return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Racism antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime; the Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power; the first concentration camps were established in March 1933. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, liberals and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed, many leaders imprisoned.
Education focused on racial biology, population policy, fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion; the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany made aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met, it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. By early 1941, Germany controlled much of Europe. Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.
Germany exploited labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. In the Holocaust, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, or shot. While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the US into the war meant the Wehrmacht lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in 1943 and by late 1944 had been pushed back to the pre-1939 border. Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in 1944 and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. After the Allied invasion of France, Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, capitulated in May 1945. Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war; the victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.
The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945, while common English terms are "Nazi Germany" and "Third Reich". The latter, adopted by Nazi propaganda as Drittes Reich, was first used in Das Dritte Reich, a 1923 book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; the book counted the Holy Roman Empire as the German Empire as the second. Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years 1919 to 1933, it was a republic with a semi-presidential system. The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I, a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties. Severe setbacks to the German economy began after World War I ended because of reparations payments required under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles; the government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, food riots.
When the government defaulted on their reparations payments in January 1923, French troops occupied German industrial areas along the Ruhr and widespread civil unrest followed. The National Socialist German Workers' Party (National
The Waffen-SS was the armed wing of the Nazi Party's SS organisation. Its formations included men from Nazi Germany, along with volunteers and conscripts from both occupied and un-occupied lands; the Waffen-SS grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, served alongside the Heer and other security units. It was under the control of the SS Führungshauptamt beneath Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. With the start of World War II, tactical control was exercised by the High Command of the Armed Forces, with some units being subordinated to Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS directly under Himmler's control. In keeping with the racial policy of Nazi Germany, membership was open only to people of Germanic origin; the rules were relaxed in 1940, the formation of units composed or of foreign volunteers and conscripts was authorised. These SS units were made up of men from among the nationals of Nazi-occupied Europe. Despite relaxation of the rules, the Waffen-SS was still based on the racist ideology of Nazism, ethnic Poles were barred from the formations.
Members of the Waffen-SS were involved in numerous atrocities. At the post-war Nuremberg trials, the Waffen-SS was judged to be a criminal organisation due to its connection to the Nazi Party and direct involvement in numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity. Former Waffen-SS members, with the exception of conscripts, who comprised about one third of the membership, were denied many of the rights afforded to military veterans; the origins of the Waffen-SS can be traced back to the selection of a group of 120 SS men on 17 March 1933 by Sepp Dietrich to form the Sonderkommando Berlin. By November 1933 the formation had 800 men, at a commemorative ceremony in Munich for the tenth anniversary of the failed Munich Putsch the regiment swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler; the oaths pledged were "Pledging loyalty to him alone" and "Obedience unto death". The formation was given the title Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. On 13 April 1934, by order of Himmler, the regiment became known as the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler.
The Leibstandarte demonstrated their loyalty to Hitler in 1934 during the "Night of the Long Knives", when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political killings and the purge of the Sturmabteilung. Led by one of Hitler's oldest comrades, Ernst Röhm, the SA was seen as a threat by Hitler to his newly gained political power. Hitler wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr and conservatives of the country, people whose support Hitler needed to solidify his position; when Hitler decided to act against the SA, the SS was put in charge of eliminating Röhm and the other high-ranking SA officers. The Night of the Long Knives occurred between 30 June and 2 July 1934 and saw the killing of up to 200 people; this included the entire SA leadership ending its power. This action was carried out by SS personnel, the Gestapo. In September 1934, Hitler authorised the formation of the military wing of the Nazi Party and approved the formation of the SS-Verfügungstruppe, a special service troop under Hitler's overall command.
The SS-VT had to depend on the German Army for its supply of weapons and military training, they had control of the recruiting system through local draft boards responsible for assigning conscripts to the different branches of the Wehrmacht to meet quotas set by the German High Command. The SS was given the lowest priority for recruits. With the difficulties presented by the quota system, Heinrich Himmler formed two new SS regiments, the SS Germania and SS Deutschland, which together with the Leibstandarte and a communications unit made up the SS-VT. At the same time Himmler established the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz and SS-Junkerschule Braunschweig for military training of SS officers. Both schools used regular army training methods and used former army officers as instructors. In 1934, Himmler set stringent requirements for recruits, they were to be German nationals who could prove their Aryan ancestry back to 1800, without a criminal record. A four-year commitment was required for the SS-VT and LSSAH.
Recruits had to be between the ages of 23, at least 1.74 metres tall. Concentration camp guards had to make a one-year commitment, be between the ages of 16 and 23, at least 1.72 metres tall. All recruits were required to have 20/20 eyesight, no dental fillings, to provide a medical certificate. By 1938, the height restrictions were relaxed, up to six dental fillings were permitted, eyeglasses for astigmatism and mild vision correction were allowed. Once the war commenced, the physical requirements were no longer enforced, any recruit who could pass a basic medical exam was considered for service. Members of the SS could be of any religion except Judaism, but atheists were not allowed according to Himmler in 1937. Historian Bernd Wegner found in his study of officers that a large majority of the senior officers corps of the Waffen-SS were from an upper-middle-class background and would have been considered for commissioning by traditional standards. Among Waffen-SS generals six out of ten had a "university entrance qualification, no less than one-fifth a university degree".
In 1936, Himmler selected former Lieutenant General Paul Hausser to
Josef Dietrich was a German politician and SS commander during the Nazi era. He joined the Nazi Party in 1928 and was elected to the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic in 1930. Prior to 1929, Dietrich was Adolf Hitler's bodyguard, he received rapid promotions in the SS after his participation in the extrajudicial executions of political opponents during the 1934 purge known as the Night of the Long Knives. Despite having no formal staff officer training, Dietrich was, along with Paul Hausser, the highest-ranking officer in the Waffen-SS, the paramilitary branch of the SS. Reaching the rank of Oberst-Gruppenführer, he commanded units up to army level during World War II; as commanding officer of the 6th Panzer Army during the Battle of the Bulge, Dietrich bore responsibility for the Malmedy massacre, the murder of U. S. prisoners of war in December 1944. After the war, Dietrich was convicted of war crimes at the Malmedy massacre trial, conducted by the U. S. military tribunal, in West Germany for his involvement in the 1934 purge.
Upon his release from the U. S. prison, he became active in HIAG, a lobby group established by former high-ranking Waffen-SS personnel. Dietrich died in 1966. Josef "Sepp" Dietrich was born on 28 May 1892 in Hawangen, near Memmingen in the Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire. In 1911 he joined the Bavarian Army with the 4. Bayerische Feldartillerie-Regiment "König" in Augsburg. In the First World War he served with the Bavarian Field artillery, He was promoted to Gefreiter in 1917 and awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class. In 1918 he was promoted to Unteroffizier. Last Bavarian army record lists Dietrich as recipient of Iron Cross 1st class. After the Great War Dietrich worked including policeman and customs officer, he joined the Nazi Party in 1928, got a job at Eher Verlag, the NSDAP publisher, became commander of Hitler's Schutzstaffel bodyguard. His NSDAP number was 89,015 and his SS number was 1,117. Dietrich had been introduced to Nazism by Christian Weber, his employer at the Tankstelle-Blau-Bock filling station in Munich.
He accompanied Hitler on his tours around Germany. Hitler arranged other jobs, including various SS posts, let him live in the Reich Chancellery. On 5 January 1930 Dietrich was elected to the Reichstag as a delegate for Lower Bavaria. By 1931 he had become SS-Gruppenführer; when the Nazi Party seized power in 1933, he rose swiftly through the hierarchy. He became the commander of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler and member of the Prussian state council; as one of Hitler's intimates, Dietrich was able to disregard his SS superior, Heinrich Himmler, at one time banning Himmler from the Leibstandarte barracks. The LSSAH grew into an elite division of the Waffen-SS. Although the unit was nominally under Himmler, Dietrich was the real commander and handled day-to-day administration. In the summer of 1934 Dietrich played a key role in the Night of the Long Knives. Hitler, along with Dietrich and a unit from the Leibstandarte, traveled to Bad Wiessee to oversee Ernst Röhm's arrest on 30 June. At around 17:00 hours, Dietrich received orders from Hitler for the Leibstandarte to form an "execution squad" and go to Stadelheim prison where certain Sturmabteilung leaders were being held.
There in the prison courtyard, the Leibstandarte firing squad shot five SA generals and an SA colonel. Additional SA personnel identified by the regime as traitors were shot in Berlin by a unit of the Leibstandarte after Hitler told him to take six men and go to the Ministry of Justice to shoot certain SA leaders. Shortly thereafter, Dietrich was promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer. Dietrich's role earned him a 19-month sentence from a postwar court. After World War II began, Dietrich led the Leibstandarte during the German advance into Poland and the Netherlands. After the Dutch surrender, the Leibstandarte moved south to France on 24 May 1940, they took up a position 15 miles southwest of Dunkirk along the line of the Aa Canal, facing the Allied defensive line near Watten. That night the OKW ordered the advance to halt, with the British Expeditionary Force trapped; the Leibstandarte paused for the night. However, on the following day, in defiance of Hitler's orders, Dietrich ordered his III Battalion to cross the canal and take the heights beyond, where British artillery observers were putting the regiment at risk.
They drove the observers off. Instead of being censured for his act of defiance, Dietrich was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.. During this campaign elements of the Leibstandarte were responsible for the killing of Allied captives, the Wormhoudt massacre. Dietrich remained in command of the Leibstandarte throughout the campaigns in Greece and Yugoslavia before being promoted to command of the 1st SS Panzer Corps, attached to Army Group Center, on the Eastern Front. In 1943, he was sent to Italy to recover Benito Mussolini's mistress Clara Petacci, he received numerous German military medals. Dietrich commanded the 1st SS Panzer Corps in the Battle of Normandy, he rose to command 5th Panzer Army during the stages of this campaign. Hitler gave him command of the newly created 6th Panzer Army. Dietrich led it in the Battle of the Bulge, he had been assigned to that task because, due to the 20 July Plot, Hitler distrusted Wehrmacht officers. On 17 December, Kampfgruppe Peiper—an SS unit under his overall command—murdered 84 U.
S. prisoners of war near Malmedy, Belgium, in what is known as the Malmedy massacre. In March 1945 Dietrich's 6th Panzer Army and the LSSAH spearheaded Operation Spring Awakening, an offensive in Hungary near Lake Balaton aimed at securi
Genocide is intentional action to destroy a people in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Latin suffix - caedo; the United Nations Genocide Convention, established in 1948, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial or religious group". The term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. Others are listed in Genocides in List of genocides by death toll; the Political Instability Task Force estimated that, between 1956 and 2016, a total of forty-three genocides took place, causing the death of about 50 million people. The UNHCR estimated that a further 50 million had been displaced by such episodes of violence up to 2008. Before 1944, various terms, including "massacre", "crimes against humanity", "extermination" were used to describe intentional, systematic killings. In 1941, Winston Churchill, when describing the German invasion of the Soviet Union, spoke of "a crime without a name".
In 1944, Raphael Lemkin created the term genocide in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. The book describes the implementation of Nazi policies in occupied Europe, cites earlier mass killings; the term described the systematic destruction of a nation or people, the word was adopted by many in the international community. The word genocide is the combination of the Greek prefix geno- and caedere; the word genocide was used in indictments at the Nuremberg trials, held from 1945, but as a descriptive term, not yet as a formal legal term. According to Lemkin, genocide was "a coordinated strategy to destroy a group of people, a process that could be accomplished through total annihilation as well as strategies that eliminate key elements of the group's basic existence, including language and economic infrastructure". Lemkin defined genocide as follows: Generally speaking, genocide does not mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation.
It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, national feelings and the economic existence of national groups, the destruction of the personal security, health and the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups; the preamble to the 1948 Genocide Convention notes that instances of genocide have taken place throughout history. But it was not until Lemkin coined the term and the prosecution of perpetrators of the Holocaust at the Nuremberg trials that the United Nations defined the crime of genocide under international law in the Genocide Convention. Lemkin's lifelong interest in the mass murder of populations in the 20th century was in response to the killing of Armenians in 1915 and to the mass murders in Nazi-controlled Europe.
He referred to the Albigensian Crusade as "one of the most conclusive cases of genocide in religious history". He dedicated his life to mobilizing the international community, to work together to prevent the occurrence of such events. In a 1949 interview, Lemkin said "I became interested in genocide, it happened to the Armenians after the Armenians, Hitler took action." After the Holocaust, perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its allies prior to and during World War II, Lemkin campaigned for the universal acceptance of international laws defining and forbidding genocides. In 1946, the first session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that "affirmed" that genocide was a crime under international law and enumerated examples of such events. In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide which defined the crime of genocide for the first time. Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings.
Many instances of such crimes of genocide have occurred when racial, religious and other groups have been destroyed or in part. The CPPCG was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948 and came into effect on 12 January 1951, it contains an internationally recognized definition of genocide, incorporated into the national criminal legislation of many countries, was adopted by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which established the International Criminal Court. Article II of the Convention defines genocide as:... any of the following acts committed with i
The Schutzstaffel was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany, throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II. It began with a small guard unit known as the Saal-Schutz made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security for party meetings in Munich. In 1925, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit, which had by been reformed and given its final name. Under his direction it grew from a small paramilitary formation to one of the most powerful organizations in Nazi Germany. From 1929 until the regime's collapse in 1945, the SS was the foremost agency of security and terror within Germany and German-occupied Europe; the two main constituent groups were the Allgemeine SS and Waffen-SS. The Allgemeine SS was responsible for enforcing the racial policy of Nazi Germany and general policing, whereas the Waffen-SS consisted of combat units within Nazi Germany's military. A third component of the SS, the SS-Totenkopfverbände, ran the concentration camps and extermination camps.
Additional subdivisions of the SS included the Sicherheitsdienst organizations. They were tasked with the detection of actual or potential enemies of the Nazi state, the neutralization of any opposition, policing the German people for their commitment to Nazi ideology, providing domestic and foreign intelligence; the SS was the organization most responsible for the genocidal killing of an estimated 5.5 to 6 million Jews and millions of other victims in the Holocaust. Members of all of its branches committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during World War II; the SS was involved in commercial enterprises and exploited concentration camp inmates as slave labor. After Nazi Germany's defeat, the SS and the NSDAP were judged by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to be criminal organizations. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the highest-ranking surviving SS main department chief, was found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials and hanged in 1946. By 1923, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler had created a small volunteer guard unit known as the Saal-Schutz to provide security at their meetings in Munich.
The same year, Hitler ordered the formation of a small bodyguard unit dedicated to his personal service. He wished it to be separate from the "suspect mass" of the party, including the paramilitary Sturmabteilung, which he did not trust; the new formation was designated the Stabswache. The unit was composed of eight men, commanded by Julius Schreck and Joseph Berchtold, was modeled after the Erhardt Naval Brigade, a Freikorps of the time; the unit was renamed Stoßtrupp in May 1923. The Stoßtrupp was abolished after the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt by the NSDAP to seize power in Munich. In 1925, Hitler ordered Schreck to organize the Schutzkommando, it was tasked with providing personal protection for Hitler at NSDAP events. That same year, the Schutzkommando was expanded to a national organization and renamed successively the Sturmstaffel, the Schutzstaffel; the SS marked its foundation on 9 November 1925. The new SS was to provide protection for NSDAP leaders throughout Germany. Hitler's personal SS protection unit was enlarged to include combat units.
Schreck, a founding member of the SA and a close confidant of Hitler, became the first SS chief in March 1925. On 15 April 1926, Joseph Berchtold succeeded him as chief of the SS. Berchtold changed the title of the office to Reichsführer-SS. Berchtold was considered more dynamic than his predecessor, but became frustrated by the authority the SA had over the SS; this led to him transferring leadership of the SS to his deputy, Erhard Heiden, on 1 March 1927. Under Heiden's leadership, a stricter code of discipline was enforced than would have been tolerated in the SA. Between 1925 and 1929, the SS was considered to be a small Gruppe of the SA. Except in the Munich area, the SS was unable to maintain any momentum in its membership numbers, which declined from 1,000 to 280 as the SA continued its rapid growth; as Heiden attempted to keep the SS from dissolving, Heinrich Himmler became his deputy in September 1927. Himmler displayed good organizational abilities compared to Heiden; the SS established a number of Gaus.
The SS-Gaus consisted of SS-Gau Berlin, SS-Gau Berlin Brandenburg, SS-Gau Franken, SS-Gau Niederbayern, SS-Gau Rheinland-Süd, SS-Gau Sachsen. With Hitler's approval, Himmler assumed the position of Reichsführer-SS in January 1929. There are differing accounts of the reason for Heiden's dismissal from his position as head of the SS; the party announced that it was for "family reasons." Under Himmler, the SS gained a larger foothold. He considered the SS an elite, ideologically driven National Socialist organization, a "conflation of Teutonic knights, the Jesuits, Japanese Samurai", his ultimate aim was to turn the SS into the most powerful organization in Germany and most influential branch of the party. He expanded the SS to 3,000 members in his first year as its leader. In 1929, the SS-Hauptamt was expanded and reorganized into five main offices dealing with general administration, finance and race matters. At the same time, the SS-Gaus were expanded into three SS-Oberführerbereiche areas, namely the SS-Oberführerbereich Ost, SS-Oberführerbereich