Chapter

From Political Detectives to Gestapo, 1933–1934

George C. Browder

in Hitler's Enforcers

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780195104790
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854462 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195104790.003.0003
From Political Detectives to Gestapo, 1933–1934

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Routinization works best when one has distance, as at a bureaucrat's desk. When one has direct contact with the victims, the key process involves dehumanization. Abstraction, dehumanization, and brutalization taken together best describe what happens. This process is a double-edged sword: in denying the humanity of the victim and, therefore, his right to moral consideration, the victimizer brutalizes himself as well, weakening his moral restraints. The categorization of enemies prescribed by Nazi ideology and sanctioned through fully controlled media created the psychological environment to generate such processes. As one shall see, both police and Sicherheitsdienst (SD) created their own evidence and convinced themselves that the Nazi-designated enemies were indeed threats to society. The following social history of the Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo) detectives shows how authorization, bolstering, routinization, and dehumanization contributed to their evolution. Throughout the process, professional detectives and civil servants experienced an uneven, sometimes jarring, sometimes gradual transformation from apolitical professionals to “Gestapo men.”.

Keywords: police; Sicherheitsdienst; Nazi; Sicherheitspolizei; detectives; authorization; bolstering; routinization; dehumanization; Gestapo

Chapter.  9523 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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