To what extent was terror the fundamental basis of Nazi control ?

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To what extent was terror the fundamental basis of Nazi control ?

In this essay it will be shown that the Nazis did not rely on terror as the fundamental basis of control but relied on it as part of a basis of control. The essay will show traditionalist and revisionist views of the question and go on to show the other means of which the Nazis used to control the public.

The traditionalist view is that the fundamental basis was terror used by the Gestapo. It is the point of view that the Gestapo were an all powerful unit that controlled the public ruthlessly and systematically. Evidence to justify the point is that on the whole the public were under control. For example between 1933 and 1945 32,000 people were legally executed and 225,000 people were imprisoned. The historian Jacques Delarue, who supports this view states:

“Never before, in no other land and at no other time, had an organisation attained such a comprehensive penetration (of society), possessed such power, and reached such a degree of ‘completeness’ in its ability to arouse terror and horror, as well as in its actual effectiveness.”

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This quote and the facts and figures shown above shows that the Nazis were ruthless and brutal and did create terror as a basis of control.

        The opposite of this view is the revisionist view. In their opinion the Gestapo were overworked, inefficient and bogged down in the bureaucratic system of Germany and therefore did not control the public by terror. Evidence of them being overworked is the fact that at the height of its power the Gestapo only had 30,000 officers and that was just under 36,000 people to every officer. So you can see how their ...

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