Hitler's police battalions

Hitler's police battalions

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When the German Wehrmacht swarmed across Eastern Europe, an elite corps followed and close at its heels. Along with the SS and Gestapo, the Ordnungspolizei, or Uniformed Police, played a central role in Nazi genocide that until now has been generally neglected by historians of the war. Beginning with the invasion of Poland, the Uniformed Police were charged with following the army to curb resistance, pacify the countryside, patrol Jewish ghettos, and generally maintain order in the conquered territories. Edward Westermann examines how this force emerged as a primary instrument of annihilation, responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of the Third Reich's political and racial enemies. In qHitler's Police Battalions he reveals how the institutional mindset of these qordinary policemanq allowed them to commit atrocities without a second thought. Westermann reveals initiatives pursed before the war by Heinrich Himmler and Karl Daluege to create a culture within the existing police forces that fostered anti-Semitism and anti-Communism as institutional norms. Challenging prevailing interpretations of German culture, he draws on extensive archival research-qincluding the testimony of former policemen-qto illuminate this transformation. Purged of dissidents, indoctrinated to idolize Hitler, and trained in military combat, these police battalions repeatedly conducted actions against Jews, Slavs, gypsies, asocials, and other groups on their own initiative, even when they had the choice not to. In addition to documenting these atrocities, Westermann examines cooperation between the Ordnungspolizci and the SS and Gestapo, and the close relationship between police and Wehrmacht in theconduct of the anti-partisan campaign. Throughout, Westermann stresses he importance of ideological indoctrination within specific groups. It was the organizational culture of the Uniformed Police, he maintains, and not GermanThe culture of an organization is formed and defined by the values, rituals, climate, and patterns of behavior of the ... One study concerning police organizations described leadership as the glue holding all parts of the organization togetheranbsp;...

Title:Hitler's police battalions
Author:Edward B. Westermann
Publisher:Univ Pr of Kansas - 2005


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