Drawing on the hundreds of ordinances, pamphlets, articles and books which circulated in the German states from the late seventeenth century, Maier suggested three main conclusions. First, he interpreted police as directly related to those concepts of authority which had been developed in the neo-Aristotelian thinking about the state since the high and later Middle Ages.
Secondly, he emphasized a paradoxical shift by which the number and intensity of police regulations circulated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries served to restrict claims of absolute power. Thirdly, and as a consequence, he suggested that the intensification of policing was not so a means to expand state power and monarchical domination but rather, and unwittingly, a means to curb it.
As a consequence he did not take into account the various strands and sectors of disciplinary activities. In recent years, however, research into a tremendous body of archival documentation has successfully filled the gap and has documented the extent to which, similar to early modern and Ancien Regime penal policies proper, Policey was not only a repressive control instrument, but also a pragmatic device for finding flexible answers to contemporary problems These processes include power arrangements and the exercise of power as well as exchange processes between the prison administration and the prison guards on the one side and the inmates on the other.
These exchange processes do not occur between members of the prison administration and the inmates alone but also, as Bretschneider observes, between the inmates themselves. These reconstructions were all the more urgently needed, given that German prison history shared the late start that is characteristic of German crime and criminal justice history. The studies which have appeared recently cover a wide range of topics, such as the history of single prisons, the history of attempts to reform the prison and to improve the situation of the inmates Particularly problematic is a chronology which establishes the decades around as the period which experienced the gradual replacement of dehumanizing corporal punishments, including the philosophies and the strategies behind these punishments, with the rise of confinement.
Some of the studies stress that confinement was a common practice long before and that the practice and the philosophy of corporal punishment lasted far into the twentieth century. But German police history is not restricted to this specific topic A recent bibliography of book publications monographs and edited volumes comes close to two hundred titles, and this excludes the massive number of published studies on East German state security.
In addition to the quantity, a number of qualitative aspects characterize this branch of crime and criminal justice history. Similar to approaches in other areas, police history has moved away from its early focus on top-down perspectives to address the functioning of the police. The emphasis here is on police interaction with the public, even on what might be termed as the dependence of the police on the public so as to establish what the police themselves considered to be efficient policing.
This aspect has been stressed in a number of studies on the relations between the Gestapo and the German population during the Nazi period. Research on policing in the communist German Democratic Republic has also pointed to cooperative interaction between the police and the public. Another qualitative aspect is the involvement of members of the police institution in police history. Up until police history written by police existed largely as a kind of apologetic self defense, especially with reference to the role of the police during the Nazi period. Since the s, however, a number of German police administrations have engaged in projects that have included the involvement of university-trained historians.
These examinations have now been extended to the most important federal police administration in Germany, the Bundeskriminalamt. The latter has launched a project to explore its history from the s to the s. The focus is on the legacies of the Nazi period, and on what the continuities of personnel, crime control and prevention strategies meant for the work of the Bundeskriminalamt during these decades There is one remarkable study by Siemann that explored the beginnings of political policing during the first half of the nineteenth century Siemann scrutinized the archival material of the various German states and of the German Federation from until the founding of the Second Reich in He painstakingly reconstructed the phases and forms of the making of a modern political police in the German states.
In his view, this small circle of men became an extralegal institution. The dynamics of their task only too easily placed their discretionary police powers beyond any limits. Interestingly enough, the Prussian authorities explicitly named this network of police officials as their model when they set out to crush the Social Democratic Party and to found a new a political police in The understanding of the police in this work was considerably influenced by an understanding of the Kaiserreich as a fragile coalition between traditional elites the military, the landed nobility, the state bureaucracy and sectors of the new bourgeois elites, mainly the industrial entrepreneurs.
In this book about the shaping of the state monopoly of power in Prussia between and , Funk seeks to relate the organizational development of the police, including its everyday practices, to the structures of the contemporary Prussian political system. Funk describes police development in Prussia as a correlate of the increasing economic, social, and political cleavages within the Kaiserreich. The ruling old, and the new Prussian elites sought to cope with the threats to the economic and social order, perceived as deriving from the working class, by a number of policies and strategies, among them the quantitative and qualitative increase of the state police.
Funk describes this development which included also efforts to increase the professionalization and the specialization of the police and attempts to strengthen police efficiency by gradually abolishing its welfare functions as occurring alongside the gradual transformation of local police forces into state police units.
Funk was among the first to trace the details of this bureaucratization and to reveal that it was not only a function of the institutional and organizational growth of the Prussian police in this period, but it was also a strategy to restrict police authority, in principle unlimited, by submitting it to bureaucratic rules of performance.
This region attracted large numbers of transient, unskilled young male workers recruited from eastern parts of Germany to work in the coal mines. On the basis of extremely good local archive material, Jessen describes the attempts to modernize and professionalize municipal police forces. He understands this modernization as a strategy to adapt the police to the growing control requirements created by urbanization patterns in the Ruhrgebiet.
These patterns resulted in overpolicing, which was abolished only gradually. These Leitmotive pertain to the structural constraints which impeded the democratic development of the Republic leading to its failure and the Nazi seizure of power. The institutional and organizational developments of the Prussian police in the early years of the Republic were researched relatively early on, with the focus on the growth of the Prussian police in the turbulent years from to One of the key elements of police development in the Weimar period was the creation of a paramilitary anti-riot unit, the Sicherheitspolizei or SIPO.
The analysis of political attitudes and orientations implicitly includes the question of whether the police was one of the structural constraints on democratic development in Weimar.
But the main focus of his book is on the way that the Kriminalpolizei radicalized its strategies and practices after the Nazi seizure of power up to the point where the fight against criminality meant the extermination of criminals Welfare policies and practices intended, for example, as aids for families, relied on rigid control of the behavior of those households that had become clients of the welfare agencies. During the s, for example, the newly established female police acted as an institution not only to help endangered juveniles but also as agents for their surveillance and correction Alternatively they stressed the constraints of socioeconomic and political structures.
People and institutions below the heights of command within the polity and society passed for victims of both manipulation and terror. This view also offered a convenient way to explore the police and the criminal justice system. If German society in general, and numerous bodies and institutions in particular, had been forced to obey orders from above, then the police were no exception. It was the Nazis who had imposed special laws and orders which nobody dared to resist. Accordingly, questions about the behavior of ordinary police officers were ignored.
And as a follow on: Which modes of perception and which everyday practices made it possible that the overwhelming majority of police officials and state prosecutors, of judges and lawyers, not only stayed on but actively contributed to the execution of Nazi policies? In fact the police and the judiciary seem to have perceived the changes as the fulfillment of the goals that they had long sought.
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For decades, the preventive detection and exclusion of presumed aliens had been a central feature of policing. To the police, public order in the locality blended seamlessly with the security of the Reich at large. Some parts of the criminal police and, most actively, the Gestapo,claimed and acquired unchecked powers with reference to the detention of suspects The normality of the daily repression of others weakened those scruples that might otherwise have hindered police participation in the Holocaust.
To put it bluntly, the police actively and continuously contributed to sustaining Fascist domination. The Gestapo figures most prominently in the accounts of Nazi domination in general and Nazi terror in particular.
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The Gestapo developed in an arena of its own; it was created and safeguarded against competing agencies of both the state and the Nazi party. It was a bureaucratic apparatus dwelling at a distance from state and centralized power. During the first weeks of Nazi domination, in the process of their coordination Gleichschaltung , the Gestapo homogenized the political police of the German states. The Gestapo law of confirmed the structure that had been established in Among the public, the Gestapo rapidly acquired the notoriety of being omnipresent.
Such, at least, was the traditional picture. However, recent research has questioned this image. A study by Reinhard Mann first raised doubts Second, the evidence also indicated that denunciations reached a peak from to , parallel to the Blitzkrieg and military success. Gellately also traces the surprising and enormous drop-back involving the surveillance and control of Poles during the war.
The authors originally expected to show popular resistance to Nazism or, at least, a range of noncompliance. The authors show, for instance, that less than 50 percent of the rank-and-file Gestapo officials were members of the Nazi party or Nazi organizations. Mallmann and Paul also point to the inability of the local post to keep track of the flood of orders issued from the Gestapo head office in Berlin, the Gestapa Geheimes Staatspolizeiamt. Indeed, during the war there appears to have been a degree of deprofessionalization as many experienced officials were transferred to the SD Sicherheitsdienst , the Secret Military Police.
This account of the deficiencies and inefficiencies of a local post underlines the crucial role of support and cooperation among the broad majority of German citizens. Here again those top-down perspectives, which had already been scrutinized in other fields of German crime and criminal justice history, were questioned. But increasingly, this social history of terror has been critically examined with stress, once again, on the terror exercised by the Gestapo But the allied forces not only wanted control; they wanted also completely to reconstruct the German police.
Although in practice each of the allies proceeded differently in its zone, certain general principles were agreed on, such as the abolition of the Gestapo, the dismissal of Nazis among police personnel, and the complete reversal of the centralizing policy pursued by the Nazis with reference to the police. In the British zone this reversal led, more or less, to a complete abolition of the traditional German police system. The military government and the German authorities alike aimed at implementing what was perceived as the English model.
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They replaced state police by local and communal police forces. The abolition of all communal and local police forces and, during the early years of the Federal Republic, the reintroduction and remilitarization of riot police units which were shaped, according to the riot police model established by the Prussian government of the Weimar Republic, were seen as indicators of the continuities. More recent research describes how changes in the overall functioning of the police, which had been introduced by the British and American Military Administrations, were maintained alongside questionable continuities, most notably in regard to the personnel of the police Research and publications on the Stasi 56 vastly outnumber those on the ordinary Volkspolizei of the GDR The history of early modem crime and criminal justice, and the later development of police in particular, have stimulated increasing interest among German scholars.
Other lacunae shrink as, for example, in the case of prison history. A late start sometimes has substantial advantages. Large sections of German crime and criminal justice hisotry now operate on an understanding that claims about control, conflicts, justice and so forth, are part of cultural and social processes. Ammerer, G. Baumann, I. Becker, P. Eine Geschichte der Kriminologiedes Bendlage, A.
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Berding, H, Klippel, D. Deutschland im Berschel, H. Blasius, D. Zur Konfliktgeschichte des Alltagslebens im Blauert, A. Boldt, E. Bretschneider, F. Eine Geschichte der Einsperrung in Sachsen im Briesen, D. Browning, Ch. Gewalt und Emotionen im Buder, J. Buhlan, H. Bundeskriminalamt ed. Curilla, W. Dancker, U. Dams, C. Beck, Dinges M. Dobler, J. Evans, R. Fangemann, H.
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