Goering on the formation of the Gestapo (1934)

In 1934, Nazi deputy leader Hermann Goering provided his own account of the formation of the Gestapo secret police agency the previous year:

“For weeks I personally undertook the work of reorganisation and finally, it was my personal decision to create the Secret State Police Office. This instrument, so much feared by our enemies, is the principal reason why in Germany and Prussia there is today no Marxist or Communist menace. Ignoring seniority, I put the most able men into the Secret State Police Office and put it under one of the most able young officials. Daily I am again and again convinced that I chose the right men. The job that the Office Chief, Rudolf Diels and his men did will always remain one of the principal achievements of the first year of German recovery.

The SA and SS actively supported my efforts. Without their help, I would never have been able to master our enemies so quickly. Since then I have once again reorganised the secret police and put them under my direct command. By means of a network of offices around Germany, with Berlin as the headquarters, I am kept informed daily, even hourly, of everything that happens in the diverse regions of Prussia. The last hideout of the Communists is known to us, and no matter how often they change their tactics, or rename their couriers, within a few days they are again tracked down, registered, monitored, and broken up.

We have had to proceed against the enemies of the state with total ruthlessness. It must not be forgotten that when we took over the government over 6 million people still supported the Communists… The greater part were good Germans led astray by this insane worldview, but also by the spinelessness and weakness of the middle-class parties. All the greater was the need to rescue these people from error and to lead them back into the national community. But it was just as necessary to proceed mercilessly against the deceivers, the agitators, and the leaders themselves. Thus concentration camps were established, in which we had first to intern thousands of officials of the Communist and Social Democratic Parties.

It was only natural that certain excesses occurred in the beginning. Of course here and there, innocents were also affected. Of course here and there, a few beatings took place and brutal acts were committed. But measured against everything that preceded it, and against the greatness of the occasion, this German revolution for freedom was the most bloodless and most disciplined revolution in history.”