Paramilitary organizations in Germany from 1871-1945
Travis, Casey Jude
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This thesis analyzes the rise of paramilitary organizations in Germany from the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, through World War I, into the Weimar Republic, and finally in the Third Reich. The crisis of domestic politics as well as the Treaty of Versailles played an important role in this expansion. These factors limited Germany's military force and opened the door for military desperados to control the security of the nation. Paramilitary organizations grew throughout the interwar period, eventually growing into major political forces, most notably the Sturmabteilung (SA) of the Nazi Party. As the Nazi Party gained power, the SA, and later the Schutzstaffel (SS), occupied an important role within the totalitarian state. As the violent arm of the party, the SA and SS carried out the will of Adolf Hitler, whether running concentration camps or entering combat in World War II. By the end of World War II, paramilitary organizations proved to play an important role in Germany's history, especially for the rise of Hitler and the atrocities of the war. The purpose of this thesis is to show the effects that mass politics, military professionalism gone wrong and war termination can have on a nation and how this can spiral out of control as it did in the case of Germany.
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