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Germany – Nazi Germany, 1933-45

5. Coercion and Terror

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think the use of coercion and terror in the Nazi regime, with a particular focus on the Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, and the concentration camp system that operated between 1933-45. As we move through the module, we consider: (i) the Nazi party's use of violence from their foundation in 1919; (ii) the key figures in the establishment and operation of the Nazi security services: Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and chief of police, and Heinrich Müller, head of the secret police, the Gestapo; (iii) the belief among the German population that the Gestapo was all-seeing and all-powerful; (iv) the reality of the Gestapo's (limited) reach; (v) the importance of informers in terms of the Gestapo's ability to maintain comprehensive surveillance, and (more importantly, perhaps?) in creating a climate of suspicion and fear; (vi) the reasons why people denounced their friends, acquaintances, neighbours, work colleagues, etc. to the Gestapo; (vii) the origins of the concentration camp network in 1933, and the importance of one of these early camps, Dachau, in providing a model for later camps in terms of prisoner categorisation and expected behaviour, and what the camp physically looked like (barbed wire, guard towers, etc.); (viii) the evolution of the concentration camp system from a temporary measure designed to neutralise political prisoners to a permanent network designed to 'deal with' a much wider range of 'undesirables'; (ix) the extent to which conditions in the concentration camps deteriorated with the outbreak of war; and (x) the creation of six death camps, whose sole purpose was to eliminate whole categories of the European population, particularly Jews.


In this course, Dr Lisa Pine (London South Bank University) explores several aspects of Nazi Germany. In the first module, we think about the rise of Nazism from the foundation of the DAP (later the NSDAP) in 1919 to Hitler's appointment as Chancellor in 1933. After that, we think about the impact of the Great Depression specifically on the rise of the Nazi Party, before turning in the third module to the question of what kind of people voted (and did not vote) for the Nazis. In the fourth module, we think about the importance of the propaganda and the 'Hitler myth' to the stability of the Nazi regime, before turning in the fifth module to consider the role of coercion and terror, focusing in particular on the role of Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, and the extensive concentration camp network that lasted between 1933-44. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about the experience of women in Nazi Germany.


Dr Lisa Pine is an Associate Professor in History. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics, where she obtained her first degree in Government and History and her MSc in International History with Distinction. She received her doctorate from the University of London in 1996.

She has taught extensively in modern and contemporary history and politics. She is a leading international expert on issues relating to the history of Nazi Germany. Dr Pine has written on a diverse range of topics including the family, women and education in the Third Reich and aspects of Holocaust history and memory. She has contributed to local, national and international media, as well as numerous international conferences and symposia.

Her research expertise is centred upon the history of Nazi Germany, 1933-1945. She is a social historian of the Third Reich, with a strong interest in the mechanisms of this dictatorial regime and its impact upon German society.

She is a widely published international expert in this field. Her main publications include: Life and Times in Nazi Germany (2016); Education in Nazi Germany (2010); Hitler's "National Community": Society and Culture in Nazi Germany (2007 and 2017); and Nazi Family Policy, 1933-1945 (1997).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Pine, L. (2021, February 24). Germany – Nazi Germany, 1933-45 - Coercion and Terror [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Pine, L. "Germany – Nazi Germany, 1933-45 – Coercion and Terror." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Feb 2021,