Third Reich Acronyms, Etc. Info

NSDAP- National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsocialistische deutsche Arbeiter Partei)- The Nazi Party.

SS-Schutzstaffel (Protective Squads)- Originally the personal guard of Adolf Hitler which was transformed by Himmler into a state within a state, an army within an army. See the SS Page.

HJ-Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth)- A youth organization of the NSDAP that forcibly amalgamated all youth groups in the Third Reich. Under the leadership of Baldur von Schirach, the HJ encompassed: the Deutsches Junkvolk (German Young Folk), who were the ten- to fourteen-year-olds; the Jungmädelbund (League of Young Girls), girls aged 10 to 14; Bund deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls) and the HJ of 15 to 18 year-olds.

DAF- Deutsche Arbeitfront (German Labor Front)- Labor organization, sponsored by the National Socialists, that replaced the various labor unions of the Weimar Republic. Headed by Robert Ley, the DAF encompassed all of German labor, reaching a membership of more than twenty million. Its function was to bring about a lasting harmony between contending socioeconomic interest groups and to protect the rights of labor. It provided financial assistance to workers, set wages, and used its funds to improve the lives of German workers. Operating with a large budget, the DAF also developed various branches such as the Strength through Joy (Kraft durch Freude) movement, which provided holidaysto workers at inexpensive rates, and the Beauty of Labor (Schönheit der Arbeit) office, which tried to improve working conditions in plants and factories.

OT-Organization Todt- The primary building (construction, architecture, etc.)arm of the Third Reich.

NSKK-Nationalsocialistisches Kraftfahrkorps- The transportation arm of the Nazi Party.

 NSFK-Nationalsocialistisches Fliegerkorps- The group that dealt with aviation matters for the Third Reich.

 Afrika Korps-The various military formations sent by Hitler to aid the Italians in N. Africa. Under the command of General Rommel since Feb. 1941, the Afrika Korps fought valiant battles against the British and later against combined Anglo-America forces, but was decisively beaten by the spring of 1943.

Aktion Reinhard-Code name for the annihilation of Jews in the Polish territory administered by the Nazis. The operation was named in "honor" of SD chief Reinhard Heydrich, who was assassinated in prague on May 27, 1942.

Aktion T4-Code name for the actions taken in the euthanasia program that led to the killing of one hundred thousand "lives not worth living" (mentally retarted men, women, and children). It was named after the relevant government department of the Reich chancellery located on Tiergarten Strasse 4 in Berlin.

Anschluss- The annexation of Austria by the Nazis in February 1938 and its incorporation as a province (Ostmark) into the German Reich.

Barbarossa- Code name for the German attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.

BDM-Bund deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls). A subdivision of the Hitler Youth. The Hitler Youth had a male and female division. The latter was subdivided into the League of Young Girls (10-14) and the League of German Girls (15-18). {See HJ}

Berghof- Adolf Hitler's Bavarian home at the Obersalzburg, NE of Berchtesgarten.

Blut and Boden- (Blood and Soil)- A term used to describe the fundamental Nazi belief that a healthy nation presupposes a people of common blood living on its own soil. The overuse of the term by Nazi ideologues prompted many Germans to refer to such blood and soil propaganda as "Blubo."

Dachau- The site of the first National Socialtist concentration camp located about 10 miles NW of Munich. Opened in March 1933, it housed a variety of prisoners- Socialists, Communists, Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals- who were held in "protective custody." The camp expanded steadily and became one of the most notorious camps in Germany. During WWII the number of inmates grew to about seventeen thousand, some of them being used for cruel medical experiments.

Einsatzgruppen- Special battalion-sized mobile units of security police and SD officials that conducted police and terroristic actions behind and alongside the regular German army. During the Russian campaign four Einsatzgruppen were attached to Army Group North, Center, South, and the Eleventh Army. Their functions were to round up Communist functionaries, "Asiatic inferiors," and Jews and herd them into concentration camps or conduct brutal liquidations on the spot. It is estimated that these killer troops murdered close to one million people, mostly Jews, in mass executions and later helped to kill five million additional victims in annihilation camps.

Endlösung- (final solution)- Euphemistic code word for the "final solution of the Jewish Question," or the program involving the annihilation of six million Jews.

Führer-(leader)- Term chosen by the Nazi Party and later by all German authorities to describe their supreme leader, Adolf Hitler.

Führerprinzip- (leadership principle)-Antidemocratic belief that efficiency in government or businesses can only be achieved when leaders (führers) are fully empowered to do what they are assigned to do by their immediate supervisors. Only the highest führer is responsible to the people through plebiscitarian measures, but otherwise delegates strong führer power (Führergewalt) to his subordinates who, in turn, delegate it to their subordinates.

Gauleiter-(party district leader[s])- The highest ranking Nazi official below the Reichsleiter. Directly responsible to Hitler, the Gauleiter were in charge of all economic and political activities in their districts (Gaue). During the war, they were also responsible for civil defense. Many Gauleiter also served as Reichsstatthalter, or provincial governors, thus fusing state and party offices.

Gestapo-(Geheime Staatspolizei)- The terrorist police force developed out of the Prussian police department called "security police" (Sipo); it was greatly expanded under Göring's tutelage by his assistant Rudolf Diels. When Himmler coordinated all the police forces of Germany under his control in 1933-34, he also took charge of the Gestapo and transformed it into one of the most dreaded organizations of intimidation and terror. Putting Heydrich in charge, Himmler managed to detach the Gestapo from any effective control by constituted legal authorities. The primary mission of the Gestapo was to identify enemies of the state, put them into "protective custody" (Schutzhaft), use any methods deemed necessary to extract information, and consign such enemies to prison or concentration camps.

Kristallnacht- (Night of Crystals)- Refers to the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938, when the Nazis instigated widespread attacks on Jewish synagogues, businesses, and homes throughout Germany, on the pretext of this being retaliation for the assassination of Ernst vom Rath, secretary to the German legation in Paris, by a Jewish protestor, Herschel Grynszpan, whose parents along with mant former Polish Jews in Germany were being forcibly evicted.

KZ-German abbreviation for Konzentrazionslager or concentration camps.

Lebensborn-(Life Springs)- An SS organization, founded in 1935, that provided safe homes for women, married or unmarried, who had children by SS men. Located in out of the way places, these homes also functioned as stud farms where suitable German women could mate with equally suitable SS "assistants of conception." By 1944 almost eleven thousand children were born in thirteen Life Springs homes. In addition, these homes served as conduits for Himmler's criminal program of kidnapping Aryan-type children in the eastern territories and finding adoptive parents for them in Germany.

Napolas-(National Political Institutes of Education)-Elite party schools designed to train future government leaders.

NSBO-(National Socialist Factory Cell Organization)- A protounion wing of the NSDAP whose aim was to wage propaganda in business and industrial plants in order to win the workers over to National Socialism.

Obersalzburg- A one-thousand-meter mountain NE of Berchtesgarden on hich Hitler constructed his private villa, the Berghof.

OKH-(Oberkommando des Heeres)-High Command of the Army.

OKL-(Oberkommando der Luftwaffe)-High Command of the Air Force.

OKM-(Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine)-High Command of the Navy.

Orpo-(Ordnungspolizei) Order Police- Police branch that had been separated by Himmler from the Gestapo and the criminal police. Led by Kurt Dalugue, the order police forces handled routine business such as traffic, patrols, and other police matters in both city and rural areas. Some of the "order police" units, however, were involved in mass atrocities in Poland and Russia, functioning like Einsatzgruppen.

RAD-Reichsarbeitdienst (State Labor Service)- The Third Reich's equivalent to the Civilian Conservation Corps in the U.S. The two groups were founded around the same time for similar reasons-widespread unemployment throughout the country, economic depression, etc. RAD did the same things CCC did, like working on roads, bridges, and such. When RAD was first founded in 1931, it was called Freiwilliger Arbeitsdienst (FAD), and taking part was optional.Wneh the Nazis first came to power, the name was changed to National Socialist Labor Service, and finally in 1934 it was altered to the final RAD, and participation was mandatory for certain age groups, who served for a set time period.

Reichsleiter-(Reich Leader)- The highest functionary in the Nazi Party, who exercised sweeping powers in his particular field. Appointed by Hitler, the Reichsleiter formed the highest level of the party, collectively called the Reichsleitung.

Reichstatthalter-(Reich Governor)- Agent or commissioner of the Reich government who was responsible for supervising a state government. These officials were empowered to appoint and dismiss state officials and to monitor whether individual state governments were in compliance with the Reich government. Most Reich governors were also Gauleiter and thus directly responsible to Hitler.

RSHA-(Reichssicherheitshauptampt) Reich Main Security Office-The super security agency of the SS created on Sept. 27, 1939, and headed by Reinhard Heydrich.

RuSHA-(Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt) Main Office of Race and Settlement of the SS.

SA-Sturmabteilung (Storm Detachment)- Hitler's private army of brownshirted storm troopers who safeguarded Nazi meeting halls, served as bodyguards to party leaders, fought street battles with members of the opposition, and acted as political foot soldiers distributing leaflets, begging for donations, and pounding the pavement for votes in support of the führer.

SD-(Sicherheitsdienst) Security Service- The intelligence service of the SS headed by Reinhard Heydrich. Its function was to discover the enemies of National Socialism and ideally arrest them before they had done anything wrong. Mushrooming into a grotesque bureaucracy of professionals, informants, and sadists, this terroristic police and "thought control" agency became not only an instrument of totalitarian control but also one of the chief executive organs of the annihilation of Jews, Gypsies, Communists, and "Asiatic inferiors."

Sipo-(Sicherheitspolizei) Security Police- The security police force consisting of the Gestapo, the criminal police, and border police. Heydrich fused the Sipo with the SD when he became head of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA).

Völkisch-(National- or ethnic-mindedness)- The term denotes a sense of Germanic ethnocentrism, cultivated by hosts of nationalistic movements before and after WWI. The Nazis represented the extreme expression of such tribal feelings and beliefs.

Völkischer Beobachter-(Ethnic/racial observer)-The official newspaper of the NSDAP, published with only a short interruption (1924) from 1919 to 1945 and edited throughout much of this period by Alfred Rosenberg.

Waffen-SS-(Armed SS)-Term used to describe the fighting arm of the SS. These were well-trained soldiers who fought on the front line of the most dangerous and vital battles of the war.

Wannsee Conference-(January 20, 1942)- A top-secret government conference, chaired by Heydrich and attended by major representatives involved in Jewish affairs (Eichmann, Stuckart, Luther, Freisler). It was during this conference that the technical means of bringing about the "final solution" to the Jewish question were discussed. The participants all agreed that the Jews represented a deadly biological health hazard and therefore had to be exterminated. The overall plan was to conduct a thorough sweep of Jews in the whole of Europe and transport them to the five major annihilation camps at Auschwitz, Belzec, Treblinka, Sobibor, and Majdanek. The Wannsee Conference was not the initiation of the final solution- that had already begun with mass shootings two years before- but a cooperative effort by which major state organizations agreed on common procedures of implementing the annihilation of European Jews.

Wehrmacht-(Armed Forces)- Term first used in 1935 to refer collectively to the branches of the German military- army, navy, and air force.

most of these definitions are from the book Nazi Germany by Klaus P. Fischer.
Publisher- New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1995.

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