The word 'Gestapo' has become synonymous with the terrible brutality and terror of the Nazi regime in World War II. The Gestapo came into existence in 1933 as Department 1A of the Prussian State Police. Under the SS, the Gestapo grew in power, and was given the job of investigating and combatting 'all tendencies dangerous to the state'. Schutzhaft (protective custody) gave the Gestapo the power to imprison without judicial proceedings, often in concentration camps. It was also responsible for destroying opposition to Hitler. By early 1942, as the Nazi regime became increasingly unpopular in Germany, a number of protests took place. The Gestapo's response was brutal. Thousands were arrested and executed, and all dissent was crushed.
The History of the Gestapo provides an authoritative overview of this sinister instrument of repression. Never before had an organisation attained such complexity, been vested with such power, or reached such a pitch of 'perfection' in efficiency and horror.