Terror and Repression and the Transformation of Sociocultural Life in Nazi Germany

Between 1933 and 1939, the Nazi use of terror and repression largely affected the transformation of German social and cultural life. This was done through the openly publicised activities of the SS, Gestapo and concentration camps, resulting in social paranoia and the destruction of the cultural boom that characterised Weimar Germany. However, it can also be argued that in some ways it bolstered the nationalism, pride and unity which reflect the success of the Nazi regime. This regime succeeded in all this due to its effectiveness in stamping out individuality through the adherence to Hitler’s Nazi Gleichschaltung, the process of establishing totalitarian control.
Police State results in social paranoia  conformity
One way that terror and repression affected social and cultural life in Nazi Germany was through the social fear stemming from the use of terror and repression on citizens by the Nazi fuelled Gestapo, headed by Heinrich Himmler from 1934 onwards.   The Gestapo were given ultimate power by the Gestapo Law of 1936, which permitted the unrestricted use of arrests, interrogations and executions outside of legal procedure. Historian Adrienne Wilmoth states that this made way for the removal of opposition, solidifying control for the Nazis. The Gestapo also aided the arrest of various peoples who did not fit the tough criteria of Hitler’s regime and were placed in concentration camps. This was another form of spreading fear and terror. Raymond Geist explains that the fear of such camps was a very effective brake on any possible opposition, meaning that socially, the fear of getting arrested and being placed into one of these camps became prevalent. Germans faced by this would in turn forfeit their personal values causing the loss of individuality and attributing to the change of social life into one of forced conformity. This is exemplified by the testimony of Richard Evans, who describes the climate of fear which was present throughout the...