Germany was once a totalitarian state, displaying the dominant characteristic of the Nazi regime by using terror and violence against its own community. In order to maintain control and suppress any opposing resistance, Hitler set up a security system which would ensure the security of his position and enforce Nazi ideas and policies in the German people. The two organisations established to be responsible for this task were the SS and the Gestapo.
The Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei) or Secret State Police, was set up by Hermann Goering in 1933. It was connected to the SS, which was a military corps set up in 1925 and came under the management of Himmler's superior; Reynhard Heydrich, one of the most merciless and feared of all Nazis. The main purpose of the Gestapo was to control. "Any attempt to gain recognition for, or even uphold, different ideas will be ruthlessly dealt with as the symptom of an illness which threatens the healthy unity of the state. To discover the enemies of the state, watch them and render them harmless at the right moment it is the duty of the political police. In order to fulfil this duty, the political police must be free to use every means suited to achieve the desired end". This quote outlines the main political purpose of the Gestapo, stating their right and duty to the nation to used violence or "every means suited", to protect the Nazi regime and punish the "enemies" or persons promoting individuality.
Due to the relatively small organisation and fear of questioning Hitler's authority, many German never came to face to face with a member of the Gestapo or SS. Those who were brave enough to oppose the system, were liable to arrest and questioning under torture, which often took place late at night so that the German community was kept unaware of the despicable and horrendous conduct of the Nazi regime. Alongside this form of punishment, all those deemed enemies of Hitler were subjected to internment in concentration camps or even execution.