A new code of law: Selective policing and "radio criminals" in the Rhineland 1939-1944

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Stackhouse, J. Ryan

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University of Guelph


On September 7th 1939 the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich issued the Decree on Extraordinary Radio Measures. The ordinance explained that radio was an "ideological weapon in modern warfare" and expressly forbade listening to foreign broadcasts. The infamous Gestapo was charged with enforcement and granted exclusive jurisdiction over the investigation and eventual decision whether or not to prosecute. Instead of uniform repression, Nazi ideology shaped a selective policing of the Radio Measures. The goal was to remove "poisonous influences" while preserving the 'Volksgemeinschaft ', a classless society of Aryan "racial comrades." Part of Heinrich Himmler's "new code of law," the basis of enforcement in the Rhineland was grounded in the spirit of the offender rather than their actions. The Gestapo used the law against "objective enemies" outside the 'Volksgemeinschaft ', but it thoroughly scrutinizing members to excise vocal critics and suppress otherwise supportive citizens.



Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich, Decree on Extraordinary Radio Measures, radio, foreign broadcasts, selective policing, enforcement, Rhineland