The Sicherheitspolizei, or security police, was a paramilitary German
police group set up in most countries of the
Weimar Republic at the
end of 1919 and largely financed by the central government. In its
anti-riot role it can be seen as roughly analogous to the
Bereitschaftspolizei in today's Federal Republic.
In view of the unstable internal political situation in the Weimar
Republic, especially in the imperial capital of Berlin, Hauptmann
Waldemar Pabst of the Imperial Cavalry Guards Corps considered a
barracked and militarily armed and trained police group necessary to
control political violence. It was intended to be a more useful tool
in the fight against insurrection than the existing police forces
taken from the monarchy. After street extensive general strikes and
street violence in March 1919, Pabst sent a corresponding concept to
Gustav Noske during the German Revolution of
1918–19. Noske approved the plan and promoted its formation together
with Wolfgang Heine. According to Noske's wishes, the police group
thus constituted the nucleus of the new Reichswehr. In September
1919, 2,500 local and municipal police officers protested against the
construction of the new national police service. In contrast to
local police, who usually wore blue uniforms, the Sipo were called the
"green police" after their uniform color.
1 Conversion and Reorganization
2 Strength, training, and equipment
3 Evolution after 1933
Conversion and Reorganization
In response to protest from the French government in 1920, the
national level security police units were dissolved were either sent
to perform local policing. France feared a clandestine rearmament and
saw the new para-military police force as a threat to its security.
The planned airborne component of some security police had to be
abandoned and their use of artillery and tanks were prohibited. France
demanded the abolition of the green uniform, which they viewed as
camouflage clothing. A blue uniform was introduced in most regions.
Only Bavaria, Wurttemberg, Mecklenburg, and Bremen retained uniform
components of a dark green color. The pants were mostly black or
black-blue. Particularly striking was the Saxon version with a fairly
light medium blue color. However, it took some years before the
uniforming was completed, since the uniforms already purchased had to
be used up before new ones could be requisitioned. Steel helmets were
generally abolished and were not reissued until around 1930. The terms
"Sipo" and "green police" continued in popular usage until the Nazi
reorganization and disbandment of local police forces in 1935.
Strength, training, and equipment
Police cadets at an Academy in
Brandenburg an der Havel
Brandenburg an der Havel practice
The training of the security police was tailored to a para-militarily
force. The standard service period, analogous to the Reichswehr, was
12 years. The transfer to the local police or gendarmerie was by no
means guaranteed, although in general a takeover was planned for the
administrative service. With the global economic crisis of 1929, this
could no longer be realized, as all countries had to save on personnel
Equipment and armament was entirely designed for combat against
heavily armed insurgents. Depending on the size of the member state,
the security police had a number of so-called special cars, mostly
British Daimler DZVR 21s or German Ehrhardt 21s, which were usually
equipped with two turrets with one machine gun each. Machine guns,
carbines, and grenades were also issued. The entire training,
equipment and armament aimed at a civil war-like use both in large
cities and in the countryside.
The security police were deployed extensively, combating the KPD's
organized strikes and riots, including the
Ruhr Uprising in the
aftermath of the
Kapp-Putsch in April 1920, the Mitteldeutscher
Aufstand ("March Action") in March and April 1921, and the Hamburger
Aufstand in October 1923, which were initiated in part by the KPD.
From 1929 up to the ascension of the Nazi Party to power, the police
were almost continuously engaged in operations protecting or
dispersing demonstrations and political events.
Evolution after 1933
The Nazi concept of the role of the police originally called for only
a very small force. Like the Communists, the National Socialists saw a
kind of praetorian guardianship of the mainstream democratic parties,
especially the SPD in Prussia, which continuously constituted the
government there from 1919 to 1932. Moreover, on 9 November 1923, the
Hitler's putsch was defeated in Munich by the intervention of the
Bavarian state police . As early as 1933, the transformation of the
remaining local police into the national state police had begun. From
August 1934 until the end of 1935 these were dissolved and its members
transferred to the Wehrmacht.
Riot police fighting strikers during the
March Action of 1921, in
KPD demonstration in Berlin, 1926.
An Ehrhardt 21 armored car of the police forces.
Providing a security cordon at the
Reichstag building in 1930.
^ Geitinger 2009, pp. 167-169.
^ Geitinger 2009, p. 168.
^ Geitinger 2009, p. 169.
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