Sicherheitsdienst

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Sicherheitsdienst (English: Security Service), or SD, was primarily the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. The organization was the first Nazi Party intelligence organization to be established and was often considered a "sister organization" with the Gestapo, which the SS had infiltrated heavily after 1934. Between 1933 and 1939, the SD was administered as an independent SS office, after which it was transferred to the authority of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt, or RSHA), as one of its seven departments/offices.[2]

Contents

History

The SD was one of the oldest security organizations of the SS and was first formed in 1931 as the Ic-Dienst, operating out of a single apartment and reporting directly to Heinrich Himmler. Himmler appointed a former naval officer, Reinhard Heydrich, to organise the small agency. The office was renamed Sicherheitsdienst (SD) in June 1932. The SD became more powerful after the Nazis took control of Germany and the SS started infiltrating all leading positions of the security apparatus of the Reich. It was in some competition with the Sturmabteilung (SA), but the SD was made the sole "Party information service" on 9 June 1934.[3] In 1938 it was made the intelligence organization for the State as well as for the Party, supporting the Gestapo and working with the General and Interior Administration. As such, the SD came into immediate, fierce competition with German military intelligence arm, the Abwehr, headed by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris.

The SD was tasked with the detection of actual or potential enemies of the Nazi leadership and the neutralization of this opposition. To fulfill this task, the SD created an organization of agents and informants throughout the Reich and later throughout the occupied territories. The organization consisted of a few hundred full-time agents and several thousand informants. The SD was mainly the information-gathering agency, and the Gestapo, and to a degree the Kriminalpolizei, was the executive agency of the political police system. Both the SD and the Gestapo were departments under Heydrich's control who answered to Himmler as both Chief of the German Police and Reichsfuhrer-SS, but the Kripo kept a level of independence as its structure was longer-established.

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