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Sippenhaft, Terror and Fear in Nazi Germany: Examining One Facet of Terror in the Aftermath of the Plot of 20 July 1944

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2007

Department of History, Sydney Grammar School, College Street, Darlinghurst, 2010, NSW, Australia;


The methods used by the Nazis to control elements of German society have been the focus of intense historical debate. This paper attempts to analyse the implementation of Sippenhaft (family liability punishment) after the 20 July 1944 assassination plot against Hitler. Sippenhaft was advocated for use against the families of the conspirators involved in this plot and also against members of the armed services. Consequently, its implementation became the personal domain of the Reich leader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, as well as local army commanders, army courts and the Nazi party itself. This article will argue that the inadequacies of its imposition were largely compensated for by its effectiveness as a device of fear.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2007

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