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Variations on Policing / Variations sur la police

Policing Right-Wing Dictatorships: Some preliminary comparisons of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Franco’s Spain

Jonathan Dunnage
p. 93-122

Résumés

Cet article présente les résultats d’une première analyse comparative de la police dans l’Italie fasciste, l’Allemagne nazie et l’Espagne franquiste. À partir de l’examen du rôle de la police dans l’ascension des trois mouvements politiques, des structures policières établies subséquemment par ces régimes et des caractéristiques du personnel policier qu’ils employaient, ainsi que du degré de terreur auquel ils avaient recours, l’article montre le caractère contrasté des systèmes policiers étudiés, tout en s’efforçant d’identifier des cons­tantes de développement qui permettent de définir un modèle de l’émergence des systèmes répressifs dans des dictatures d’extrême-droite.

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  • 2 I am grateful to Clive Emsley for reading an earlier draft of this article and for his suggestions (...)
  • 3 In this essay terms such as ‘Fascist’, ‘Fascistization’, etc. (upper case) are used for the Italian (...)

1Over the last two decades, there has been a growing historiographical interest in the policing of right-wing dictatorships. This has mainly focused on Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied territories. There has also been an attempt to undertake a more thorough investigation of the Italian Fascist police. While historians have examined in some detail Francoist repression within the general context of the history of the Spanish civil war and the ensuing dictatorship, most research has not focused more specifically on the role of the police forces. This essay analyses and compares the policing of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Franco’s Spain2. It both illustrates the contrasting features of the police systems concerned and attempts to identify similar patterns of development that might allow us to move towards the formulation of a model for the creation of police systems at the disposal of right-wing dictatorships. Can we, for example, attribute the role of the police in supporting right-wing movements in their ascendancy to power to similar or identical factors? Can we identify a specific police mentality common to the three countries investigated that allows us to understand better the transition to fascist3 dictatorships and the compliance of ‘ordinary’ policemen in running them? How far did the fascist regimes concerned incorporate pre-existing policing systems (and their personnel), and how did this determine levels of loyalty, efficiency, coercion and terror?

2The sections that follow analyse the Fascist, Nazi and Francoist police systems according to specific areas. The first section considers the role of the police in the ascendancy of right-wing movements, placing emphasis on not only political factors, but also matters concerning the internal functioning of the police, as determining support for fascist movements. An examination of the structures and juridical and ideological bases of the fascist police systems follows, also with a view to identifying levels of continuity/discontinuity with the policing of previous regimes. The subsequent section analyses the extent to which (and manner in which) these systems employed professional policemen (as opposed to non-professional political figures). The final section compares and contrasts the employment of terror in the police systems analyzed.

The role of the police in the ascendancy of fascist movements

  • 4 For a detailed study of the police in Italy after the First World War, see Dunnage (1997, chapter 5 (...)
  • 5 According to D’Orsi (1972, p. 25), on 1 May 1920 the Socialist Party newspaper, Avanti!,published a (...)

3We may attribute police support of fascist movements to a combination of political sympathies, difficulties in law and order maintenance and ambiguous government policing strategies. In Italy, during the ‘Biennio Rosso’ (‘Red Two Years’) of 1919-1920, the police forces had to contend with an increase in crime levels and a growth in working-class militancy backed by a Revolutionary Socialist Party. Moreover, they lacked men and resources, having emerged from the First World War in a state of extreme fragility4. The peasant and working class movements backed by the Socialist Party had historically been the ‘enemy’ of the Italian police. Since unification, governments had tended to deal with social and political unrest in an authoritarian manner, frequently calling in the army or Carabinieri (military police) to put down strikes and demonstrations. This often resulted in casualties, and perpetuated a historic mistrust between the police and the worker and peasant classes. During the ‘Biennio Rosso’, the level of conflict between the police and workers/peasants intensified, with the number of deaths and injuries at the scene of unrest increasing5.

  • 6 D’Orsi (1972, p. 25).
  • 7 For a detailed analysis of the Guardie Regie, seeDonati (1977).

4High casualty levels may have been the consequence of a sense of vulnerability on the part of the forces of law and order. However, it is likely that an excessive militarization of the post-war police was also behind this6. Indicating a pattern not dissimilar to developments in Weimar Germany and the Spanish Second Republic (discussed below), the urban security guards (Guardie di Città) of the Interior Ministrywere transformed into a militarized police, the Guardie Regie,in October 1919. This move would theoretically grant the Interior Ministry autonomy from the army in matters of policing, relegating the Carabinieri to rural areas. In practice, however, the military character of the Guardie Regie was accentuated to the extent that the civilian police authorities of the Interior Ministry did not have complete control over them. The corps largely modelled itself on the Carabinieri and recruited considerable numbers of guards and officers from the army. Its relationship with the working class movement was highly confrontational. Moreover, the Guardie Regie continued to work alongside the Carabinieri in both the cities and rural areas, often jointly employed in the repression of the same public order disturbance7.

5Police support for Fascism was partly a product of the confrontational nature of their relationship with the peasant and working class movements during the ‘Biennio Rosso’. However, it was also a consequence of their contempt for the law and order policy of post-war Liberal governments, which on many occasion angered the police by ordering them to show restraint in dealing with strikes and demonstrations. On the one hand, governments desired where possible to make social, economic and political concessions to the working classes. We should consider this in the context of democratic advancements in post-war Italy, including the introduction in 1919 of proportional parliamentary representation that saw a dramatic increase in influence of mass parties. On the other, they feared that they were insufficiently equipped to repress large-scale revolutionary initiatives. This was the case during the metallurgical factory occupations of August 1920, when the prime minister, Giovanni Giolitti, ordered the police and army not to intervene. It is unlikely that the police or the middle classes understood or accepted this strategy, in spite of its success in defusing the revolutionary character of the occupations.

  • 8 For detailed analysis of the forms and causes of police support for the Fascist movement between 19 (...)
  • 9 Reichardt (2002, p. 208).

6In the autumn of 1920, the Italian police began to give support to the developing Fascist movement8. This ranged from passive acceptance of their illegal activities to active participation in ‘punitive expeditions’ against left-wing strongholds. In the face of ‘revolutionary’ worker action, that political leaders appeared unable or unwilling to deal with, many members of the police accepted help from the Fascist movement in order to restore law and order. Yet, we should also consider the ability of the movement to ostracize as ‘Socialist’ and ‘unpatriotic’, through their press and public demonstrations, those policemen that attempted to repress it. Others had genuine political sympathies for a movement founded on patriotism and anti-Socialism. Some had fought alongside future Fascists during the First World War. Insults against the police in the Socialist press, often of a highly personal nature, increased the attractiveness of Fascism. Institutional factors relating to the police also helped to determine their attitude towards Fascism. Greater Carabinieri support may have been the result of resentment towards post-war Liberal governments, which had expanded and militarized the Interior Ministry police in 1919, partly at their expense. Sven Reichardt argues, however, that the limited hierarchical control that the Prefect (government-appointed head of the province) was able to exercise over the Carabinieri also explains this9.

  • 10 Under the leadership of Antonio Gramsci, the extreme Left of the Italian Socialist Party formed the (...)
  • 11 For reference to the Liberal government’s treatment of the Arditi del Popolo in contrast with the F (...)

7Ambiguous government policy also encouraged police tolerance of Fascist violence. Giolitti’s inclusion of Fascist candidates in the government list in the May 1921 general election indicated a desire to accommodate and tame Fascism, rather than outlaw it. Many police commanders ignored official orders to prevent Fascist violence during the election campaign and on polling day, since they felt that it was their duty to ensure the victory of government-supporting candidates. Similarly, in the summer of 1921 the new prime minister, Ivanoe Bonomi, ordered the outlawing of theArditi del Popolo (a paramilitary organization independent of both the Socialist and Communist Parties10, founded to defend the working class against Fascist violence) as an armed and criminal association, whilst merely continuing to order the repression of Fascist violence. This suggested to the police and judiciary that the government saw Fascism as far less of a threat than the Left11.

  • 12 Dunnage (1997, p. xiv).

8We can also attribute the attitude of the police to longer-standing cultural factors that were particular to Italy. They were accustomed to tolerating private forms of policing and political violence. In the Po Valley, for example, Fascism had its roots in pre-war employer vigilantism against the peasant movement. The local police mainly accepted this phenomenon. The ‘clientelistic’ basis of Italian state administration created a situation in which corruption and political violence were acceptable, as evident, for example, in the role given to the Prefect (the highest provincial authority in policing) in guaranteeing the return of government supporters at elections. This system ambiguously tied police officials to social élites. It gave them considerable autonomy of action with the risk of reducing their loyalty to superiors or government12.

  • 13 An example of this is the police chief of Cremona, Umberto Wenzel, who was a client of the provinci (...)
  • 14 Discussed in detail in Dunnage (1997, pp. 136-138), and Lyttelton (1973,pp. 87-90).

9Policemen that actively supported the Fascist movement would be rewarded after Mussolini’s rise to power13. However, it is clear that a large number hesitated or merely acted in accordance with what they interpreted as government policy. While it was one thing for them to benefit from the help of Fascists in fighting Socialism, it was another to oppose directly government orders. We should remember, too, that there were incidents in which both the Carabinieri and the Guardie Regie killed and injured Fascists. When by the summer of 1922 a Fascist political victory seemed inevitable, policemen that were not pro-Fascist thought very carefully about the professional consequences of making a name for themselves as anti-Fascists. The best solution was to strike a balance between not compromising themselves excessively either way. Police and army reactions to initial government orders to prevent a Fascist seizure of power at the end of October 1922 varied between energetic resistance (with Fascists being injured or killed) and surrender, though clear cases of active collaboration with the Fascists are difficult to identify. In the end, full-scale conflict between government and Fascist forces did not take place, as the prime minister, Luigi De Facta, retracted an order for the establishment of military rule and Mussolini was invited to become prime minister14.

  • 15 Bessel (1991, p. 191).
  • 16 Liang (1970, p. 10). For an example of the previously confrontational relationship between the Germ (...)
  • 17 Bessel (1991, pp. 190-203).

10How does the Italian situation compare with the development of right-wing dictatorships in Germany and Spain? In the Weimar Republic, there was evidence from the late twenties onwards of police support for the Nazi movement. Similar to the Italian situation, this attitude was a product of political sympathies, difficulties in law and order maintenance and ambiguities surrounding government police strategies. The founding of the Weimar Republic saw the creation in 1920 of the Schutzpolizei, intended as a professional and democratic police force (‘suited to a new, modern, democratic epoch’15) that would develop a trusting relationship with the population and alleviate the suspicions of the public, especially the working classes. Hsi-Huey Liang argues that the police leaders of the new Republic wanted to shed the traditional authoritarian image of the police in order to create a people’s force under the motto ‘The Police, Your Friend and Assistant’16. According to Richard Bessel, there were several flaws in this. Although the Schutzpolizei were supposed to be a civil force subordinate to regional administration, in many respects this was a reorganized version of the short-lived Sicherheitspolizei, disbanded on the orders of the Allies in 1920 because of their paramilitary character and questionable democratic credentials. There remained a prevalence of military forms of training and tactics and military personnel among the officers. The Schutzpolizei had to face high levels of crime during the early years of the Weimar Republic due to food shortages and revolutionary unrest. Though crime levels dropped from the mid-twenties onwards, they had to deal with an increase in bureaucratic tasks, whilst during the early thirties political radicalism and growing unemployment burdened their workload. Bessel indicates the failure of the Schutzpolizei to develop a democratic relationship with the German people in their confrontation with Communist demonstrators and workers in May 1929 in Berlin (‘Blood May’), which left 33 dead (none of which were policemen) and 198 wounded17.

  • 18 Leßmann (1989, pp.78-119, 222-261).
  • 19 Leßmann (1989, pp. 234-235).

11Peter Leßmann emphasizes the authoritarian and highly military basis of the police of the Weimar Republic. The Social Democrat government intended to limit the use of the army in policing (given its questionable loyalty to the Republic) and desired to create a police that worked with and was a part of the civilian public. Yet, this did not preclude the creation of a heavily armed police force that had to be able to deal with a Communist revolutionary threat. Though theSchutzpolizei managed to quell a major Communist uprising in Saxony in March 1921 without substantial army support, the corps subsequently underwent far greater instruction in the use of arms than in ordinary policing18. Moreover, many police leaders, some of whom Social Democrats, shared authoritarian concepts concerning the role of the police as defender (by any means and regardless of legal considerations) of the German state and its people. Such concepts had quite a lot in common with Nazi police theory19.

  • 20 Wagner (1996, pp. 137-145, 164-179).

12Much of the support of the Weimar police for the Nazis was the consequence of a breakdown in law and order characterized by political violence, as well as a shared antipathy for the Communists, and in some quarters, the Social Democrats, too. The perceived failure of the Weimar Republic to empower the police to deal adequately with ordinary crime was also crucial for police support of Nazism. Patrick Wagner shows, for example, how the Berlin Kriminalpolizei felt frustrated in its attempts to repress a powerful criminal underworld during the late twenties, because of excessive concerns on the part of the judiciary for the rights of defendants, with the result that it was difficult to have criminals convicted. This helped to intensify the belief among detectives that the police should have greater power and autonomy from an excessively Liberal judicial system in order to preventively detain habitual criminals, some of whom for life. Many were undoubtedly moved by Nazi promises that if they came to power the police would no longer be humiliated in their fight against crime20. In comparison with Weimar Germany, the influence that matters concerning ordinary crime may have had on police support for right-wing authoritarian take-overs in Italy and Spain does not appear to have been the object of any detailed research.

  • 21 Leßmann (1989, pp. 150, 153-154, 159-164).
  • 22 Bessel (1991, p. 203).
  • 23 Reichardt (2002, pp. 214-222).
  • 24 Liang (1970, pp. 75-76).

13As in Italy, there were professional reasons that accounted (directly or indirectly) for police support for Nazism. Leßmann argues that many individuals joined the Schutzpolizei as an alternative to post-war unemployment after military demobilization. While during the twenties police salaries were generally not better than those in the mainly lower-middle class professions that policemen had previously occupied (and, indeed, got comparatively worse during the late twenties), policemen were grateful for a safe job. In theory, when 12-year contracts in the Schutzpolizei expired, policemen would find employment in other areas of state administration. In practice, this did not happen21. This created tensions with the Social Democrat government and increased police support for the Nazis. Ex-policemen were extremely bitter about their treatment by the Republic, forming protest organizations, which openly insulted the German state and public authorities over this22. In his comparison of Italian squadrismo and the German SA, Reichardt argues, however, that police collaboration with the Nazis was not as open as in Italy. This depended on the fact that the German state exercised greater territorial control in dealing with law and order difficulties. It managed to maintain greater loyalty on the part of policemen as a result of career conditions that were still comparatively better than in Italy23. Liang’s research on the Berlin police shows how, as part of its democratic training of the Schutzpolizei, the Republic encouraged policemen to exercise their political rights by joining any legitimate political organization (as long as this did not interfere with their line of duty). Ironically, this may have increased rather than reduced the risks of police involvement in Nazi activities. Police membership of both the KPD and the NSDAP was only banned in 193024.

  • 25 Liang (1970, pp.153-155; 1992, p. 255).
  • 26 Liang (1970, pp. 154-158).

14The Nazi rise to power did not create serious difficulties for the German police. The showdown between the Social Democrat Prussian government and the pro-Nazi central government of Franz Von Papen, which helped to pave the way for Hitler’s ascendancy to power, could have placed the police in the dilemma of having to choose between defending or abandoning the Weimar Republic. However, when on 20 July 1932 the central government dismissed the Prussian government (claiming that it was unable to maintain public order) and declared a state of martial law, the Schutzpolizei were not ordered to defend the Prussian government, even though the legality of Von Papen’s initiative was highly questionable. Liang notes that the fact that the Von Papen Putsch ‘appeared’ legal made it easier for the police to accept it25. The Prussian Minister of the Interior, Carl Severing justified his failure to call out the Schutzpolizei on the grounds that under martial law the police were no longer subject to the authority of the Prussian government. Liang argues that as long as their superiors did not resist the army, the rank-and-file of the Schutzpolizei were hardly likely to react either. Moreover, most had not evolved a sense of political self-reliance under the Weimar Republic, to which they were mainly unsympathetic anyway. A few did contemplate armed resistance in support of a minority of Republican officers26.

  • 27 Ibid.,pp. 160-164.
  • 28 Bessel (1991, pp. 203-204).

15After the Von Papen Putsch police support of the Nazi movement became more systematic. Liang notes that policemen turned a blind eye to Nazi activities and carried out selective arrests to the advantage of Nazis when they were involved in fights with Communists. Police support for the Nazis during this stage was more official than in Italy. Policemen were allowed to join the Nazi party and openly went to Nazi rallies. The officer corps elected a Nazi police major as chairman of the police officers’ union and police officers’ civil service committee. Pro-Nazi police leaders intimidated the rank-and-file by carrying out investigations of policemen for alleged acts of brutality against Nazis27. As the above point indicates, many members of the German police were ‘induced’ to conform to the change in regime. Bessel argues that while many police officers were Nazi supporters, just as many were not. Because of their sense of professional identity and concern about their careers, those who were not fanatical Nazis most probably accepted the transition to an authoritarian system founded on the restoration of order and respect for the police28.

  • 29 For a comparison of levels of violence in Spain, Italy and Germany, see Payne (1990, pp. 281-284).
  • 30 Payne (1999, chapter 8); López Garrido (1987, pp. 63, 125).

16The rise to power of Francisco Franco in Spain was different from the Fascist and Nazi ascendancies in that it followed military insurrection against the government of the Popular Front. Levels of political violence during the phase leading up to the military rebellion were far higher than in pre-Nazi Weimar Germany and pre-Fascist Liberal Italy. Moreover, the violence mainly came from left-wing groups and parties, including the Socialists, with the Falangists playing a more defensive role and acting in isolated groups in comparison to well-organized squads of Blackshirts or Stormtroopers29. From early on in the Spanish Civil War, the Falangists and Carlists played an auxiliary role. Their militias were subordinate to military authority and a future head of state that favoured an all-embracing partido único30.

  • 31 Payne (1990, pp. 272, 275-276).
  • 32 Payne (1967, pp. 278-79; 1990, p. 273); Ballbé (1983, pp. 338-339).

17Public order policies of the Spanish Second Republic (1931-1936) also played their part in determining the military rebellion. The Republic was initially tough on law and order, but this combined in a contradictory manner with a restructuring and attempted democratization (in the wake of the defeat of the de Rivera dictatorship) of the armed forces that had traditionally been responsible for law and order maintenance in Spain. According to Stanley Payne, military reforms did not weaken the scope of military jurisdiction in Spain. The Law for the Defence of the Republic of 1931 allowed a continuation of strong government measures and the suspension of civil guarantees where required. The new Public Order Law of 1933, replacing the 1931 law, provided for states of legal exception of varying intensity but including the imposition of martial law, while military courts continued to judge cases of abuse of power by the Civil Guard and verbal insults against the Civil Guard31. There was some evidence of reform that was more appropriate to a new ‘democratic’ state. Though the Socialists had wanted to disband the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil), given its reputation for brutality and severe dislike by left-wing groups, the Republican government left the corps in tact but, following an attempted coup by its former commander in chief, José Sanjurjo, in 1932, placed it under greater civilian control. The Republican government also created a new national police force, the Assault Guards (Guardia de Asalto) for service in the cities (alongside the urban Security police-Seguridad) that was originally intended as a professionally trained civilian alternative to the army or Civil Guard for dealing with urban unrest32.

  • 33 Ballbé (1983, pp. 338-340).
  • 34 Payne (1990, pp. 274-756).

18In practice, however, any effort at creating a more liberal-minded police often gave way to authoritarian solutions. The Republic frequently imposed martial law and other restrictions on constitutional guarantees in the face of destabilization attempts by left-wing revolutionary groups. Moreover, Manuel Ballbé suggests that any move in the direction of demilitarization of the police was superficial. The Assault Guards gradually took on a military character, and only differed from the Civil Guard in name and uniform, while a military figure still occupied the general inspectorate of the Civil Guard33. The army, Civil Guard and the Assault Guards behaved brutally in the face of peasant rebellions and general strikes, and with relative impunity. During an anarchist insurrection in January 1933 in the Cádiz province, for example, the Assault Guards shot at least twelve peasants in cold blood. While they were in government (1931-1933), the Socialists supported this tough public order stance especially because the main targets of the repression (Communists and Anarcho-Syndicalists) were political rivals34.

  • 35 Blaney (2003, pp. 47-54). Blaney also indicated his findings in the paper he gave on ‘Conditional L (...)
  • 36 Blaney (2003, pp. 51-52).
  • 37 Blaney (2003, p. 54).
  • 38 Payne (1990, pp. 276-2779).
  • 39 Payne (1990, pp. 280-286; 1967, p. 316).
  • 40 Blaney (2003, pp. 54-55).
  • 41 Payne (1990, pp. 279-280).

19If the Second Republic attempted to be tough on law and order to the extent that it frequently sacrificed constitutional liberties and upheld pre-existing military powers, according to Gerald Blaney, the Civil Guard perceived the left-wing government of 1931-1933 as being ‘soft on revolution’ and tolerant of attacks against its members. It also failed to appreciate the government’s attempt to deal with the root causes of disorder through social and economic reform. At the local level, individual guards felt humiliated at having to take orders from Republican and Socialist councillors35. It is likely, in addition, that increased civilian control of the Civil Guard, though of questionable significance in terms of law and order maintenance, and the dismissal of the commander in chief, Sanjurjo, in 1932, because of his suspected disloyalty to the government36, outraged many within the corps. Although the right-wing government of 1933-1936 supported the Civil Guard and repealed many of the reforms that it had ‘suffered’ under the previous government37, the state of law and order progressively worsened during this period. October 1934 saw a nationwide insurrection organized by the Socialists that had to be sedated by means of martial law and fierce repression, which saw the death of around 900 revolutionaries and between 144 and 168 policemen38. Political violence escalated out of control again following the electoral victory of the Popular Front in February 1936. The fact that the government of Azaña-Casares Quiroga was reluctant to employ the police effectively to deal with widespread strikes, and shootings by left- and right-wing extremists, angered them39. So did an amnesty of those imprisoned for previous acts of violence, and the prosecution of Civil Guards considered responsible for heavy-handed repression40. Moreover, as Payne notes, the government one-sidedly attempted to outlaw the Falange (founded in November 1933) in March 1936, following its assassination attempt on the Socialist leader, Jiménez de Asua, whilst not imposing equivalent measures against the revolutionary Left41.

  • 42 Blaney (2003, pp. 43-47, 57).
  • 43 Ballbé (1983, p. 395).
  • 44 Salomón Chéliz (1999, p. 137).
  • 45 Cifuentes Chueca, Maluenda Pons (1999a, pp. 50-51; 1999b, pp. 101-102).

20According to Blaney, we may interpret the support of a large number of Civil Guards for Franco’s military rebellion (possibly as many as 63%) as stemming from a traditional mentality in which the corps saw itself as ordained with the task of defending national order. If necessary this meant turning against governments incapable of doing this. The attempted coups of 1923 on the initiative of the commander of the Barcelona Civil Guard, Primo de Rivera, and of August 1932 under Sanjurjo illustrate this42. Moreover, as Ballbé argues, lack of democratic reform of the police administration under the Republic prevented an outright defence of constitutional powers in July 1936. Many military and Civil Guard commanders were convinced that they held no responsibility if they obeyed superiors in support of the conspiracy43. As traditional defenders of the landowning elite, theCivil Guard in many instances supported an uprising that wished to restore conservative power to the Spanish countryside. In her research on the province of Huesca (Aragón), María Pilar Salomón Chéliz argues that in many towns the victory of the Nationalist forces depended on the support of the Civil Guard, backed by the local landowners, the Falange and other ‘men of order’. Once a town had fallen to the rebels, they oversaw and enforced their assumption of political powers44. Immediately after the Nationalist conquest of territory, spontaneous violence gave way to a more methodical and ordered violence – of which the main protagonists were the police forces, particularly the Civil Guard – characterized by the organization of punitive expeditions to those towns that had resisted the uprising, the execution of the ‘defeated’ and the taking over of local prisons45.

21The above comparative analysis has illustrated a heterogeneous set of factors determining police support of the extreme Right, many of which were common to all three national case studies. These included widespread social and political unrest, and an increase in crime levels often connected to this. Institutional factors of direct concern to the police were also crucial. At the risk of somewhat oversimplifying highly complex situations, I would argue that, in the face of serious law and order difficulties, new regimes that were politically more progressive than their predecessors did not dramatically reform police systems that they may have previously considered authoritarian and undemocratic, in spite of any claims that they were doing this. Indeed, they maintained, whether deliberately, or inadvertently, an authoritarian police potential that in the end would facilitate fascist take-overs. In the case of the Spanish Second Republic and Weimar Republic left-wing participants in government supported such measures, if only to remove revolutionary rivals. Such policies did little, however, to win over the full support of the police forces concerned, especially since they often clashed with democratic initiatives at the social and political level that the police did not necessarily approve of.

  • 46 Browder (1996, p. 13).
  • 47 Leßmann-Faust (2000, p. 20).

22We may question whether the findings of this analysis go some way towards supporting (or are explained by) socio-psychological theory on police behaviour. Much of this theory revolved around the assumptions that ‘a certain type of personality is drawn to careers in policing; and that the roles the police play and the environment in which they operate have predictable effects on their personalities and behaviour’46. Were policemen disposed towards fascist movements because of a particular mindset? I would tentatively argue that the police forces of the three countries investigated traditionally displayed an anti-Left, conservative and authoritarian orientation, which frequently manifested itself in acts of brutality, usually against the peasant and working classes. In view of the particularly difficult professional situation policemen faced during the ‘Biennio Rosso’ in Italy, the Weimar Republic and the Second Spanish Republic, this mentality was reinforced and eventually gave way to support for the extreme Right from many (but not all) quarters. Rather than indicating a particular type of personality or political leaning behind the decision to join the police, this mentality appears mainly to be the consequence of particular training methods, and possibly, in the case of Italy and Germany, the recent experience of war. Leßmann in his analysis of ‘Blood May’ indicates, for example, that most Weimar police officers and instructors were ‘characterized by a particular approach to their lives and careers, which bore the stamp (…) of the decivilized, self-sufficient life in the trenches on the Western Front’47.

  • 48 This is partly suggested by López Garrido’s sociological survey of the Spanish police forces in the (...)
  • 49 Leßmann (1989, pp. 153-156). Recruits to the Schutzpolizei were mainly skilled artisans, office emp (...)

23The desire for a safe job and, where possible, a higher standard of living appeared to be the main factors in decisions to join the police. In Italy, for example, the majority of police recruits traditionally belonged to the peasant, artisan or working classes, usually from the poorest regions of Italy, and having only completed primary education. Many saw a police career as the only alternative to poverty and unemployment. The situation in Spain appears similar48. In Weimar Germany, recruits to the Schutzpolizei came from a variety of professional backgrounds though generally of a more lower-middle class status than in Italy and Spain. Many joined in order to overcome post-war unemployment. Over 75% of applicants for the post of sergeant had only completed primary school (Volksschule)49.

  • 50 Discussed in Dunnage (2006).
  • 51 Leßmann (1989, p. 300).
  • 52 Graf (1987).

24The effect of social background on police behaviour is not wholly clear. Police experts in Italy argued around the turn of the century that it was difficult to train police recruits with low school qualifications properly, and that this was often the cause of casualties at the scene of strikes and demonstrations. During the ‘Biennio Rosso’ exponents of the Socialist Party claimed that the generally conservative outlook and limited education of these recruits made it easier for their employment in hard-line policing against the working class movement. Factors of class identification and geographical provenance appear to have played some role in police support for fascist movements. During the ‘Biennio Rosso’ in Italy, frequent insults at the scene of demonstrations and in the Socialist press, founded on the idea that the police had betrayed their social class, increased the likelihood of their siding with the Fascists. Given their mainly Southern peasant origin, they probably found it difficult to identify with the cause of the more developed Northern worker and peasant movements50. Leßmann similarly suggests that the German Communist Party failed to play on the class consciousness of members of the Schutzpolizei because of their mainly peasant, artisan and lower-middle class backgrounds51. Christoph Graf indicates that while the political police (Abteilung 1A) of the Weimar Republic considered both Nazis and Communists as enemies, ‘the front line against left-wing radicals was always more clear-cut than that against right-wingers, because the police not only regarded the communists as enemies of the state, but also as enemies of their own class.’ Members of the NSDAP on the other hand were of a lower middle-class background like members of Abteilung 1A52.

  • 53 Browder (1996, pp. 13-21, 26-27).

25George Browder’s research indicates how socio-psychological theory can be applied to help us understand police support of the extreme Right more clearly. Browder suggests that the role conflicts experienced by the Weimar police produced a ‘pariah subculture’, which facilitated the transition to Nazism. In the context of strikes, demonstrations and riots and stagnation in their career advancement, they increasingly perceived the public as hostile towards them. Their closed-group identity and sense of alienation from society was also encouraged by training programmes. This situation increased the risks of subversion by political forces. The police were stuck between the demands of opposed political groups. The forces of Liberalism and Socialism criticized them for their use of force to defend the Republic, while the Right criticized them for their alleged failure to maintain order and protect society. The police felt more professionally threatened by the former, particularly the parties of the Left, given their desire to curb police powers. The Nazis on the other hand were able to appeal to police sub-cultural values by emphasizing the belief that they were an institution to be strengthened. While the Communists aimed to subvert and undermine the police as an instrument of capitalism, the Nazis only intimidated anti-Nazi policemen53.

The structure and role of police systems

26While right-wing dictatorships claimed to maintain full control over societies by means of all-powerful policing systems, in practice levels of success in this varied. In no case was total control achieved. The second section of this essay compares the transformations that the German, Italian and Spanish police systems underwent after the rise to power of the extreme Right. It pays particular attention to their structures, the powers that they enjoyed and their activities. It questions how attached or detached they were from pre-existing police systems in terms of both the type of police force employed and the legal systems supporting them, as well as the extent to which ideological forces (i.e. the ruling party) influenced them. Such factors depended to some extent on the ideological and political foundations of the regimes concerned. Although the Francoist dictatorship distinguished itself from both the Nazi and Fascist regimes because of the dominance of the military in policing, the Spanish and Italian police underwent more similar developments, in comparison with the Nazi police, insofar as they both maintained strong links with pre-existing systems and were not subject to high levels of ideological infiltration. This would reflect the development of authoritarian (as opposed to totalitarian) dictatorships. While the German police undoubtedly underwent a considerable process of ‘Nazification’, indicating a more determined move towards totalitarian rule, the extent of this may have been overstressed.

  • 54 For the differences between Liberal and Fascist police powers and the consequent scope of their act (...)

27In Italy, after Mussolini came to power at the end of 1922, the police played a key role in the outlawing of the political opposition, especially left-wing parties and union organizations, and the dismantling of the democratic framework of the Liberal state. While they initially did this with the help of the semi-legal action of the Fascist squads, emergency legislation increasingly enabled the police to close ‘subversive’ associations and arrest their leaders. When by 1926 all non-Fascist parties and organizations had become illegal, the police had the task of controlling and preventing any potential threat to the stability and livelihood of the new regime. This involved closely monitoring the activities of all citizens, including Fascist Party members. Though the police continued to focus mainly on the working classes and known left-wing militants, since they considered them to pose the greatest threat to the regime’s stability, they paid greater attention than in the past to ‘moral crimes’, such as abortion and, during the mid-late thirties, homosexuality, which became crimes against the Italian race. The Public Security Law of 6 November 1926, which formed the basis of the new police code of 1931, increased police powers of censorship, arrest and control over associations, and reduced judicial guarantees against abuse of power. The instruments of ammonizione (imposing restrictions on the movements and activities of individuals) and confino (internal exile), though previously used by the Liberal police (as stipulated by the 1889 police code) against habitual or suspected criminals and political offenders as a means of avoiding lengthy court procedures, could now be employed more straightforwardly than before and against anyone considered socially or politically dangerous. The law of 25 November 1926 on ‘Measures for the Defence of the State’ placed individuals arrested for the most serious political crimes before a special tribunal (Tribunale speciale per la difesa dello Stato) over which the ordinary magistracy had no influence. The criminal code of 1930, besides reducing the rights of legal defence in line with the Fascist concept of the infallibility of the state and subordination of the rights of the individual to those of society, also established more severe punishments for ordinary crimes54.

  • 55 For the creation of secret police organizations under Bocchini, see Carucci (1976). For OVRA, see a (...)

28The compromises with conservative forces forming the basis of the Mussolinian dictatorship prevented the creation of a totalitarian system of terror in Italy. Policing remained in the hands of traditional forces of law and order (Interior Ministry police and the Carabinieri)with the Party militia playing a secondary role in law and order maintenance, following its placing under the control of the army in 1924 in the aftermath of the Matteotti murder. From 1925, the main responsibility of defence of state security was entrusted to the Interior Ministry police under the leadership of the career prefect, Arturo Bocchini. Common to all dictatorships, Bocchini intensified police powers of surveillance by setting up several new secret organizations (of which the most notorious was OVRA – Opera per la Vigilanza e Repressione dell’Antifascismo)employing informers in order not only to root out and prevent the resurgence of underground anti-Fascism but also to control Fascist dissidence and closely monitor public opinion55.

  • 56 Richards (1998).
  • 57 Richards (1998, pp. 54, 77-80); Cenarro (2002, p. 78); Ballbé (1983, pp. 402-411). For a detailed a (...)

29In contrast to Fascist Italy, Francoist repression was far more violent. As the research of Michael Richards indicates, it involved not only the extermination or imprisonment of large numbers of Republican supporters, but also a broader persecution and humiliation of members of the working classes as a whole, on the grounds that they had been ‘contaminated’ by ‘Liberalism’ and ‘Marxism’ during the Second Republic. The repression also targeted women in the belief that the Republic had lured them away from their traditional ‘passive’ role, as well as Catalonian and Basque pro-separatists. A combination of Catholic and extreme nationalist beliefs gave moral justification to the repression56. New laws sanctioned the repression. The Law against Military Rebellion of July 1936 allowed mass executions of individuals accused of having ‘rebelled’ against Franco’s uprising. The Law of Political Responsibilities of February 1939 allowed the prosecution by special courts of anyone who had supported the ‘Reds’ (including involvement in legal political and trade union activities) since 1934. The wording of the Law for the Suppression of Masonry and Communism of March 1940 was vague enough to allow the persecution of most opposition to the new regime. Laws passed ‘for the protection of the birth rate’ and ‘against abortion’ (January 1941) and against infanticide and adultery (May 1942) aimed to restore women to their traditional social role57.

  • 58 For the use of military and special courts in the Franco regime, see Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 315-3 (...)
  • 59 Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 340-341). For detailed analysis of the judicial treatment of these crimes, (...)
  • 60 Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 340-344).

30Ordinary law courts increasingly lost influence, as the judgement of political crimes and crimes against public order was entrusted to military or special courts in which judicial guarantees, such as the right to defence, were seriously reduced and over which the regime had more direct powers of interference58. The ordinary courts also lost control over the repression of some common crimes, such as smuggling, illegal provisioning and embezzlement, which carried harsher penalties than before59. Moreover, the regime created a special court, over which career judges directly appointed by the Ministry of Justice presided, and a national registerin order to control and preventively intern tramps and criminals, though in practice such measures could be applied to anyone considered socially undesirable or dangerous60.

  • 61 Ballbé (1983, pp. 402, 409-429, 440); Payne (1987, p. 378).
  • 62 Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 342-343). Lanero Táboas notes that the legislation was worded in such a va (...)
  • 63 Richards (1995, p. 179); Gallo (1973, p. 162).

31The Francoist system of repression in many respects represented a continuation of public order policies of the Second Republic. Franco’s rebels used existing military powers and jurisdiction in matters of law and order, as well as new legislation. The 1933 Public Order Law (discussed above) remained in force until 1959. This was bolstered by a new law (March 1943) defining any form of infringement of public order (including participation in oppositional political activities) as military rebellion, and by the new Military Justice Code of 1945 that treated disobeying or offending the police as a crime against the armed forces to be dealt with by military courts. Between 1936 and 1975, the regime maintained an almost continuous state of martial law (briefly interrupted during the mid-late sixties). Though a decree of April 1948 officially ended this, political offences continued to go before courts martial and usually resulted in long periods of imprisonment61. The regime’s treatment of social outcasts and other ‘dangerous’ individuals represented an intensification of measures sanctioned by legislation of the Second Republic (Ley de Vagos y Maleantes of 1933) that allowed restrictions on liberty without a specific crime necessarily having been committed62. However, the Franco regime also introduced of a system of conditional liberty (libertad vigilada) for released prisoners that was similar to the Italian system of ammonizione. Citizens affected by this (300,000 in 1946) could not live or work in their previous place of residence and had to report to the police one a week63.

  • 64 Ballbé (1983, pp. 400-401). López Garrido (1987, pp. 128-129).
  • 65 Gallo (1973, p. 162).
  • 66 Payne, 1987, pp. 497-498.
  • 67 Ballbé (1983, pp. 434-446); Payne (1999, p. 396).
  • 68 Preston (1990, pp. 112-115).

32The Spanish police forces did not undergo dramatic modifications after the civil war. The Police Law of 1941 amalgamated the Seguridad and Asalto, renaming them Policía Armada. The Guardia Civil was subjected to tighter control by the army, while the Carabineros (border and coastal police) were integrated into the corps64. Like most dictatorships, the Francoist system saw an increase in surveillance activities run by information networks relying on informers. According to Max Gallo, in 1946 the Civil Guard received the equivalent of fifty million dollars for this purpose65. Payne notes that there were at least eight secret service and information agencies by the sixties though most of them were superficial66. Levels of ‘fascistization’ within the police were low as political power was subordinate to military authority. Moreover, the Falangist and Carlist militias were dissolved in 194467. The Falange had come to power because of the military uprising and its power never equalled that of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) or Fascist Party (PNF)68.

  • 69 For an analysis of the SS, see Koehl (1983); Buchheim (1968); Broszat (1968).
  • 70 Broszat (1981, pp. 272-277).

33The structure of the Nazi police system indicates a stronger break in continuity with the past. The Nazis played a key role in a terror system, as exemplified by the responsibility given to the Party militia, the SS (Schutzstaffel), for management of the concentration camps and, from 1939 onwards, for bringing to fruition Hitler’s mass murder programme. While there is some justification for comparing the SS with the Italian Fascist Militia, entrusted with running penal colonies for political dissidents and other ‘anti-nationals’, the powers and scope of activity of the former, who gradually became autonomous from the state, army and even Party, bear no comparison with the second-class position of the latter69. Martin Broszat analyses the processes by which the German police were ‘Nazified’. The Interior Ministry lost direct control over the police when, in 1936, a leading Nazi, Heinrich Himmler, started a process of centralization of the police (which until 1933 had largely functioned on a federal basis) and their fusion within the SS, as he took up the title of Reich SS Leader and Chief of Police within the Reich Ministry of Interior. Although this title theoretically made Himmler subordinate to the Reich Minister of Interior, this was increasingly nominal. The process of centralization and ‘Nazification’ of the police saw the creation within the Reich Ministry of the Interior of a Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei) Head Office (incorporating the Gestapo and Kriminalpolizei) and of an Order Police (Ordnungspolizei)Head Office (incorporating the Schutzpolizei alongside the municipal police, fire brigade and administrative police) under the leadership of high-ranking SS figures. Broszat questions, however, the extent to which this process reached completion70.

  • 71 For the creation of the Polizeijustiz and the laws sanctioning this, see Gellately (1997). For a de (...)

34The creation of a system of Polizeijustiz allowed the Nazi police to detain large numbers of individuals in concentration camps, often indefinitely, without having to go through the courts. The presidential decree of 4 February 1933 for the ‘Protection of the German People’, followed by the decree for the ‘Protection of the People and the State’ of 28 February 1933, empowered the Gestapo to apply arbitrarily preventive custody (Schutzhaft) and preventive detention (Vorbeugungshaft), as civil and legal rights were indefinitely suspended. Such measures initially affected Communists and Socialists. However, legislation passed on 24 November 1933 also allowed the Kriminalpolizei to operate preventive detention against habitual criminals or individuals considered capable of committing crimes. The Nuremberg laws of September 1935 sanctioned the detention of Jews and non-Jewish sympathisers. From the mid-thirties onwards individuals suspected of sexual ‘deviance’, particularly homosexuals, could also be interned. Illegal abortion and sexual relations between Aryans and Jews also became a preoccupation of the Kriminalpolizei and the Gestapo.A decree of 14 December 1937 extended the range of individuals subject to preventive detention to include beggars, vagabonds, gypsies, prostitutes, the work-shy and other categories of Asoziale (‘anti-socials’)71.

  • 72 Savella (1996, pp. 290-293), notes that OVRA could decide that it was inappropriate to make arrests (...)
  • 73 Ambrosio (1996, p. 5)
  • 74 Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 343-344).

35There are some notable differences between the Nazi Polizeijustiz and the policing systems of the other right-wing dictatorships discussed. From 1936 onwards, the Gestapo and Kriminalpolizei were more or less able to act above the law and outside the control of the Interior Ministry or judiciary. Their decisions on the fate of their victims were not subject to outside scrutiny. They also had the power to intervene correctively in the sentences of not only the ordinary courts but also Nazi judicial institutions, such as the People’s Tribunals. Once prisoners had completed their sentences, they could face preventive arrest. Neither the Fascist nor the Francoist police had quite the same level of autonomy. In Fascist Italy, both OVRA and the provincial police authorities handed over their victims to the Special Tribunal for judgement of the most serious crimes72. The fate of those guilty of less serious crimes was decided by provincial committees, of which the police chief (Questore)was only one of several members (Prefect, Carabinieri commander, Militia commander and public prosecutor), set up to sentence individuals to confino or ammonizione. However, if the Special Tribunal acquitted a defendant for lack of evidence, the police could propose him for confino on the grounds that he posed a threat to public security73. Once an individual completed a confino sentence, the police could put him forward for ammonizione. In Franco’s Spain, military and special courts decided the fate of ‘offenders’. In contrast to Nazi Germany, the decision to preventively intern individuals considered dangerous or socially undesirable was also in the hands of a special court (Vagos y Maleantes)rather than the police74.

Police personnel

36This section analyses the use and treatment of police personnel under right-wing dictatorships. Initially, all three regimes examined implemented purges among pre-existing personnel, the dimensions of which depended on the extent of opposition to the incoming political order. After the purges, varying levels of ‘fascistization’ of personnel took place. While the extent of this depended on the balance of power between Party and state, it is clear that there remained a dilemma over how far ideological figures could be relied on for professional police work, and, conversely, how politically trustworthy professional policemen were, particularly for more radical forms of policing.

  • 75 Bessel (1991, p. 202).
  • 76 Liang (1970, pp. 166-168).
  • 77 Graf (1983, p. 170).
  • 78 Liang (1970, pp. 166-169).

37At first glance, it would appear that few members of the Weimar police were sacked when Hitler came to power in 1933. By the end of 1933, only 7.3% of officers and 1.7% of constables of the Prussian Schutzpolizei had been dismissed or pensioned off75. A few members of the criminal police (Kriminalpolizei) lost their jobs because of their commitment to the old regime. With regard to SPD supporters in the political police (Abteilung 1A), prominent officials faced the sack, while the others were transferred to non-political jobs76. If we consider the treatment of police personnel after July 1932, however, it is clear that an earlier purge took place in some quarters. As Graf points out with regard to the political police, most officials known for their loyalty to the Weimar Republic had already been removed after the Von Papen Putsch77. Liang notes, however, that the Nazis showed some concern to employ good-quality policemen over Nazi sympathisers. Schupo men with a poor record previously dismissed because of their Nazi sympathies were more likely to be pensioned off than reinstated. Occasionally, policemen with a reputation for Republican sympathies were given the chance to prove their patriotic loyalty under the Third Reich78.

  • 79 Johnson (2000, pp. 49-51). For the origins of rank-and-file officers of the Gestapo, see Liang (199 (...)
  • 80 Gellately (1990, p. 54).

38As the above points suggest, while Nazis infiltrated the pre-existing police organizations and the SS played a prominent part in the most radical forms of policing, the system still strongly relied on professional policemen. With regard to the Gestapo,Eric Johnson notes that the local branch commanders were active Nazis, whether police professionals who had joined the SA and SS before 1933, or Nazis that subsequently joined the Gestapo. However, the rank-and-file officers were usually without Nazi membership when they joined and they subsequently may or may not have joined the Party and/or SS79. Robert Gellately argues that there was a high carry-over of personnel to the Gestapo from the Weimar political police. A gradual infiltration of Party, SA or SS members into the Gestapo also took place but where political appointees did not meet the professional requirements of the job, more qualified personnel would take their place80.

  • 81 Koehl (1983, pp. 112-113, 159-160).
  • 82 Browder (1996, p. 193).

39In practice, Himmler’s planned incorporation of the police into the SS (whether through the infiltration of SS members into the police or police personnel joining the SS) was slow and only partially successful. Robert Koehl argues that in September 1939, only 3,000 out of 20,000 Gestapo officials had SS rank. The proportion of SS members in the other police forces (Kriminalpolizei and Ordnungspolizei) was even smaller. Most members of the Security Police (Gestapo and Kriminalpolizei)were professional police officials that ‘exemplified the traits of conscientious bureaucrats willing to serve the Nazi cause rather than of devoted SS men’81. This created rivalry. In referring to the relationship between the Gestapo and the SD (Sicherheitsdienst – SS Security Service), Browder refers, for example to the fact that: ‘Gestapo detectives viewed SD men as Nazi amateur interlopers. SD men doubted the ideological understanding and commitment of the detectives to combating well-camouflaged enemies whose spirit was present even in many Catholic and conservative detectives themselves’82.

  • 83 Johnson (2000, pp. 49, 61, 66).
  • 84 Gellately (2001, p. 23). See also Browder (1996, pp. 96-101), particularly for the ‘Nazification’ o (...)
  • 85 Wagner (1996, pp. 265-278).

40While Johnson suggests that Gestapo officers with Party or SS membership were not necessarily distinguished from those without, when it came to evaluating their willingness to serve the Third Reich (and commit inhumane acts)83, independent of Party or SS membership, all policemen were ‘schooled’ in Nazi ideology from early on in the dictatorship. By the mid-thirties, members of the SS were ­giving the lectures84. In this sense ‘fascistization’ of the police was probably more thorough than in Italy or Spain. Wagner suggests, however, that, independent of Nazi ideology, the development of genetically based criminological theory also facilitated support of Nazi atrocities. Without being Nazis in the strict sense of the word, Paul Werner, responsible for the decree of December 1937 that allowed the persecution of ‘anti-social’ categories, and his close collaborator, Robert Ritter, a criminal biologist, saw Nazism as the ideal environment in which to test their ideas concerning the genetic origins of criminal behaviour. During the late thirties, it was certainly not necessary to be a Nazi in order to support such ideas, which greatly appealed to the Kriminalpolizei and represented the culmination of scientifically based debate concerning the elimination of crime that began before Hitler came to power85.

  • 86 For the fate of the Guardie Regie, see Donati, (1977, pp. 479-481).
  • 87 Collin (1982, p. 430).
  • 88 Around 440 Interior Ministry police officials and employees (approximately 12%) and 1,000 agenti di (...)

41The transition to dictatorship was initially far from smooth for Italian police personnel. Though Mussolini entrusted the most sensitive policing tasks to the Interior Ministry from 1925 onwards, between 1922 and 1925 he had favoured the Carabinieri in view of the association of the former with previous Liberal governments. At the end of December 1922, he dealt a blow to the Interior Ministry by abolishing the Agenti Investigativi (detective force) and the Guardie Regie. Only about 25% of their personnel were transfered to the Carabinieri, the remainder effectively losing their jobs86. Mussolini’s relegation of the Carabinieri to a secondary position and his re-creation of an Interior Ministry police corps, named Agenti di Pubblica Sicurezza,in 1925 reflected his awareness of the ultimate loyalty of the former to the crown87. Because of Mussolini’s increasing reliance on trained professionals of the state police over and above the Party militia, rather than infiltrating the ranks of the police with political figures, new legislation made it easier to sack policemen considered professionally incompetent or unable to fulfil the government’s political directives88.

  • 89 For an example of this, see Salerno, Enciclopedia di polizia.
  • 90 Such feelings are evident in articles in the police journal, Il Magistrato dell’Ordine (1924-1939).
  • 91 Tosatti (1997b, pp. 247-248, 255).
  • 92 Not enough is known about the festa della polizia to allow a detailed comparison with the Nazi Tag (...)

42The requirement of PNF membership for new state appointments from 1932 onwards, whilst allowing a formal ‘Fascistization’ of police personnel, was not in itself an indication of ideological conformity in the police. However, from the thirties onwards young recruits to the police would have undergone a Fascist education at school, while individuals who had activiely supported the Fascist movement before the March on Rome were from the mid-thirties onwards given a measure of preference over others both in state competitions for employment in the police and for promotion and recognized years of service, as throughout state administration. There is also evidence of the incorporation of Fascist ideology into training and manuals, though this does not appear to have been as systematic and intensive as ideological training in the German police89. How far indoctrination in Fascist ideology was required to encourage the police to serve the dictatorship is questionable. Many older policemen were ideologically sympathetic towards Fascism and believed that it was creating a new social order that would enjoy lower crime rates90. Fascism certainly gave the Interior Ministry greater powers and decision-making autonomy, as well as new career possibilities, as it entrusted them with the task of defending the regime91. Police organizations also enjoyed greater prestige than before, as evident in the institution in 1928 of an annual festa della polizia (the Fascist equivalent of the Nazi Tag der deutschen Polizei92). Yet, in the end, many members of the police failed to show the level of loyalty required of them, as discussed in more detail below.

  • 93 Risques Corbella (2001).
  • 94 Payne (1987, p. 377).
  • 95 López Garrida (1987, pp.157-158).
  • 96 Ballbé (1983, p. 438).
  • 97 Payne (1967, p. 448).

43With regard to Spanish police personnel, the research of Manel Risques Corbella shows how high-ranking members of the Civil Guard that had not sided with the Nationalist rebels faced the death penalty or long prison sentences. On 10 March 1939, for example, a court-martial sentenced to death a number of Civil Guard commanders accused of opposing and preventing the military rebellion in Barcelona in July 1936. In reality, Risques argues, they had acted out of a sense of discipline and professionalism, not as enthusiastic Republicans. They had done their best to avoid direct conflict with the rebels and, after the rebellion had failed, had protected them from revenge attacks. Several had later been retired for alleged disloyalty to the Republic93. Little is known about the purging process that lower-ranking members of the Civil Guard, or members of other police forces, underwent. After the civil war, the enforcement of rigid discipline and ideological conformity helped to maintain Civil Guard loyalty to the Franco regime94. According to Diego López Garrida, throughout the period of Francoist rule, the ideological concepts and content of training manuals for members of the Civil Guard were highly authoritarian, indicating Socialism, Marxism and Communism, but also Liberalism and some forms of democracy as the causes of political subversion95. All members of the military had to belong to the Movimiento (Falangist Party)96. Yet, the direct influence of the Falange in matters of police training is questionable, given its subordinate position in the Francoist state. Material reward and a sense of professional prestige may also have reinforced police loyalties to the regime. Payne notes, for example, that the rank-and-file members of the Civil Guard enjoyed status similar to NCOs with high wages and housing privileges97.

  • 98 Dunnage (2002, pp. 125-132).
  • 99 This is the strong impression I gained from a recent examination of the files of the Questura and G (...)
  • 100 Browder (1996). For an analysis of Gestapo workloads and efficiency, see pp. 74-76. For the Krimina (...)

44The above point indicates how myriad interlinked factors come into play to determine loyalty levels. Alongside economic treatment, ideological training and systems of discipline, we should consider career incentives, and policing resources and workloads. In the Italian case it is evident, for example, that, while high-ranking officials of the Interior Ministry police were able to take advantage of important career opportunities, employees of the provincial Questure (police headquarters) often demonstrated a ‘work-shy’ attitude without incurring serious punishment98. Fascism failed to enforce sufficiently rigid disciplinary regimes or ideological loyalty, whilst inadequate resources made it difficult to sack unreliable personnel and recruit better quality police applicants. Lack of professional enthusiasm was also a consequence of increased workloads99. Loyalty levels among the German police appear to have been higher. This may have been a result of more rigid disciplinary regimes, higher levels of political indoctrination and greater career opportunities (discussed below). Working conditions were not necessarily ideal. We know that the Gestapo suffered from limited resources leading to understaffing, overwork and inefficiency. On the other hand, the reduced forces (in relation to population) of the Kriminalpolizei appeared to benefit from a lower workload because of greater standardization under the Nazis100.

The employment of terror

45The final section of this essay analyses and compares levels of terror characterizing the police systems under examination. It also considers the role played by the public in the creation of terror through systems of denunciation. It questions whether radical forms of policing were products of practices or mentalities carried over from previous regimes or represented a true and proper break in continuity brought on by processes of ideological infiltration, disciplinary control or force of circumstance. Finally, it considers the extent to which regimes made use of systems of repression or terror at their disposal, as well as the overall effectiveness of such systems in creating social and political conformity.

  • 101 Savella (1996, pp. 286-295).
  • 102 Brzezinski, Friedrich (1966, pp. 178-179).
  • 103 For discussion of the legal basis of the Fascist repressive system, see Neppi Modona, Pelissero (19 (...)

46The Fascist police did not engage in systematic terror on the scale of Nazi Germany or the first years of the Franco regime, but this does not mean that they did not instil greater fear in the minds of Italian citizens than their Liberal predecessors did. One only has to consider the presence throughout Italian society of surveillance organizations employing informers to appreciate this. It is true that organizations like OVRA are hardly comparable with the Gestapo. Italo Savella argues, for example, that while OVRA officials threatened and blackmailed arrested anti-Fascists to get information from them, they did not employ physical torture. Bocchini did not intend to create martyrs for the anti-Fascist cause101. However, there is evidence to suggest that OVRA and the regular police forces on occasion engaged in the physical and psychological torture of prisoners. The question remains whether this differed radically from tactics used under the Liberal state. The Militia also gained a reputation for cruel treatment of prisoners in the penal colonies102. In considering factors accounting for terror levels, it is clear that in Italy the police, though gaining greater autonomy from the judiciary, remained accountable to a legal system that was authoritarian but did not match up to the totalitarian designs of the most radical Fascists. It embodied racial theories that from the late thirties onwards allowed the imposition of restrictions on the rights and movements of Jews, for example, but not their extermination103.

  • 104 Dunnage (1999, pp. 90-91).
  • 105 Neppi Modona, Pelissero (1997, pp. 817-818).
  • 106 Collotti and Klinkhammer (1996, pp. 101-108) argue that, though, from 1940 onwards, foreign Jews in (...)
  • 107 For the role of the Italian police during the Nazi occupation, see Dunnage (1996, pp. 171-174).

47Nevertheless, the Fascist potential for terror should not be underestimated. The creation of a myth of ‘good’ Italians, that helped to distinguish them from their ‘cruel’ German allies, allowed the race discrimination laws of 1938 and atrocities committed by Italian occupying forces in Ethiopia and the Balkans to be erased from collective memory104. It is evident that during the Second World War onwards, the regime put forward plans for more radical forms of repression that would involve the police. This included the permanent removal from society of habitual criminals incapable of rehabilitation105, and the creation of concentration camps specifically for Jews106. While the Fascist regime of 1926-1943 never put such plans into practice, policemen were expected to engage in inhumane acts under the Italian Social Republic, created in September 1943, following the Nazi occupation of Central and Northern Italy. Under the control of newly appointed Fascist Party police chiefs, many were involved, directly or indirectly, in atrocities against partisans and the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps. There was a notably high level of dissociation from the Social Republic within the police. Yet, high desertion rates are no sure indication that the police would not have supported or complied with a terror system had it been set up in different circumstances. A refusal to engage in atrocities partly accounts for desertions. However, they were also a result of an overriding desire for self-preservation in the face of impending military defeat. Many Carabinieri deserted in view of Nazi plans to deport them to Germany107.

  • 108 Graf (1987, pp. 427-430; 1983, p. 99).
  • 109 Johnson (2000, p. 188, and p. 542, note 58).
  • 110 Gellately (2001, p. 23).
  • 111 Browder (1996, pp. 83-84).

48While the widespread role of the German police in terror is certain, the question remains how spontaneously they employed it. If the Weimar political police, for example, had functioned under the legal constraints of a democratic state, an ability to behave ruthlessly came easily to ex-members of the political police transferred into the Gestapo in 1933. Graf argues that when Hitler came to power, Abteilung 1A actively assisted in the preparation, execution and safeguarding of the Nazi takeover. The Gestapo was associated with terror well before the SS gained control over it108. Johnson’s research similarly suggests that very early on the Gestapo tortured its prisoners in order to get information out of them109. Yet, even within the Gestapo, a certain amount of psychological training in radical policing was required. It was not difficult to create a situation in which the idea of such forms of policing was acceptable, especially if they were entrusted to others. Gellately ­suggests that: ‘Nazi ideology (of which there were many variants) could readily be grafted onto traditional demands of police for more power to fight criminals; for a reduction of the rights of the accused; and for a campaign to clean up the country from what many in the police regarded as criminal, or just immoral practices’110. Similarly, Browder argues that: ‘the common denominators of nationalism, anti-Communism, and a general combativeness towards anything that weakened national strength created powerful personal linkages that carried over from traditional detective to Gestapo and finally SS work’111.

  • 112 Ibid., p. 242.
  • 113 Ibid., pp. 33-34.
  • 114 Roeseling (2000, p. 217).
  • 115 Wagner (1996, p. 249).

49Browder suggests, however, that the psychological willingness to be directly involved in such forms of policing was not so straightforward. The brutalization of behaviour within both the Gestapo and the Kriminalpolizei was partly encouraged by the presence of uniformed Nazi infiltrators that challenged the zeal of the professional policeman and ‘goaded him to take the extra step that proved patriotism and dedication’112. Referring to socio-psychological theory, Browder argues that compliance in inhumane acts was achieved through processes of ‘authorization’ (those in authority assume moral responsibility), ‘bolstering’ (group support and conformity), ‘routinization’ (focus on the job rather than on the larger consequences) and ‘dehumanization’ (denying the humanity of the victim and his right to moral consideration)113. The exploitation of rivalry between police forces, without creating serious conflict between them, also served as a means of inducing the employment of terror. Severin Roeseling argues that the Kriminalpolizei and Gestapo competed in radical forms of policing in their efforts to fulfil the growing demands of the political leadership114. Wagner also indicates that Himmler encouraged competition between the two corps in fighting homosexuality in order to achieve maximum results115.

  • 116 Johnson (2000, pp. 65-66).
  • 117 Rossol (2003).
  • 118 Roth (2000).

50There is a long-established myth that only the Gestapo and SS were involved in Nazi crimes. Yet, Johnson argues that in rural communities, the regular police persecuted Communists and non-conformists and deported Jews, without the need to call in the Gestapo116. Nadine Rossol notes that while much of the ‘ordinary’ police work was defined more by administrative paper work than by ruthlessness, it was not less effective. On the basis of her research on the Schutzpolizei and administrative police of Cologne, Rossol argues that an already existing administrative apparatus provided the Nazis with an instrument for persecuting Jews. Under the direction of a non-Nazi Catholic civil servant appointed to the Cologne police presidency after the Von Papen Putsch, the police targeted the Jews as a distinct group in society in 1933 and 1934. This also involved a census of Jewish shops, pubs and restaurants, which would play a crucial part in the destruction of Jewish property during the pogrom of November 1938. The administrative police collaborated and co-operated with the Gestapo in anti-Jewish policies without any serious difficulties or friction. Yet, it was precisely the breaking down of the process of persecution into small administrative tasks that helped to salvage the consciences of the ‘ordinary’ policemen involved117. Thomas Roth similarly argues that the breakdown of the process of classifying and arranging the deportation of ‘anti-socials’ from 1938 onwards allowed members of the Kriminalpolizei to distance themselves from the fate of their victims118.

  • 119 Browder (1996, pp. 236-237, 245).

51Ironically, it may have been an illusionary self-image of professional autonomy from Nazism that placed ‘ordinary’ policemen on the slippery path to mass murder. Browder suggests that professional policemen in the Gestapo and Kriminalpolizei were ‘willing participants in the first steps toward the police state’, but that they later suffered a professional identity crisis in the face of the realities of SS penetration. Whilst a few members resigned, most deluded themselves that they were not acting inhumanely by clinging to a false image, which the Nazi leadership had built up, of a professional police force honoured and trusted by the people, and denied anything more than a formal link with the SS-SD. Moreover, they could deny ‘police responsibility’ for actions that tainted their professionalism by blaming SS-SD men among them. Browder interprets such behaviour as the product of an ego-institutional identity that involved ‘healthy’ individuals (i.e. without sadistic or criminal personalities), whether professional policemen or Nazis, in atrocities119.

  • 120 Juliá (1999, pp. 407-412).
  • 121 Preston (1990, p. 41). Preston notes that an additional 10,000 died in Nazi concentration camps.
  • 122 Richards (1998, p. 27).
  • 123 Richards (1998, pp. 56-66). For the use of psychiatric discourse in the repression of Republican wo (...)
  • 124 For the Charter of the Spanish People and its effects on repression, see Gilmour (1985, pp. 25-28).

52In attempting to define the precise nature of Franco’s repressive system, it is necessary to make a separation in terms of the intensity and dynamism of repression between two periods. The period of the civil war and the years immediately following the cessation of hostilities were years of extreme terror, characterized by around 145,000 executions, by the most recent estimates120, whilst 400,000 individuals spent time in prison, concentration camps or labour squads121. The extremely high figures for the initial years of Francoist rule are partly explained by the desire to settle accounts after a bloody civil war following a code that, as Richards indicates, erased the words ‘forgiveness’ and ‘amnesty’ from the Spanish language122. Legislative measures sanctioned the terror. A combination of scientific theory and Catholic doctrine arguing that Liberals and Communists carried the traits of physical, psychological and racial degeneration that only national and Christian purification could cure aimed to justify it morally123. The subsequent 25-30 year period lasting until Franco’s death in 1975 involved less systematic terror that was to some extent conditioned by the formal endorsement of human rights in the Charter of the Spanish People of 1945 (though many of its provisions were constantly violated)124.

53At first glance, it might seem that police participation in terror during and immediately after the civil war, did not differ greatly from traditional methods of repressing civil unrest. As indicated above, the police of the second Republic had often functioned under the protection of military rule or other ‘states of exception’, which allowed for brutal behaviour with relative impunity. The civil war experience undoubtedly increased psychological acceptance levels of the more systematic employment of extreme violence. The involvement of the Gestapo in training the police suggests, however, that they received instruction in more sophisticated methods of brutality. According to Gallo, from 1940 Himmler initiated collaboration between the German and Spanish police. He states that by 1946:

  • 125 Gallo (1973, pp. 160-161). See also p. 99.

Franco’s police, while retaining all its original brutality, had now perfected its methods. Guided by German experts, trained in the school of Hitler’s Gestapo, it had acquired all the techniques which had formed the strength of the Nazi repressive organizations. It had learnt the art of infiltration into underground networks, of waiting before pouncing, of setting traps, and it had adopted many of the techniques of interrogation after arrest, with graduated degrees of violence, which might lead a prisoner to break down and confess, or to commit suicide. Former members of the German police or the French militia had been more or less officially engaged by Spanish police organizations, which could take their pick among the many refugees who had come into Spain125.

  • 126 Ibid., pp. 253-255, 312.

54From the fifties onwards, terror might have been applied more sporadically but it continued to form a key part of Francoist rule. While there were fewer shootings, for example, during strikes and demonstrations, there were a significant number of cases of the police brutally torturing individuals in their custody126.

  • 127 Cenarro (2002).
  • 128 Gellately (1988, pp. 654-694; 1990; 1993, pp. 42-65).
  • 129 Johnson (2000, pp. 364, 367).
  • 130 Mason (1983, p. 35; 1993, p. 259).
  • 131 Franzinelli (2001). Franzinelli calculates (p. 16) that in Germany over 70% of written denunciation (...)

55The collaboration of the public in enforcing social control and creating terror under dictatorships has recently been the subject of debate. Angela Cenarro notes that in Franco’s Spain, denunciation was considered one of the most effective means of creating consensus around the new regime. Sanctioned by a decree of April 1940, calling for an investigation of crimes committed by the ‘Reds’, and officially encouraged in the press and on the radio, widespread denunciation by the victors of those that had served the Republican cause formed an integral part of the process of settling of accounts and purging society127. For Nazi Germany, Gellately has emphasized the reliance of a relatively undermanned Gestapo organization on the help of the German public128. However, Johnson’s research on the town of Krefeld concludes that not more than 2% at most of the population denounced anyone129. The apparent lack of denunciations in Fascist Italy has recently been the object of reappraisal. Over a decade ago, Tim Mason, suggested that levels of denunciation were lower than in Nazi Germany and argued that this might be because of an inbuilt mistrust of the state and a cultural code of omertà130. Mason appeared to have based his argument on research on the working class of Turin. It is plausible that close-knit working class communities with a strong subversive tradition may have been less permeable to betrayal. Recent research by Mimmo Franzinelli suggests that a considerable number of Italians denounced their fellow citizens to the benefit of the police. If there is a distinction between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, it possibly lies in the fact that a much higher percentage of Italian citizens denounced anonymously131. However, it is likely that, in comparison with Spain, a lower proportion of citizens spied on and denounced their neighbours in Germany and Italy, given the less dramatic circumstances in which the Nazi and Fascist regimes came to power.

  • 132 Dunnage (2003, pp. 34-36).
  • 133 Peukert (1993, pp. 105-106).
  • 134 Kershaw (1983, pp. 86-90).
  • 135 Richards (1998, pp. 156-159).

56If, in all three cases, we look at the policing of populations as a whole rather than focus on targeted groups, similar treatment, which does not rely on terror alone, emerges. This particularly regards the policing of the working classes. Although strikes and demonstrations became illegal, the regimes concerned did not automatically deal with them in a harsh manner. In Fascist Italy the police were often reluctant to do anything more than arrest the main promoters when work stoppages took place. Following practices more reminiscent of the Liberal state, they sometimes took measures to alleviate the cause of disputes and to encourage mediation132. Detlev Peukert argues that in spite of the ‘terroristic’ capacity of the Gestapo, the Nazi regime tolerated a certain amount of ‘passive aversion’ on the part of workers, and even small-scale strikes133. Ian Kershaw’s research on Bavaria also demonstrates that the police did not automatically quell worker unrest, which was particularly rife during 1935-1936134. In both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, the authorities appeared to attempt to strike a balance between repression and concession, the latter seen as necessary to win round the workers to the political cause of the regimes concerned. Richards suggests that, though in the very early years of the Francoist regime strike organisers could face execution without trial, from the mid-forties Spanish workers were on occasion able to stage protests without excessive harassment from the police. In January 1946, the first general strike of the Franco era took place in Manresa (Barcelona). The action resulted in a wage rise135.

  • 136 Dunnage (2003, p. 37).
  • 137 Johnson (2000, p. 297).

57Under all three regimes, it would seem that citizens who were not engaged in subversive activities or a specific target of repression were not necessarily kept in check by a sense of terror or fear. While in Fascist Italy ‘ordinary’ citizens could in theory be intimidated into collaborating with the police in supplying information on suspects and ‘subversives’, in practice the sanctions they faced for failing to collaborate adequately appear to be minimal136. Johnson argues that, as long as they were upright members of the Volksgemeinschaft, German citizens who gave vent to their daily frustrations, even by openly criticising Hitler and the Nazi regime, rarely faced severe punishment137. Though the above points require further substantiation, they are significant in that they suggest that the exceptional powers of control given to dictatorial police systems were not used to their full potential and that more traditional methods of policing based on mediation and concession were sometimes employed in their place.

Conclusion

58The above analysis has shown that the Nazi, Fascist and Francoist police systems present notable differences, which are in part rooted in the diverse nature of the regimes behind them and the circumstances that led to their creation. On the other hand, it is possible to draw tentatively some parallels between the Nazi, Francoist and Fascist policing systems (or between two of the three systems) in terms of their development, though more research is required in order to substantiate this. For example, although the Francoist and Fascist systems are closer in terms of their limited ‘fascistization’ (whether in structure, juridical basis or personnel), the extent of ‘Nazification’ of the German police may have been overstressed. Recent research on denunciations may have brought Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany closer together than previously imagined in their ability or willingness to ‘terrorize’.

59This article has given particular emphasis to the use that the dictatorships made of ‘ordinary’ policemen. There are clear similarities in the motives for police support of fascist movements. During periods leading up to the creation of right-wing dictatorships police forces faced serious law and order crises that bolstered their anti-Marxist, authoritarian mentality and turned them against democratic forms of government. This attitude was also a result of the introduction of ambiguous reforms in the police. In many spheres of policing, it is not always easy to identify a clean break in continuity between fascist policing methods and those of previous regimes, when examined from the point of view of the individual police task, and this facilitated the ability of professional policemen to adapt to the more radical requirements of the dictatorships. Both pre-existing ideological beliefs and career opportunism played some role in obtaining compliance in this. Many policemen may have been disposed towards hard-line repression (including atrocities), having also emerged from recent experiences of violence in which they had already made enemies out of those groups that would be the subsequent focus (or part of the focus) of repression under the dictatorships. We may be tempted to argue that levels of ‘fascistization’ police forces underwent did not seriously determine their willingness or ability to take part in particularly cruel forms of policing. On the other hand, there is also evidence to suggest that some form of ideological or psychological instruction was required to obtain full compliance in such policing, no matter how theoretically disposed ‘ordinary’ policemen were, though this has only been documented in detail for Nazi Germany.

  • 138 Leßmann (1989, pp. 214-221, 244-247) refers, for example, to the inability of the officer class of (...)
  • 139 This would appear to be the case in Spain during the mid-late forties, where security forces were e (...)

60This article has referred in places to the effect of war experience on the attitudes of the police, though this is an area requiring further investigation. It is likely that the brutalizing effects of war both conditioned police support of authoritarian political stances and facilitated the job of purging society after the rise to power of the extreme Right. In Weimar Germany and pre-Fascist Italy, the employment of large numbers of demobilized soldiers and, perhaps more crucially, officers138 in the police may have determined an excessively confrontational attitude towards law and order maintenance, exacerbating the divide between highly militarized police forces on the one hand and civilian society on the other. Moreover, the previous common experience of patriotic ‘camaraderie’ on war fronts may have brought policemen and members of right-wing paramilitary groups closer together, making it easier for them to jointly carry out illegal activities in support of fascist movements and, in the immediate aftermath of fascist seizures of power, widespread repression. In Spain, the brutalizing experience of the war undoubtedly facilitated the violent purge of society that took place after the Nationalists gained control of territory and continued after the official the cessation of hostilities in April 1939. Both fascist and Liberal regimes may have employed military-type tactics directly inspired by recent war experience139, though we should not confuse such tactics with those more traditionally associated with military policing.

61The influence of war experience on the creation and policing of right-wing dictatorships is one of many areas in which further research is required in order to make a more effective comparison of the three fascist policing systems discussed and understand better how they functioned. Greater analysis is necessary, for example, particularly for Franco’s Spain and Fascist Italy, of the recruitment and training of policemen, the type of everyday work they were engaged in, as well as the conditions in which they worked (in terms of resources, disciplinary systems and economic treatment). Moreover, limited research appears to have been conducted more specifically on what the creation of right-wing dictatorships meant for the policing of ordinary crime in Italy and Spain. Future analysis needs to involve where possible a greater understanding of the interpretations that policemen themselves gave to their roles, in relation not only to their ideological beliefs but also to their treatment as employees of professional bodies.

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Notes

2 I am grateful to Clive Emsley for reading an earlier draft of this article and for his suggestions for improving it. I also thank Ángela Cenarro and Gerald Blaney, Jr for the advice they gave me for analyzing the policing of Spain.

3 In this essay terms such as ‘Fascist’, ‘Fascistization’, etc. (upper case) are used for the Italian context, as opposed to ‘fascist’, ‘fascistization’ (lower case) used to refer to the extreme Right and right-wing dictatorships in general.

4 For a detailed study of the police in Italy after the First World War, see Dunnage (1997, chapter 5). For crime levels, see Di Castro (1934, pp. 122-125).

5 According to D’Orsi (1972, p. 25), on 1 May 1920 the Socialist Party newspaper, Avanti!,published a list of the names of 145 workers killed and 444 seriously injured as a result of police repression between April 1919 and April 1920.

6 D’Orsi (1972, p. 25).

7 For a detailed analysis of the Guardie Regie, seeDonati (1977).

8 For detailed analysis of the forms and causes of police support for the Fascist movement between 1920 and 1922, see Dunnage (1997, chapters 5 and 6).

9 Reichardt (2002, p. 208).

10 Under the leadership of Antonio Gramsci, the extreme Left of the Italian Socialist Party formed the Italian Communist Party in January 1921.

11 For reference to the Liberal government’s treatment of the Arditi del Popolo in contrast with the Fascists, see Neppi Modona (1969, pp. 249-261).

12 Dunnage (1997, p. xiv).

13 An example of this is the police chief of Cremona, Umberto Wenzel, who was a client of the provincial Fascist leader, Roberto Farinacci, and was promoted to Prefect after the March on Rome. For details, see Lyttelton (1982, p. 45); Dunnage (1997, pp. 129-130).

14 Discussed in detail in Dunnage (1997, pp. 136-138), and Lyttelton (1973,pp. 87-90).

15 Bessel (1991, p. 191).

16 Liang (1970, p. 10). For an example of the previously confrontational relationship between the German police and the public, see Evans (1979).

17 Bessel (1991, pp. 190-203).

18 Leßmann (1989, pp.78-119, 222-261).

19 Leßmann (1989, pp. 234-235).

20 Wagner (1996, pp. 137-145, 164-179).

21 Leßmann (1989, pp. 150, 153-154, 159-164).

22 Bessel (1991, p. 203).

23 Reichardt (2002, pp. 214-222).

24 Liang (1970, pp. 75-76).

25 Liang (1970, pp.153-155; 1992, p. 255).

26 Liang (1970, pp. 154-158).

27 Ibid.,pp. 160-164.

28 Bessel (1991, pp. 203-204).

29 For a comparison of levels of violence in Spain, Italy and Germany, see Payne (1990, pp. 281-284).

30 Payne (1999, chapter 8); López Garrido (1987, pp. 63, 125).

31 Payne (1990, pp. 272, 275-276).

32 Payne (1967, pp. 278-79; 1990, p. 273); Ballbé (1983, pp. 338-339).

33 Ballbé (1983, pp. 338-340).

34 Payne (1990, pp. 274-756).

35 Blaney (2003, pp. 47-54). Blaney also indicated his findings in the paper he gave on ‘Conditional Loyalty: The Civil Guard and the Spanish Second Republic, 1931-1936’ at the European Social ­Science History Conference, Berlin, March 2004.

36 Blaney (2003, pp. 51-52).

37 Blaney (2003, p. 54).

38 Payne (1990, pp. 276-2779).

39 Payne (1990, pp. 280-286; 1967, p. 316).

40 Blaney (2003, pp. 54-55).

41 Payne (1990, pp. 279-280).

42 Blaney (2003, pp. 43-47, 57).

43 Ballbé (1983, p. 395).

44 Salomón Chéliz (1999, p. 137).

45 Cifuentes Chueca, Maluenda Pons (1999a, pp. 50-51; 1999b, pp. 101-102).

46 Browder (1996, p. 13).

47 Leßmann-Faust (2000, p. 20).

48 This is partly suggested by López Garrido’s sociological survey of the Spanish police forces in the seventies and eighties (1987, chapter 4).

49 Leßmann (1989, pp. 153-156). Recruits to the Schutzpolizei were mainly skilled artisans, office employees, but also included peasants and a small percentage of factory workers.

50 Discussed in Dunnage (2006).

51 Leßmann (1989, p. 300).

52 Graf (1987).

53 Browder (1996, pp. 13-21, 26-27).

54 For the differences between Liberal and Fascist police powers and the consequent scope of their activities, see the collection of essays in Barile (1967). See also Tosatti (1997a, 1997b). For detailed analysis of changes in the judicial sphere, see Schwarzenberg (1977, pp. 184-193); Canosa (1991, pp. 296-320); Neppi Modona, Pelissero (1997, pp. 766-807). For the repression of homosexuality, see Dell’Orto (1994, pp. 139-144).

55 For the creation of secret police organizations under Bocchini, see Carucci (1976). For OVRA, see also Savella (1996).

56 Richards (1998).

57 Richards (1998, pp. 54, 77-80); Cenarro (2002, p. 78); Ballbé (1983, pp. 402-411). For a detailed analysis of the application of laws mainly affecting women (abortion, adultery, infanticide, etc.), see Mir Curcó (2000, pp. 145-187).

58 For the use of military and special courts in the Franco regime, see Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 315-358).

59 Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 340-341). For detailed analysis of the judicial treatment of these crimes, see Mir Curcó (2000, pp. 128-145).

60 Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 340-344).

61 Ballbé (1983, pp. 402, 409-429, 440); Payne (1987, p. 378).

62 Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 342-343). Lanero Táboas notes that the legislation was worded in such a vague manner as to allow its use for political repression too.

63 Richards (1995, p. 179); Gallo (1973, p. 162).

64 Ballbé (1983, pp. 400-401). López Garrido (1987, pp. 128-129).

65 Gallo (1973, p. 162).

66 Payne, 1987, pp. 497-498.

67 Ballbé (1983, pp. 434-446); Payne (1999, p. 396).

68 Preston (1990, pp. 112-115).

69 For an analysis of the SS, see Koehl (1983); Buchheim (1968); Broszat (1968).

70 Broszat (1981, pp. 272-277).

71 For the creation of the Polizeijustiz and the laws sanctioning this, see Gellately (1997). For a detailed study of the activities of the Kriminalpolizei and the repression of ‘anti-socials’, see Wagner (1996).

72 Savella (1996, pp. 290-293), notes that OVRA could decide that it was inappropriate to make arrests or request a trial, or to allow agents to appear as prosecution witnesses at trials, in order to prevent an agent’s or informer’s cover from being broken.

73 Ambrosio (1996, p. 5)

74 Lanero Táboas (1996, pp. 343-344).

75 Bessel (1991, p. 202).

76 Liang (1970, pp. 166-168).

77 Graf (1983, p. 170).

78 Liang (1970, pp. 166-169).

79 Johnson (2000, pp. 49-51). For the origins of rank-and-file officers of the Gestapo, see Liang (1992, pp. 256-257).

80 Gellately (1990, p. 54).

81 Koehl (1983, pp. 112-113, 159-160).

82 Browder (1996, p. 193).

83 Johnson (2000, pp. 49, 61, 66).

84 Gellately (2001, p. 23). See also Browder (1996, pp. 96-101), particularly for the ‘Nazification’ of the Kriminalpolizei.

85 Wagner (1996, pp. 265-278).

86 For the fate of the Guardie Regie, see Donati, (1977, pp. 479-481).

87 Collin (1982, p. 430).

88 Around 440 Interior Ministry police officials and employees (approximately 12%) and 1,000 agenti di Pubblica Sicurezza (approximately 7%) left their jobs during the late twenties and early thirties. It is not clear what proportion of these were sacked or forcibly retired (Archivio di Stato di Siena, Gabinetto Prefettura, Cat. 7 Personale di PS Questura, Sottoprefettura e Uffici Distaccati, busta 230 (1930), Interior Ministry police, Personnel Division headquarters (Rome) to Prefects and High Commissioner for Naples, 16/3/30; Archivio di Stato di Siena, Questura, filza 254, Cat. C.1.b Sottufficiali ed agenti di PS (1936), fascicolo: Agenti di PS. Forza organica della provincia di Siena, Interior Ministry police, Armed Police Forces Division to Prefects, 11/1/32).

89 For an example of this, see Salerno, Enciclopedia di polizia.

90 Such feelings are evident in articles in the police journal, Il Magistrato dell’Ordine (1924-1939).

91 Tosatti (1997b, pp. 247-248, 255).

92 Not enough is known about the festa della polizia to allow a detailed comparison with the Nazi Tag der deutschen Polizei, discussed in Gellately (2001, pp. 43-45).

93 Risques Corbella (2001).

94 Payne (1987, p. 377).

95 López Garrida (1987, pp.157-158).

96 Ballbé (1983, p. 438).

97 Payne (1967, p. 448).

98 Dunnage (2002, pp. 125-132).

99 This is the strong impression I gained from a recent examination of the files of the Questura and Gabinetto Prefettura at the Siena State Archive.

100 Browder (1996). For an analysis of Gestapo workloads and efficiency, see pp. 74-76. For the Kriminalpolizei, see p. 86.

101 Savella (1996, pp. 286-295).

102 Brzezinski, Friedrich (1966, pp. 178-179).

103 For discussion of the legal basis of the Fascist repressive system, see Neppi Modona, Pelissero (1997); Canosa (1991, chapters 16 and 17).

104 Dunnage (1999, pp. 90-91).

105 Neppi Modona, Pelissero (1997, pp. 817-818).

106 Collotti and Klinkhammer (1996, pp. 101-108) argue that, though, from 1940 onwards, foreign Jews in Italian territory were interned as a threat to national security, and a number of Italian Jews were interned because they were anti-Fascist, in May-June 1943 the regime planned the internment of all Italian Jews. Collotti and Klinkhammer see this as part of a radicalization of Fascist policies in the context of the Nazi ‘Final Solution’ of January 1942 that was drawn up to include Italian Jews.

107 For the role of the Italian police during the Nazi occupation, see Dunnage (1996, pp. 171-174).

108 Graf (1987, pp. 427-430; 1983, p. 99).

109 Johnson (2000, p. 188, and p. 542, note 58).

110 Gellately (2001, p. 23).

111 Browder (1996, pp. 83-84).

112 Ibid., p. 242.

113 Ibid., pp. 33-34.

114 Roeseling (2000, p. 217).

115 Wagner (1996, p. 249).

116 Johnson (2000, pp. 65-66).

117 Rossol (2003).

118 Roth (2000).

119 Browder (1996, pp. 236-237, 245).

120 Juliá (1999, pp. 407-412).

121 Preston (1990, p. 41). Preston notes that an additional 10,000 died in Nazi concentration camps.

122 Richards (1998, p. 27).

123 Richards (1998, pp. 56-66). For the use of psychiatric discourse in the repression of Republican women, see Richards (2001).

124 For the Charter of the Spanish People and its effects on repression, see Gilmour (1985, pp. 25-28).

125 Gallo (1973, pp. 160-161). See also p. 99.

126 Ibid., pp. 253-255, 312.

127 Cenarro (2002).

128 Gellately (1988, pp. 654-694; 1990; 1993, pp. 42-65).

129 Johnson (2000, pp. 364, 367).

130 Mason (1983, p. 35; 1993, p. 259).

131 Franzinelli (2001). Franzinelli calculates (p. 16) that in Germany over 70% of written denunciations were signed, whereas in Italy over 80% were anonymous.

132 Dunnage (2003, pp. 34-36).

133 Peukert (1993, pp. 105-106).

134 Kershaw (1983, pp. 86-90).

135 Richards (1998, pp. 156-159).

136 Dunnage (2003, p. 37).

137 Johnson (2000, p. 297).

138 Leßmann (1989, pp. 214-221, 244-247) refers, for example, to the inability of the officer class of the Schutzpolizei to leave behind previous soldiering tasks in their belief that law and order difficulties should be confronted as on the battle field.

139 This would appear to be the case in Spain during the mid-late forties, where security forces were engaged in a guerrilla war against resistance forces (Payne, 1967, p. 437). The training during the Weimar Republic of the Schutzpolizei in house-to-house and street fighting, and in sealing off streets and neighbourhoods, put into practice in the ‘Blood May’ confrontation in Berlin (May 1929) as a means of dealing with Communist and working class unrest (Bessel, 1991, pp. 201-202), suggests a direct link to previous war experiences. Joint police and Nazi repression during the summer of 1933 that involved sealing off and combing through working class districts (Peukert, 1993, pp. 104-106) also suggests this.

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Jonathan Dunnage, « Policing Right-Wing Dictatorships: Some preliminary comparisons of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Franco’s Spain », Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies, Vol. 10, n°1 | 2006, 93-122.

Référence électronique

Jonathan Dunnage, « Policing Right-Wing Dictatorships: Some preliminary comparisons of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Franco’s Spain », Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies [En ligne], Vol. 10, n°1 | 2006, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2009, consulté le 26 mai 2017. URL : http://chs.revues.org/200 ; DOI : 10.4000/chs.200

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Jonathan Dunnage

School of Arts, University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom, j.dunnage@swansea.ac.uk
Jonathan Dunnage is Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies at University of Wales Swansea, UK. His publications include The Italian Police and the Rise of Fascism. A Case Study of the Province of Bologna, 1897-1925 (Westport, Praeger, 1997); Twentieth Century Italy. A Social History (London, Longman (Pearson Education), 2002), and ‘Social Control in Fascist Italy. The Role of the Police’, in Clive Emsley, Eric Johnson, Pieter Spierenburg (eds), Social Control in Europe. Vol. 2: 1800-2000 (Columbus, The Ohio State University Press, 2004). He is currently working on the training and ideological mentality of Interior Ministry police personnel in Fascist Italy.

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