Tag Archives: military intelligence

Supplemental: Der Sicherheitsdienst & other SS intelligence elements

In addition to the podcast recently released on Operation JEDBURGH titled “Meet the Jedburghs”, I wanted to touch on a group I brought up during the podcast.

In “Meet the Jedburghs” we talked a lot about how the allies exploited the juncture between military intelligence and sabotage during WWII. But the allies weren’t the only intelligence game in town. So who were they up against?

As a quick recap, we covered the Commando Order put in place by Hitler in 1944 – a direct violation of the Geneva convention of 1929.  We also talked a little bit about how Jedburgh operators caught under this order could be transferred to a Sicherheitsdienst (or SD) prison camp for interrogation.

The Sicherheitsdienst was what you could consider a sister organization to the infamous and brutal Gestapo. The purpose the SD served was as more of an intelligence gathering and investigative organization more than a capture/kill service like the Gestapo.

The SD became much more focused on the military aspect of intelligence consumption being used in support of offensive and defensive military operations rather than domestic and political crime enforcement in the way that the Gestapo was used for.

When it comes to Nazi intelligence gathering efforts, there were a number of very interesting dynamics that came into play. For example, there were a number of organizations that existed before the SD was created including the well known military intelligence organization called the Abwehr. Some of these organizations (Abwehr included) didn’t necessarily follow Adolf Hitler ideologically.

As a product of Hitler’s paranoia and the rampant nepotism in the Nazi system, Hitler created many redundant organizations with a more National Socialist focus (i.e. political enforcement) rather than practical military goals (again, like Abwehr).

These new organizations didn’t always get along great with each other, and the rivalry between the SD and Abwehr has been well recorded.

In the end, we remember the SD as an political intelligence organization tasked with locating political opponents to the National Socialist cause both inside and outside the borders of Germany.

Sources:

http://www.wzaponline.com/TheSS.pdf

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/judorg.asp#gestapo