German Police Until 1918 Research Paper

This sample German Police Until 1918 Research Paper is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need help writing your assignment, please use our research paper writing service and buy a paper on any topic at affordable price. Also check our tips on how to write a research paper, see the lists of criminal justice research paper topics, and browse research paper examples.

Federalism is, except for periods during the twentieth century (Nazi Germany and communist East Germany after 1945) a key characteristic of political systems in Germany throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Due to this focal pattern of the German political system, there had been polices of the respective federal units during these periods, but no national German police. Early nineteenth-century administrative and political reforms established the police in many German states as a state prerogative, which manifested itself by the establishment of Gendarmerie forces. In Prussia, this Gendarmerie was to police the countryside, but in relation to major cities, the Prussian state commissioned municipalities with the establishment and the maintenance of an urban police, establishing state police forces proper in a few cities only. A comparable mixed system was established in some other German states as well. A characteristic, which was shared by almost all the polices in Germany throughout the nineteenth century and even during the first decades of the twentieth century consisted of the continuity of a comprehensive notion of police and policing, deriving from the Ancien Re´gime notion of “Polizey,” beyond a modern, on law, and order maintenance focused understanding of police. Attempts were made by different actors (the police, the courts, members of the legal sciences) to narrow this comprehensive notion, but did not really touch upon the reality of police and policing in nineteenth-century Germany.

Due to “order” being a core issue of policing in Germany during the nineteenth century, crime and crime control was not a major concern of the police during that period. Until the First World War, only a minority of the major German cities had specialized crime investigation units among their municipal police forces. Because of this situation, the crime investigation department of the Berlin police headquarter became a key institution, as it professionalized increasingly its expertise for investigating complex and spectacular criminal cases.

The emergence of a political police and of political policing at the beginning of the nineteenth century was a correlate of the continuity of monarchist, bureaucratically framed regimes after the Napoleonic wars. Political policing regained momentum with the rise of the organized labor movement during the second half of the nineteenth century, when industrialization did set in Germany. Although political policing was seen by contemporaries as a significant policing pattern, the application of a comprehensive notion of police remained a key strategy for policing the emerging industrial society.

Police And Policing During The First Half Of The Nineteenth Century

During the first decade of the nineteenth century, the Prussian government, because of the necessities to modernize Prussia on the background of its defeat in the war against Napoleonic France, a number of institutional reforms and governmental reorganizations were inaugurated, which were to bring the Prussian state into a position of meeting the challenges posed by Napoleonic France. These reforms touched upon the police in Prussia as well. During the Anc¸ien Re´gime period, the police had either been a matter of urban authorities or had been carried out in the countryside by noble estate owners as part of their privileges. The early nineteenth-century reforms established the police as a state prerogative. This state prerogative was put into practice by the establishment of a – quantitatively – large-scale Gendarmerie, which, in the Prussian case, was to police the countryside, while, as far as the cities were concerned, the Prussian state commissioned municipalities with the establishment and the maintenance of an urban police, establishing state police forces in a few cities only. During the first half of the nineteenth century, the Prussian state established state polices only in those cities, which were seen as hotspots of political opposition and dissent. While the state polices were on the budgets of the Prussian state, it were the municipalities themselves which had to pay for their municipal police. During the 1860s, the Prussian state withdrew its state polices from a number of cities, leaving it to the municipalities to police them with municipal polices, the reason for this withdrawal being a mixture of budgetary considerations and changed security evaluations by the Prussian government.

The installation of the Gendarmerie, following the French example, was meant as introducing the state monopoly of power in the Prussian countryside, where the police until the reforms of the early years of the nineteenth century had been in the hands of the estate-owning nobility. Gendarmerie forces were created – except for Austria and the Habsburg Lands – in most of the German states. The reasons were similar across the states: The central governments in these states, often with new boundaries as a result of the Vienna congress, wanted a penetration of their authority into the whole of the state, were seeing the Gendarmerie as an appropriate instrument for creating some sort of identity among the inhabitants of the respective state and were using this force for policing the vagrant rural underclass, which was seen by contemporaries as a major threat. In Prussia, the introduction of the Gendarmerie was answered by the estate-owning rural nobility with (in the end successful) largescale protest and opposition, resulting in a massive decrease of the Gendarmerie force and a restitution of the Anc¸ien Re´gime model of policing the countryside by combining property titles (estate ownership) and police functions. In Prussia, the figures for the Gendarmerie forces were, in comparison to Gendarmerie forces in other German states, extremely low: In 1848, there were 8 gendarmes per 100,000 of population in Prussia, 52 per 100,000 of population in Baden, 52 in Bavaria, 40 in 1839 in Brunswick, 23 in Hanover, 10 in Saxony, and 25 in Wurttemberg (Jessen 1991). When looking at these figures and when taking into account, that the Prussian state left the policing of cities in most cases to communal or municipal police forces, then it might look as if Prussia had been underpoliced during the first half of the nineteenth century. But that does not take into account the massive presence of the military in very many Prussian cities. The Prussian military, having garrisons in quite a number of Prussian cities, did have in the respective cities policing prerogatives. In 1840, 53 % of the urban population of Prussia lived in a city, which held a garrison. State and communal or municipal officials continuously relied on the military in any case they considered an emergency for public order and safety. The interventions of the military into everyday urban policing matters have been interpreted as a significant militaristic impact on policing in Prussia during the nineteenth century (Ludtke 1989). Additionally, the Berlin police headquarters became a key institution for the policing of politics in Germany (Fricke 1962).

Political Policing In Nineteenth-Century Germany

The emergence of a political police and of political policing in Germany at the beginning of the nineteenth century is a correlate of the continuity of monarchist, bureaucratically framed regimes after the Napoleonic wars. During this so-called period of “restauration” after 1815, the monarchist regimes of the German states aimed at defending their regimes against the growing demands of the bourgeoisie for political participation. In order to control political opposition, the Prussian government established after 1815 a number of government commissions. A similar model for supervising the political opposition was adopted by the German Federation, which did set up interstate government commissions not only for controlling opposition movements, but for disseminating information among the governments of the German Federation. The strategies of these government commissions were rather retrospective, focusing on political incidents, which had happened already, although elements of proactive control patterns were introduced as well already during this period. One of the Prussian government commissions became charged with examining the political reliability of teachers, which were to be employed, and with examining the political positions of candidates for the clergy and the judicial professions. This cooperation was enforced after the defeat of the revolutionary movements in the German states in 1848/1849. During the 1850s, when it became visible, that the revolutionary initiatives of 1848/1849 would not gain ground and significance again, these control activities were gradually reduced.

Political policing regained momentum with the rise of the organized labor movement. Together with the introduction of repressive legislative instruments for suppressing the organized labor movement after the foundation of the German Empire, a specific state police commissioners were introduced, which were to supervise the organized labor movement and organized groups of foreigners, such as members of the Polish minority. Municipalities were reluctant to establish political police branches within their municipal police forces, but the Prussian government circumvented these problems by establishing this nucleus of a political police strictly as a state police, thus creating the first political police proper in Germany.

Policing Nineteenth-Century Industrialization And Urbanization

Prussia and other parts of Germany have been, in comparison with countries and regions in Western Europe, latecomers as far as industrialization and urbanization were concerned. In Germany, large-scale industrialization and urbanization did not set in but after the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century. In Prussia, the major industrial areas with their rapidly growing urban conglomerations were mostly covered up to the first years of the twentieth century by communal or municipal police forces or by a few gendarmes only. It was only in 1909, that in some towns of the Ruhrgebiet area in the West of Prussia, the municipal police forces were transformed into proper state polices (Funk 1986; Jessen 1991; Spencer 1992). In the cities with municipal police forces, the police remained principally part of the state prerogative on the monopoly of power. In these cities, the mayor represented this prerogative by being the official head of the local or municipal police. While the mayor was the head of the municipal administration, elected by the city council he was at the same time, with respect to his duties as head of the police in the respective city, executing state functions and had thus to obey state orders. Due to these specific patterns of police organization, the Prussian state could theoretically intervene in everyday municipal matters, although in practice, the cities had many possibilities for diverting or impeding such attempts. But more important was that municipalities had police competences of their own. Prussian legislation in 1850 and legislation on the municipalities had given the municipalities in Prussia ample competences regarding police matters, as it had provided the legal frame for issuing police ordinances concerning local matters (Jessen 1991). The municipalities operated within this frame extensively by issuing thousands of police ordinances until the First World War.

The overall appearance and organization of municipal police forces in Imperial Germany, not only in Prussia, was connected to Anc¸ien Re´gime model of the police, the “Polizey.” Under this model, policing covered virtually the entire complex of local administration, control, and regulation. This global police model was most visible in the towns that had municipal police forces. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the police in Elberfeld, which had been by that time one of the early industrial towns in Prussia, comprised among others the night watch; the police of strangers and the police of pubs and inns; the health-police and the life insurancepolice; the medical police; the police of the religious cults; the educational police; the police of morals and order; the trade’s and business’ police; the police of measures and weights; the building-police; the fire-police; the police of the roads; the market-police; the police of the hunt; the forest-, field-, and agricultural police; the river-police; and the police of the dogs (Reinke 1992, 1993; Spencer 1992). Shortly before the First World War, communal policemen still spent much of their time carrying out routine duties relating to these duties, such as distributing tax and registration forms, enumerating buildings and animals, keeping lists of children to be vaccinated, and men liable to military service, providing a variety of identity papers needed by citizens, making certain various fees were paid, and licensing and inspecting a wide range of enterprises and activities (Spencer 1992). By the beginning of the twentieth century, numerous older police responsibilities had either lapsed or been transferred to newly emergent, specialized agencies. Fire fighting and street lighting, for example, were removed from police budgets. As urban service providers became more diverse and specialized, social welfare workers began to assume some functions policemen had performed in the past. In some cities, female welfare workers were taking over from the police the placement and supervision of foster children as well as the counseling of “morally endangered” women and girls and of unmarried couples living together, hoping that this approach would prove more beneficial than a police intervention only. At the same time, however, that the police cooperated with the new social workers in regulating the behavior of those who were poor, transient, or otherwise outside the limits of respectable society, determining what behavior was permissible and what forbidden. All this meant that despite reassignment of duties, little overall narrowing of police functions occurred in the cities (Spencer 1992). The shedding of some older police assignments was counterbalanced by the imposition of new ones. Communal policemen remained deeply involved in many aspects of the daily lives of the city’s inhabitants, especially when they were members of the working class. Among police responsibilities were those arising from official concern with public health and sanitation. Before the First World War already, more and more health-related supervising was transferred to technically trained specialized personnel, but much remained for the police to do. Policemen inspected latrines and monitored the removal of wastes. Continued police responsibility for the control of stray dogs was also in part a health measure, linked to prevention of rabies. Furthermore, concern with public health could be used as one justification for the inspection of housing, another major task for the police, even where specialized urban housing inspectors had been appointed. In Dusseldorf in 1909, the police inspected 16,828 dwellings, whereas the city’s housing inspectors examined only 2,891. The municipal administration described inspections by the police as a service to tenants, making it possible for renters to bring pressure on their landlords to correct deficiencies (Spencer 1992). At the same time, however, inspections of rental housing provided the authorities with an excuse for increased police observation of the private lives of poorer citizens. Special attention was paid to households including boarders, since worried bourgeois observers of working-class life saw the presence of outsiders in a family setting as fraught with potential for increased immorality. However, efforts to prevent overcrowding and thereby presumably to lessen temptations to promiscuity often proved impossible to enforce because of the lack of alternative accommodations in rapidly growing industrial cities. Representative of the catchall nature of many responsibilities assigned to the police was the decision to entrust them with the maintenance of lost-and-found services. In Elberfeld, the police also took the initiative in establishing and staffing facilities enabling the public to call taxis, with operating costs being paid by the taxi owners. In their expanding regulation of markets, local transport, and insurance contracts, the police cast themselves as the guardians of consumer interests, often arousing the resentment of small traders, carters, and cab drivers in the process (Spencer 1992).

Among the most troublesome of requests for intervention that came to the police were those linked to master-servant relations. Until 1918, police remained responsible for monitoring contracts entered into by domestic servants. When difficulties arose, both sides to a dispute might turn to the police for support. The police could try to mediate or impose fines to force compliance with their decisions, but they could not really make someone work in a household who refused to do so. Disputes between landlords and tenants and among neighbors often proved equally intractable.

With requests for intervention and assistance coming from so many sources, the communal police tried to free themselves from some of their most menial and irksome tasks. But their successes remained limited. In Elberfeld in 1906, for instance, the police informed a local school that they could not, without detracting from “real police responsibilities,” repeatedly delegate patrolmen to conduct truants to school. In that same year, however, Dusseldorf policemen accompanied 567 reluctant boys and girls to schools of various kinds (Spencer 1992). During the decades, which preceded the First World War, statistical figures for issuing fines against parents and for accompanying boys and girls to schools showed that these tasks were a main activity of municipal patrolmen (Reinke 1991).

As in the past, many new tasks were transferred to the police simply because they represented a widely dispersed body of public servants, available on an around-the-clock, 7-days-a-week basis, and with closer contact to the daily life of the general populace than most public employees had. In addition, utilization of the communal police for a wide variety of highly visible services helped legitimate their costly and intrusive presence in the eyes of city councilmen and local taxpayers. A considerable number of the nineteenth-century police functions remained effective until the end of the Empire in 1918, and Elberfed was not unique in this among the major industrial cities in the West of Prussia. However, the continuity of the “Polizey” approach should not be misconstrued simply as conservative administrative behavior. Often, the various police were the nuclei of service-orientated departments of the city administrations. Attempts to narrow and to concentrate police functions on the maintenance of law and order were launched in the decade before the beginning of the First World War, but they became decisive only at the beginning of the Weimar Republic.

Policing The Industrial Society

Policing industrial society implied two approaches for the Prussian police during the Empire: on the one hand, in the tradition of the old “Polizey” model of policing, it meant control of the consequences of industrialization, in terms of environmental damage, control of the conditions of labor, etc., with some of these police activities being executed by the so-called trade and business police (“Gewerbepolizei”). But in practice, the police restricted their activities in this field to controlling and supervising traditional crafts and enterprises rather than intervening in the structures and the development of industrial enterprises.

Policing the industrial society meant of course on the other side the control of the working-class population with its unions and political organizations, mainly the Social Democrats: In the industrial society of Imperial Prussia, they were the main object of the control and repressive activities of the police. The legal system of the German Empire allowed for an extensive control of the working class by the police. Repressive legislation against the Social Democrats (“Sozialistengesetz”) constituted the basis for a real police war against the unions and the Social Democrats, which took place from the end of the 1870s to the end of the 1880s. But when this legislation did not find a parliamentary majority any more, other measures were applied: When used against the activities of the organized working class, the exercise of extensive police discretion was very often approved by court decisions; legislations on associations (“Vereinsgesetz”) allowed all kinds of police interventions and repression of the political mobilization and organization of the working class; the “Gewerbe-Ordnung,” the law that regulated business activities and labor conditions, provided possibilities for breaking strikes (Saul 1974).

The early 1870s after the Franco-Prussian war were the period, when industrialization accelerated its pace in Prussia, resulting in a period of cumulative developments. The economic boom immediately after the Franco-Prussian war was followed by a deep depression with all its economic and social consequences. During these years, there was not only industrial activity, but also the spread of moral panics, and the rise of moral entrepreneurs launching their campaigns. Fears of danger to law and order and the increase of criminality were major themes of public discussion in this period. Although not all the higher public officials in the Prussian state administration took the moral panics of this time at face value, the state police administration seized the opportunity for promoting an increase in the number of royal policemen at the beginning of the 1880s. Starting with a ratio of one policeman to 1,500 inhabitants in the 1870s, the Ministry of the Interior improved this ratio gradually to 1:700 by the beginning of the new century. The state administration put pressure on the municipal police forces to come up with an improved police-population ratio as well, and by the 1880s a ratio of 1:1,500 was recommended for municipal police forces (Funk 1986). The symbolic representation of police forces, which were to expand were often given expression by impressive new police headquarters buildings. Significantly, the police headquarters in Berlin was the second largest building after the royal palace. The rise in the figures of the police personnel did not match the figures for the growth of the population, in particular in the industrialized West, along the Rhine and in the Ruhr area, were the figures for police personnel per 100,000 of population fell or stagnated during the 1880s before rising steadily again in the 1890s after strike actions by the miners in the Ruhr area (Jessen 1991).

Another measure for coping with the threats, which were seen as endangering society during this period resulted in institutionalizing a separate crime investigation branch within the police, the Kriminalpolizei. The Berlin Kriminalpolizei engaged itself intensively into the scientific policing during the later years of the nineteenth century and became not only in Germany as police institution a celebrity. But the impact of the institutionalization of a separate crime investigation branch remained limited. It remained very much Berlin based with some follow-up establishments in other very large German cities. But only few police headquarters in other Prussian cities institutionalized similar crime investigations in their departments or did so shortly before the First World War only (Funk 1986).

A major test of the effectiveness of police control and intervention was the first big miners’ strike in 1889. This strike, whose scale was without precedent in German history, caught the municipal and state administrations completely unprepared. The Prussian Army was called upon; the intervention of the military finally led to a breakdown of the strike movement. But because of the strict military logic, the Prussian army applied against the strike movement and because of complex and difficult Prussian state authority – Prussian military relations, Prussian state authorities refrained until the First World War from using extensively the military as police in industrial disputes (Johansen 2005). Instead, strategies for enhancing the presence of state police in Ruhr area were enhanced. One measure was the establishment of state police administrations in three cities in the Ruhr area in 1909 (Funk 1986; Jessen 1991). Up to that time, these towns had been policed by their own municipal police forces. To this point, the state administration had pursued very ambivalent policing strategies in the Ruhr area, the “Wild West” of the Empire. Before the outbreak of the strike in 1889, policing in this area was carried out at a very low quantitative level, as compared to other parts of Prussia. While the industrial and urban development in the Ruhr area was already progressing rapidly, the Prussian state administration maintained the previously appropriate rural-cantonal administrative organization of this region, with a state representative at its head and a few policemen and gendarmes for policing it. This led to administrative patterns such as industrial villages with more than 100,000 inhabitants. To cope with this insufficient situation, a second measure, besides introducing a state police in three Ruhr area cities, was discussed, which consisted of deploying more Gendarmerie in the area. This measure, which was never put into practice, included an increase of the gendarm-population ratio per 100,000 of population to 28 and the establishment of Gendarmerie barracks. But Prussian state administrators nevertheless headed for turning the Gendarmerie gradually into Prussia core police force for policing the industrialized society. Shortly before the First World War, 45 % of Prussia’s Gendarmerie was based near to Prussia’s major industrial centers, in the East in Silesia, around the heavily industrialized capital Berlin, and in the West in the Ruhr area and along the Rhine (Funk 1986).

The Recruitment And The Training Of Nineteenth-Century Police Personnel

Who could become a member of the police force in Prussia? There are some resemblances to patterns to be observed in France during the nineteenth century. In theory, previous service in the Prussian army for 9–12 years was an absolute prerequisite for being recruited into the uniformed Police in Prussia. Thus, the ranks of the uniformed policemen on the beat were supposed to be filled with non-commissioned officers (NCOs). Military service as a prerequisite for admission to the police served several functions: the NCO policeman was supposed to represent king and state in the everyday life of the citizen. His superiors expected him to show his derived authority, and, if necessary, to compel compliance to this authority from the public. On the other hand, long training within the military hierarchy was supposed to have made him an obedient servant to his superiors and a reliable instrument for maintaining law and order. But in reality, this recruitment pattern worked partially only. Although the civil service did have a high social ranking, the position of a uniformed patrolman had a low ranking on this list. Getting a job in the police was not what an army NCO necessarily looked for after years of military service. For many NCOs, the job of a policeman was only a transitory phase on the way to a quieter existence in the civil service than the police service could offer. In Berlin, for example, whose royal police was to serve as an example for other polices in Prussia, more than 2,000 policemen left the police force during the 1890s. The Berlin police force totaled about 4,000 men in the middle of the 1890s. A quarter of those who left the police went into other positions within the civil service. Due to these turnover rates, a large number of police posts were permanently vacant. Not only in Berlin, but other Prussian cities also had to cope with this situation. During the 1890s and again during the first decade after the turn of the century, the Prussian state administration tried to solve the turnover problem by reducing the military service requirements for employment in the police force. As a result, more men were drawn into the police service. The 9–12-year’s military service remained nevertheless the ideal requirement looked for when conceiving a real Prussian patrolman on the beat. Those policemen who had acquired their post on the basis of the reduced requirements were often considered as some sort of second-class policemen (Reinke 1991).

Vacancies in the civil service, the police included, were announced and advertized by state and city administrations in public lists and journals. But the police posts offered regularly outnumbered applicants from the NCO’s ranks. Cities with municipal police forces therefore reduced their employment requirements by recruiting men for the police service who had only fulfilled their obligatory military service after conscription, rather than service as regulars. By the 1880s, and much more so after 1890, cities in the West of Prussia, along the Rhine and in the Ruhr did find it increasingly difficult to recruit candidates with the adequate military background. While some cities reported during the 1890s that they were still managing to staff the municipal police positions accordingly, other cities found the supply of candidates with the requisite military experience falling ever more short of their needs. By 1911, the police department in Dusseldorf, one of the largest cities in the Prussian West, with 46 patrolmen’s positions to fill, reported that of 500–600 applicants, only 22 had the adequate military background. Thus, despite persistent pressure from the Prussian state to seek out NCOs for police service, the cities in the Prussian West turned increasingly to the local wage-earning population for recruits. Urban administrators usually did so reluctantly, sometimes continuing to see the ideal policeman not just as someone shaped by long years of military discipline but also as someone from the outside, preferably of rural or small town origin. But the reality was that most applicants were local residents with only minimal military experience. As a consequence, the possibility of recruiting of policemen having personal contacts with organized workers loomed ever more threatening (Spencer 1992).

The training of policemen was carried out on the job and was oriented along the practical requirements of the man’s on the beat everyday activities. The patrolman had to get acquainted with his precinct and with the things he was supposed to look after when on the beat. A number of “formalities” were also briefly taught, such as some basic ideas about the penal code of the Empire, the police ordinances that had been issued for the respective city or community, etc. Apart from that, the writing of dictations was part of the training. Often this was essential because the men’s ability to write seems to have suffered considerably during the long years of military service. But all in all, serious training did not take place. Around the turn of the century, the Prussian state government as well as municipal police administrations acknowledged an urgent need for an improvement in the policeman’s qualifications. In order to ensure better-qualified personnel, police schools were set up. And additionally, the military habits of the ordinary policeman were no longer deemed sufficient for the handling the everyday problems the police encountered in the growing urban contexts. The more Prussian cities grew and the more complex urban society became, the more qualifications were required from the policeman beyond his authoritarian and military attitude. In 1899, the first police school was established in Prussia, as a school for the Gendarmerie. The Gendarmerie took the initiative, since for this force, which was still part of the military, the problem was the most urgent. In 1901, the first police school for municipal police personnel was set up in Dusseldorf. The costs of the schools were covered by those municipalities who sent their police men there. But usually these schools were relatively small and few policemen were sent to there. In general, municipal administrations accepted the necessity for improving the qualifications of their police personnel, but for financial reasons, they kept down the number of men they sent to these schools.

Similar institutions were being established in other Prussian districts as well at about the same time, beginning with Berlin in 1895. Police schools were intended not only to impart necessary knowledge and approved attitudes but also to raise police prestige. Increased formal training (whatever its content) would bridge the gulf between policemen and respected representatives of the Prussian state. In Dusseldorf, the course for patrolmen lasted 2 months and that for senior officers for 3 months. Students were required to live at the school so that its influence could prevail around the dock. The cities paid the costs for the patrolmen, fearing that if the men were required to use their own resources they would fall into debt, a situation the policemen were strongly encouraged to avoid. The senior officers, expected to come from somewhat more well-off families, had to pay for their own instruction. Cities tried to protect their investment in the candidates by stipulating that those who left their departments after less than 5 years had to repay all or part of the costs of their schooling. Also, attendance at the school was typically reserved for those recruits who had already completed 6–12 months of service. As justification for this fiscally prudent move, police administrators argued that schooling was more meaningful if it followed a substantial period of practical experience. By 1906, the state district administration in Prussia had stipulated that in cities of 10,000 or more, patrolmen either had to attend the police school or pass an examination before being confirmed in their posts. Supporters of the Dusseldorf school were dismayed to find that many communal police departments, to save the cost of instruction, either tried to hire recruits who had already attended a police school elsewhere or else encouraged the taking of the examination. To make certain that the Dusseldorf school had enough students to pay for itself, the Prussian provincial administration before the war was contemplating eliminating the examination option. As a step toward making municipal policemen more credible as rule enforcers by increasing the likelihood that they knew and understood the rules and what they were doing and for what purposes, the Dusseldorf police school represented only a hesitant beginning (Spencer 1992).

A Note On The Historiography Of Nineteenth-Century German Policing

Police history had a late start in Germany. Except for a few legal history studies, police history was not part of a mainstream in German historiography but rather the exception until the end of the 1970s (for the exceptions see Koselleck 1975; Maier 1986). In the context of new thematic issues arising during the 1970s and 1920s within German historiography, emerging studies on the history of nineteenth-century police focused on the functions and the role of the police in eminent political issues, which were at the core of politics in nineteenth-century German states, such as the relationship between the police and the military in Prussia (Ludtke 1989; Johansen 2005) or the emergence of political policing during the first half of the nineteenth century (Siemann 1985).

The first German study, aiming at a comprehensive historical analysis of the police within the economic, political, and social structures of this period, has been published in the mid-1980s by a political scientist (Funk 1986), relating organizational patterns of the police, its everyday practices included, and describing police development in Prussia as a correlate of the increasing economic, social, and political cleavages within Prussia. The author analyzes how the ruling old and the new Prussian elites sought to cope with the threats to the economic, the social and the social order, deriving from what was seen as an overall change, by trying to increase the quantitative and qualitative strength of the state police and the Gendarmerie. The working class and its organizations were among these threats, but urbanization created a major moral panic as well.

While these early studies of a renewed look at the police concentrated very much at the political systems level or did put a focus on Berlin (e.g., Funk 1986), more recent studies, focusing on the local level, in particular on urban policing in other Prussian and German cities, have described the complexities and the contradictions of nineteenth-century policing in Germany and the attempts to modernize and professionalize urban policing (Reinke 1991, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2000a; Spencer 1992; Jessen 1991; Roth 1997). This modernization and professionalization has been seen by the research as strategy for adjusting the police to the growing control requirements, originating from industrialization and urbanization patterns. But urban policing during this period meant not only the enhancement of what could be seen as modern control strategies: a major characteristic of urban policing during this period was the persistence of large-scale welfare functions as part of police functions, thus placing police practices at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century to some extent into the continuity of Ancien Re´gime Polizey models. These patterns resulted in an overpolicing, being abolished only gradually. This continuity created a legacy, which lasted until after the Second World War, when “police” and “welfare” became separated during the occupation of Germany by the victorious Allied forces (Reinke and Furmetz 2000b).


  1. Evans JE (ed) (1989) Kneipengespr€ache im Kaiserreich. Stimmungsberichte der Hamburger Politischen Polizei 1892–1914. Rowohlt, Hamburg
  2. Fosdick RB (1972) European police systems. Patterson Smith, Montclair (first published 1915)
  3. Fricke D (1962) Bismarcks Pr€atorianer. Die Berliner Politische Polizei im Kampf gegen die deutsche Arbeiterbewegung (1871–1990). Rutten & Loening, Berlin
  4. Funk A (1986) Polizei und Rechtsstaat. Die Entwicklung des staatlichen Gewaltmonopols in Preußen 1848–1914. Campus, Frankfurt am Main
  5. J€ager J (2006) Verfolgung durch Verwaltung. Internationales Verbrechen und internationale Polizeikooperation 1880–1933. UVG Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz
  6. Jessen R (1991) Polizei im Industrierevier. Modernisierung und Herrschaftspraxis im westf€alischen Ruhrgebiet 1848–1914. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Go¨ ttingen
  7. Johansen A (2005) Soldiers as police. The French and the Prussian armies and the policing of popular protest, 1889–1914. Ashgate, Aldershot
  8. Knobl W (1998) Polizei und Herrschaft im Modernisierungsprozeß. Staatsbildung und innere Sicherheit in Preußen, England und Amerika 1700–1914. Campus, Frankfurt am Main
  9. Koselleck R (1975) Preußen zwischen Reform und Revolution. Allgemeines Landrecht, Verwaltung und soziale Bewegung von 1791 bis 1848, 2nd edn. Klett, Stuttgart
  10. Lindenberger T (1985) Straßenpolitik. Zur Sozialgeschichte der o¨ ffentlichen Ordnung in Berlin 1900 bis 1914. Verlag J.H.W. Dietz Nachfolger, Bonn
  11. Ludtke A (1989) Police and State in Prussia, 1815–1850. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
  12. Ludtke A (ed) (1992) “Sicherheit” und “Wohlfahrt”. Polizei, Gesellschaft und Herrschaft im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main
  13. Maier H (1986) Die €altere deutsche Staats und Verwaltungslehre, dtv, 2nd edn. Munchen
  14. Reinke H (1991) “Armed as if for a war”: the state, the military and the professionalization of the Prussian police in Imperial Germany. In: Emsley C, Weinberger B (eds) Policing Western Europe. Politics, professionalization and public order, 1850–1940. Greenwood Press, New York, pp 55–73
  15. Reinke H (1992) “hat sich ein politischer und wirtschaftlicher Polizeistaat entwickelt”. Polizei und Großstadt im Rheinland vom Vorabend des Ersten Weltkrieges bis zum Beginn der zwanziger Jahre. In: Ludtke A (ed) “Sicherheit” und “Wohlfahrt”. Polizei, Gesellschaft und Herrschaft im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, pp 219–242
  16. Reinke H (ed) (1993) “.. . nur fur die Sicherheit da .. .”? Zur Geschichte der Polizei im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Campus, Frankfurt am Main
  17. Reinke H (2000a) “Großstadtpolizei”. St€adtische Ordnung und Sicherheit und die Polizei in der Zeit des deutschen Kaiserreiches (1871–1918). In: Dinges M, Sack F (eds) Unsichere Großst€adte? Vom Mittelalter bis zur Postmoderne. UVK Universit€atsverlag, Konstanz, pp 217–239
  18. Reinke H, Furmetz G (2000b) Polizei-Politik in Deutschland unter alliierter Besatzung. In: Lang H-J (ed) Staat, Demokratie und Innere Sicherheit in Deutschland. Leske und Budrich, Opladen, pp 87–86
  19. Roth A (1997) Kriminalit€atsbek€ampfung in deutschen Großst€adten 1850–1914. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des strafrechtlichen Ermittlungsverfahrens. Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin
  20. Saul K (1974) Staat, Industrie, Arbeiterbewegung im Kaiserreich. Zur Innenund Außenpolitik des Wilhelminischen Deutschland 1903–1914. Bertelsmann Universit€atsverlag, Dusseldorf
  21. Siemann W (1985) “Deutschlands Ruhe, Sicherheit und Ordnung”. Die Anf€ange der politischen Polizei 1806–1866. Max Niemeyer, Tubingen
  22. Spencer EG (1992) Police and the social order in German cities. The Dusseldorf District, 1858–1914. Northern Illinois University Press, De Kalb
  23. Wilms R (1992) Politische Polizei und Sozialdemokratie im Kaiserreich. Zur T€atigkeit der Politischen Polizei in der Provinz Hannover von der Zeit der Reichsgrundung bis zum Ende des Sozialistengesetzes. Pater Lang, Frankfurt am Main
  24. Wirsing B (1991) Die Geschichte der Gendarmeriekorps und deren Vorl€auferorganisationen in Baden, Wurttemberg und Bayern 1750–1850. Unpublished dissertation, Konstanz University

See also:

Free research papers are not written to satisfy your specific instructions. You can use our professional writing services to buy a custom research paper on any topic and get your high quality paper at affordable price.


Always on-time


100% Confidentiality
Special offer! Get discount 10% for the first order. Promo code: cd1a428655