As many Americans protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death, there have been calls to defund the police and it's led to some confusion about its meaning and caused misinformation to spread online.
There are even some on social media falsely claiming that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler also tried to defund the police. One post in particular reads, “In 1933 Hitler appointed Hermann Goring Minister of the Interior. His first orders were to defund and eliminate the police departments so that they would not interfere with his Brown Shirts. The Brown Shirt’s mission was to riot, burn, beat up and kill citizens in an effort to sway the elections to ensure their National Socialist agenda. Now today’s American socialist leaders want to defund and eliminate the police? Is history repeating itself?”
But VERIFY found that this claim presents the opposite of what actually happened.
Did Adolf Hitler try to defund the police?
No. In fact, the Nazi party actually centralized and fully funded the police during their reign over Germany.
WHAT WE FOUND
During the Weimar Republic, the government that ruled before the Nazi Party took power in 1933, the police were not a well-funded force due to a bad economic fallout after World War I, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Once the Nazis took power, they centralized and fully funded the police to help promote state security through increased staff, more training and modernizing police equipment.
Adolf Hitler fashioned himself as a champion of law and order, the Holocaust Memorial Museum said on their website. "The police and many other conservatives looked forward to the extension of police power promised by a strong, centralized state, welcomed the end of factional politics, and agreed to end democracy," they said.
The Nazis fully funded and centralized the police to better combat gangs and promote state security. They also further protected the police by censoring the press, who were highly critical of the police at the time.
Police manpower was extended by the Nazi Party by fusing the police force with Nazi paramilitary organizations. Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, also became the chief of all German police forces.
Claiming that the Nazis defunded German police forces is rewriting history. Nazis actually did just the opposite and gave the police forces more funding.