Police Training after 1945: Teaching and Learning at the Bavarian Police Force

Employees (IfZ):   Haydée Mareike Haass

Bavaria’s Fürstenfeldbruck Police Academy was a central training site during the National Socialist era in Germany. Numerous former Bavarian police officers were involved in Nazi crimes. Police training after 1945 provides key insights into the question of democratic self-identity and the political culture of the Bavarian Police in general.

Investigating police training, the project pursues the question of how the Bavarian Reserve Police (Bereitschaftspolizei, used in special situations such as riots) dealt with the legacy of National Socialism and what values developed in response with regard to its democratic self-identity after 1945. How have unions, protest movements, and right-wing and left-wing terrorism had an effect on police training in Bavaria? How has police training dealt with traditional and new views of performance in connection with concepts of manhood and leadership and with regard to the role of women as criminal investigators. And what influence did other German federal states have in the process?

The study focuses in particular on the central concepts in teaching and learning pursued by the Bavarian Reserve Police and political education as well as the significance of central concepts in leadership and management (such as the “Harzburg Model”). The roles played by instructors, government employees, union members, and non-police advisors are also taken into account. Examples are provided from two periods of time: The years immediately following the war (1945-1969) and the Federal Republic’s “transformation phase” (1965-1978). The two phases entailed massive challenges for the police, whose values and practices were being publicly called into question. Both periods were also marked by generational change.

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