GERMAN AIR RAID PROTECTION ORGANIZATIONS: Germany. 1933-1945. Germany, to a greater degree than the other major combatants, reorganized its civil defense system during the period from 1932 through 1945 to reflect both political and defensive requirements. A chronology and lineage of the organizations reflects these changes.  It should be noted that the organizational histories are somewhat convoluted and that this chronology may be only approximately accurate as to both dates and organizations.

1932 - Flugmeldedienst activated.

29 April 1933 - Reichsluftschutzbund (National Air Raid Protection League) activated as the primary air raid protection organization. Primary branches are the Self-Protection Service and the Extended Self-Protection Service.

5 May 1933 - Reichskommissar fur die Luftfahrt (National Commissioner for Air Travel) Hermann Goering assumes effective control of both active and passive air defense of Germany (Goering is also Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force and Commander-in-Chief of the Prussian Police).

12 January 1934 - Feuerschutzpolizei organized under the command of the Interior Ministry.

1935 - Ministry for Air Travel becomes the Air Ministry. Responsibility for air raid protection and Reichsluftschutzbund is officially linked to the Air Ministry under Minister for Air Hermann Goering.

4 May 1937  - Sicherheits und Hilfdienst (Security and Assistance Service) organized under the command of the Air Ministry.  1935 is also reported as the date of organization of the Sicherheits und Hilfdienst.

unknown date - structure put in place for Works Air Raid Protection Services.

unknown date - Luftschutzwarndienst organized.

1938 - National Air Protection School started.

1939 - Sicherheits und Hilfdienst mobile reserve created.  1940 is also reported as the date for the creation of Sicherheits und Hilfdienst motorized units.

May 1942 - Sicherheits und Hilfdienst mobile reserve units transferred to the Air Force and renamed Luftwaffe Motorized Air Protection Battalions.  Those units not absorbed by the Luftwaffe were retitled Luftschutz Polizei (Air Protection Police) and placed administratively under the Order Police under Reichsfuhrer der SS Heinrich Himmler. Apparently Goering retained operational control of all of these resources. Goering and Himmler were rivals in a political system that encouraged rivalry for Hitler's approval among the senior leadership; this rivalry was intensified to some degree by both having connections to the police services and a desire for control of the regular police as a power base.

Sources: Davis, Brian L., Uniforms and Insignia of the Luftwaffe, Volume 2: 1940-1945, London, United Kingdom, Arms and Armour Press, 1995. Foedrowitz, Michael, German Firefighting Vehicles in World War II, Atglen, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Schiffer Military History, 1997.

Entry 0124 - updated 5 October 2003