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Word Count: 894
Some people my say that secret police forces have always been primarily concerned with the security of the state and that they are invariably created by governmental action but this is not the case Thus the formidable Vehmgericht of medieval Germany was a spontaneous creation of a segment of the people to protect its interests it may be argued that the Vehme and similar institutions were secret societies rather than bodies of secret police but the distinction is not always easy to make The institution of a secret police has existed in most societies where a minority has exercised an uneasy rule over a majority In ancient Sparta a well-organized secret police controlled the helots and ruthlessly suppressed any sign of rebellion In Rome particularly under the Julian emperors a professional class of informers who received a share of their victims confiscated fortunes was employed by the state Among the earliest secret police forces organized along modern lines were the Venetian Inquisition and the Oprichina of Czar Ivan IV of Russia The institution has reached its most menacing aspect in the modern statelargely because of the improved technology at its disposal Two 20th-century examples that of Russia and later the Soviet Union and that of Nazi Germany illustrate the workings of modern secret police forces Russia and the Soviet Union After the abortive Decembrist coup of 1825 a powerful secret police was organized in Russia at the order of the repressive Nicholas I This notorious Third Section named because it was the third department of the czars chancery established a rigid and complicated system of censorship and sought to suppress not only subversive activity but even subversive thought The culmination of this trend typical of police states was symbolized by the name of the Japanese secret police before 1945Thought Police The use of agents provocateurs by the czarist police led to such extremes that secret police posing as
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