Surprisingly, the Gestapo was never actually a very big organization. At its peak it employed only about 40,000 individuals, including office personnel and the plain-clothes agents. But each Gestapo agent operated at the center of a large web of spies and informants. The problem for the average citizen was that no one ever knew for sure just who those informants were. It could be anyone, your milkman, the old lady across the street, a quiet co-worker, even a schoolboy. As a result, fear ruled the day. Most people realized the necessity of self-censorship and generally kept their mouths shut politically, unless they had something positive to say.
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