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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A soldier of India's elite Assam Rifles stands guard at the India Gate, New Delhi.
Some British Cadets on a Remembrance Day Parade at Brighton College.

A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military force, but which is not regarded as having the same status.[1] The term uses the Greek prefix para- (expresses proximity), also seen in words such as paramedic.

The term paramilitary is subjective, depending on what is considered similar to a military force, and what status a force is considered to have. The nature of paramilitary forces therefore varies greatly according to the speaker and the context. For instance, in Northern Ireland, paramilitary refers to any illegal group with a political purpose, but in Colombia, paramilitary refers only to illegally armed right-wing groups which do not combat the government (for example United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia), while illegally armed left-wing groups rebelled against the government, such as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, are referred to as guerrillas.[2]


Examples of paramilitaries

Depending on context, paramilitaries can include:

In history

The insignia and flag of the SS, based on Runic symbols.

In Nazi Germany, the Schutzstaffel and Sturmabteilung were considered to be paramilitary forces, and were officially endorsed by the Nazi Party and its leader, Adolf Hitler. The Sturmabteilung (SA) was vital to Adolf Hitler's rise to power but became largely irrelevant after he came to power in 1933; it was effectively superseded by the Schutzstaffel after the Night of the Long Knives. The SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt, Gestapo, Sicherheitsdienst, and other law enforcement agencies subsequently fell under the auspices of the SS, and led to the SS having absolute control of the police and security forces, vastly empowering the Third Reich independently of the Wehrmacht. The Heer had much contempt for the SS and was wary of a coup; this fear was exploited in the failed July 20 plot to kill Hitler. After the war, many SS and other Reich officials were tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials, however, of the nearly 70,000 members of the SS implicated in war crimes, less than 2000 were tried in court. Officially, the SS and all of its subdivisions were permanently disbanded after the World War II. However, the Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen (ODESSA, "Organization of the former SS members"), was formed in Argentina to help other former SS officials evade prosecution by seeking refuge in Latin America. In modern times, there is no official successor organization to the SS, although several neo-Nazi groups claim inheritance.

See also


External links

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