The Reign of Terror of the Nazi Guillotine

Nearly as many people were killed by guillotine in Nazi Germany as during France's Reign of Terror.

Few images are more closely associated with France and its Reign of Terror than the guillotine. The horrifying execution device seems to be a relic of the past that faded away with the close of the 18th century.

As already documented here, France continued to use the guillotine up to 1977. What may be just as surprising is that it was in the 20th century that another country came close to exceeding France’s use of the device for mass executions.

The Reign of Terror lasted from June 1793 to July 1794. During that time, approximately 17,000 people, including King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, lost their heads to the guillotine’s blade.

Adolf Hitler was always on the lookout for efficient means of killing. In the early 1930s, he had 20 guillotines assembled and placed throughout Germany. From 1933 to 1945, Nazis used the devices to behead approximately 16,500 people.

Read more fun facts about history.

Read more fun facts about Germany.


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