Hitlers Right Hand Man
Friday, 5 April, 2013Heinrich Himmler:
Hitlers Right Hand Man
Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945) was the Reich Leader (Reichsführer) of the dreaded SS of the Nazi party from 1929 until 1945. Himmler presided over a vast ideological and bureaucratic empire that defined him for many -- both inside and outside the Third Reich -- as the second most powerful man in Germany during World War II. Given overall responsibility for the security of the Nazi empire, Himmler was the key and senior Nazi official responsible for conceiving and overseeing implementation of the so-called Final Solution, the Nazi plan to murder the Jews of Europe. Himmler was born into a middle-class, conservative Catholic family in Munich, Germany, on October 7, 1900. His father, Gebhard, taught at the Ludwig academic high school (Gymnasium) in Munich. In 1913, Himmler's family moved to Landshut, a town located about 40 miles northeast of Munich, after Himmler senior took the job of assistant principal of the Gymnasium in Landshut. An intelligent youngster with good capacity for organization, young Himmler was fervently patriotic. During World War I, he dreamed of service on the front as an officer and, using his reluctant father's connections, left high school to begin training as an officer candidate on January 1, 1918. On November 11, 1918, however, before Himmler's training was complete, Germany signed the armistice that would end World War I. Himmler graduated from high school in Landshut in July 1919. After the restrictions imposed on Germany by the Versailles peace treaty dashed his hopes of joining the army (Reichswehr), he studied agriculture at the Technical University in Munich. There he joined a German-nationalist student fraternity and began to read deeply in the racist-nationalist (völkisch) literature popular on the radical right of the interwar German political spectrum. By the time he received his university degree in August 1922, Himmler was a fanatical völkisch nationalist and a political activist. Forced to take a job in a manure-processing factory in Schleissheim, near Munich, Himmler made contact with the National Socialists through SA chief of staff Ernst Röhm. In August 1923, he joined the Nazi party, to which he devoted his career after he quit his job one month later. On November 9, 1923, Himmler marched with Hitler, Röhm, Hermann Göring, and other Nazi leaders in the Beer Hall Putsch against the German government. Unemployed and at loose ends after the collapse of the putsch, Himmler found work as secretary and personal assistant to Gregor Strasser, whom Hitler appointed Reich Propaganda Leader of the Nazi party in 1926. Himmler also built his own reputation in the party as a speaker and organizer. His speeches stressed the following themes: “race consciousness,” cult of the German race, the need for German expansion and settlements, and the struggle against eternal enemies of Germany. These "eternal enemies" were “Jewish” capital, “Marxism” (i.e., socialism, communism, and anarchism), liberal democracy, and the Slavic peoples. As he built up his political reputation, he found time in 1928 to marry Margarete Boden, who bore him a daughter, Gudrun, in 1929. On January 6, 1929, Adolf Hitler, the Führer (Leader) of the Nazi party, appointed Himmler Reichsführer SS. The SS, which in 1929 totaled 280 men, was subordinate to the SA and had two major functions: to serve as bodyguards for Hitler and other Nazi leaders and to hawk subscriptions for the Nazi party newspaper, Der Völkischer Beobachter (The Race-Nationalist Observer). From this insignificant beginning, Himmler perceived an opportunity to develop an elite corps of the Nazi party. By the time the Nazis seized power in January 1933, the SS numbered more than 52,000. Himmler also introduced two key functions to the SS that related to the Nazi party's long-term core goals...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document