2nd World War History ~ Key Players

Objectives: To look into the backgrounds of as many of the key players in the Second World War as time permits. To try to convey the history of the 2nd World War in a concise and easy - to - read way as possible and how such War Crimes came about and the men responsible for those War Crimes.

Full Biography >> Parents >> Brothers >> Childhood >> Education >> Religion >> >> Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich >> 2nd World War >> >> Betrayal, Capture And Death >> Heinrich Himmler's Astonishing Love Letters

Adolf Hitler >> Heinrich Himmler >> Josef Goebbels >> Triumph of the Will >> Triumph of the Will 2 Dvd >> Leni Riefenstahl >> Rudolf Hess >> Martin Bormann >> Herman Goering >> Who Helped Hermann Goering Escape The Hangman? >> Josef Mengele >> Adolf Eichman >> Irma Grese

Kristallnacht >> The Final Solution >> Auschwitz >> Nuremberg Party Rallies

Daily Mail - 2nd May 1945 >> Daily Mail - 3rd May 1945 >> Daily Mail - VE Day - It's All Over >> Scans added of the best books of Germany during the war and after incl. definitive guide on The Nuremberg Rallies - Smartphone Page >> Best 2nd World War Book Scans Added >> British War Dvds

Advertise >> 2nd World War Dvds & Books available @ amazon.com >> Search Site

Heinrich Himmler ~ Biography (1900 - 1945)

  • Date of Birth: 7 October, 1900
  • Place of Birth: Munich, Germany

  • Rank: SS Reichsfuhrer
  • Position: Head of the Gestapo and the Waffen-SS, Minister of Interior from 1943 to 1945.

  • Place of Death: Lüneburg, Lower Saxony, Germany. Poisoned himself.
  • Date of Death: March 21, 1945

    Heinrich Himmler grew up in a middle class German family. His father was the headmaster at a gymnasium (academically selective secondary school). He could be extremely cruel to the boys in psychological ways. One boy remembers how he and his brother were expelled by being publically humiliated before the class when their father could not pay the school fees. His father had an interest in romanticised German history which he passed on to his son. Heinrich and his brothes were made to wear dresses and sailor suits as boys. Heinrich was not a brilliant student, but did very well because he was extremely diligent. He was disappointed with World War I because he did not complete officer cadet training before the War ended. One biographer maintains that although he held strong anti-semitism views the Holocaust was forced on him by Hitler from above and Heydrich from below. That is something I for one do not subscribe to.

    What I find incredible about Himmler is, like so many people in dictatorial power, how out of touch he was with reality towards the end. I mean, as the architect of The Final Solution, how on earth did he think that the victorious allies would ever want to broker a peace deal with him? Why waste even a single second thinking that could ever happen. Extraordinary. Did he not think that at some point pretty soon he would be held account for the worst atrocities the world has ever seen? Did he really think he could distance himself from blame?

    Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Himmler

    Heinrich Himmler ~ Parents

    His grandfather was a policeman. His father was considered to be a social climber. He managed to secure a position as a tutor to Bavarian royal family, establishing ties with Prince Arnulf's family. He became the headmaster at a gymnasium (academically selective seconadry school). While servile to his social superiors, he had little emphathy with those that were less well off. He could be extremely cruel to the boys in psychological ways. One boy remembers how he and his brother were expelled by being pubically humiliated before the class when their father could not pay the school fees. His father had an interest in romanticised German history which he passed on to his son. His father was very demanding. His mother Anna Heyder was the daughter of tradesmen. She was much more permissive and spoiled her son. The maid became a family nurse for the young children, helping to further endulge Heinrich.

    Heinrich Himmler ~ Brothers

    Heinrich had two brothers, an older brother Gerhard was born in 1898, 2 years before Heinrich. A younger brother Ernst was born in 1905.

    Heinrich Himmler ~ Childhood

    Heinrich was born in Munich on October 7, 1900. He and his brothers grew up in a staunchly middle-class, comfortable Catholic German family. He was shortsighted and had to wear glases. He was not popular with the other boys, in part because he was not physically strong. Many though did respect the grades he got in school and his diligence. His mother insisted her boys take piano lessons. Gerhard showed some talent; Heinrich did not. Their father, while their mother sewed, would often read to the boys. These books on German history steeped Heinrich in the glories of medieval German knights and Wagerinan legends. By the age of 10, Heinrich knew more about German military history than his teachers. There was a statue of Jesus on the wall before which the boys would say their prayers before bed each night.

    Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Himmler

    Heinrich Himmler ~ Education

    Himmler was educated at a secondary school in Landshut. He served as an officer cadet in the Eleventh Bavarian Regiment at the end of World War I, later obtaining a diploma in agriculture from Munich Technical High School where he studied from 1918 to 1922.

    Heinrich Himmler ~ Religion

    Himmler was raised in a staunchly Catholic family and he was dutiful until he entered High School.

    Heinrich Himmler ~ Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich

    After working briefly as a salesman for a firm of fertilizer manufacturers, the young Himmler joined a para-military, nationalist organization and participated in the Munich Beer-Hall putsch of November 1923 as standard-bearer at the side of Ernst Rohm, Secretary to Gregor Strasser and his deputy district leader in Bavaria, Swabia and the Palatinate, he was also acting propaganda leader of the NSDAP from 1925 to 1930.

    After marrying in 1927, Himmler returned to poultry farming for a time but was singularly unsuccessful in the business of raising chickens. In January 1929 he was appointed head of Hitler's personal bodyguard, the black-shirted Schutzstaffel (SS), at that time a small body of 200 men which was subsequently to become under his leadership an all-embracing empire within the Nazi State. Elected in 1930 to the Reichstag as Nazi deputy for Weser-Ems, Himmler concentrated on extending SS membership - which reached 52,000 by 1933 - and securing its independence from control by Rohm's SA, to which it was initially subordinated.

    He organized the Security Service (SD) under Reinhard Heydrich, originally an ideological intelligence service of the Party, and together the two men ensured that the Nazis consolidated their power over Bavaria in 1933. In March 1933 Himmler was appointed Munich Police President and shortly afterwards he became Commander of the political police throughout Bavaria. In September 1933 he was made Commander of all political police units outside Prussia and, though formally under Goering, became head of the Prussian Police and Gestapo on 20 April 1934.

    Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Himmler

    The turning-point in Himmler's career was his masterminding of the purge of 30 June 1934 which smashed the power of the SA and paved the way for the emergence of the SS as an independent organization charged with 'safeguarding the embodiment of the National Socialist idea' and translating the racism of the regime into a dynamic principle of action. By 17 June 1936 Himmler had successfully completed his bid to win control of the political and criminal police throughout the Third Reich, becoming head of the Gestapo in addition to his position as Reichsfuhrer of the SS.

    A very able organizer and administrator, meticulous, calculating and efficient, Himmler's astonishing capacity for work and irrepressible power-lust showed itself in his accumulation of official posts and his perfectioning of the methods of organized State terrorism against political and other opponents of the regime. In 1933 he had set up the first concentration camp in Dachau and in the next few years, with Hitler's encouragement, greatly extended the range of persons who qualified for internment in the camps.

    Himmler's philosophical mysticism, his cranky obsessions with mesmerism, the occult, herbal remedies and homeopathy went hand in hand with a narrow-minded fanatical racialism and commitment to the 'Aryan' myth. In a speech in January 1937 Himmler declared that:

      'There is no more living proof of hereditary and racial laws than in a concentration camp. You find there hydrocephalics, squinters, deformed individuals, semi-Jews: a considerable number of inferior people.'

    The mission of the German people was:

      'the struggle for the extermination of any sub-humans, all over the world who are in league against Germany, which is the nucleus of the Nordic race; against Germany, nucleus of the German nation, against Germany the custodian of human culture: they mean the existence or non-existence of the white man; and we guide his destiny'.

    Himmler's decisive innovation was to transform the race question from 'a negative concept based on matter-of-course anti-semitism' into 'an organizational task for building up the SS'. Racism was to be safeguarded by the reality of a race society, by the concentration camps presided over by Himmler's Deaths Head Formations in Germany, just as during World War II the theories of 'Aryan' supremacy would be established by the systematic extermination of Jews and Slavs in Poland and Russia. Himmler's romantic dream of a race of blue-eyed, blond heroes was to be achieved by cultivating an elite according to 'laws of selection' based on criteria of physiognomy, mental and physical tests, character and spirit. His aristocratic concept of leadership aimed at consciously breeding a racially organized order which would combine charismatic authority with bureaucratic discipline.

    Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Himmler

    The SS man would represent a new human type - warrior, administrator, 'scholar' and leader, all in one - whose messianic mission was to undertake a vast colonization of the East. This synthetic aristocracy, trained in a semi-closed society and superimposed on the Nazi system as a whole, would demonstrate the value of its blood through 'creative action' and achievement.

    From the outset of his career as Reichsfuhrer of the SS, Himmler had introduced the principle of racial selection and special marriage laws which would ensure the systematic coupling of people of 'high value'. His promotion of illegitimacy by establishing the State-registered human stud farm known as Lebensborn, where young girls selected for their perfect Nordic traits could procreate with SS men and their offspring were better cared for than in maternity homes for married mothers, reflected Himmler's obsession with creating a race of 'supermen' by means of breeding.

    Himmler's notorious procreation order of 28 October 1939 to the entire SS that 'it will be the sublime task of German women and girls of good blood acting not frivolously but from a profound moral seriousness to become mothers to children of soldiers setting off to battle' and his demand that war heroes should be allowed a second marriage expressed the same preoccupation. The small, diffident man who looked more like a humble bank clerk than Germany's police dictator, whose pedantic demeanour and 'exquisite courtesy' fooled one English observer into stating that 'nobody I met in Germany is more normal', was a curious mixture of bizarre, romantic fantasy and cold, conscienceless efficiency.

    Described as 'a man of quiet unemotional gestures, a man without nerves', he suffered from psycho-somatic illness, severe headaches and intestinal spasms and almost fainted at the sight of a hundred eastern Jews (including women) being executed for his benefit on the Russian front. Subsequent to this experience, he ordered as a 'more humane means' of execution the use of poison gas in specially constructed chambers disguised as shower rooms. The petty-bourgeois eccentric whose natural snobbery led him to welcome old aristocratic blood into the SS, revived a web of obsolete religious and cosmological dogmas linking new recruits to their distant Germanic ancestors.

    Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Himmler with Adolf Hitler

    He cultivated the 'return to the soil' and the dream of German peasant- soldier farms in the East while at the same time proving himself a diabolically skilful organizer of rationalized modern extermination methods. The supreme technician of totalitarian police power who saw himself as a reincarnation of the pre-Christian Saxon, Henry the Fowler, advancing eastwards against the Slavs - he organized the thousandth anniversary of Henry's death in 1936 - Himmler perfectly expressed in his own personality the contradictions of National Socialism. For him, the SS was at one and the same time the resurrection of the ancient Order of the Teutonic Knights with himself as grand master, the breeding of a new Herrenvolk aristocracy based on traditional values of honour, obedience, courage and loyalty, and the instrument of a vast experiment in modern racial engineering.

    Through this privileged caste which was to be the hard core of German imperial dominion in Europe, the nucleus of a new State apparatus would emerge with its tentacles impinging on all spheres of life in the expanded Third Reich. By recruiting 'Aryans' of different nationalities into his Waffen-SS Himmler envisaged the creation of 'a German Reich of the German Nation' based on the feudal allegiance of its communities to the lordship and protection of the Fuhrer, embodying a Germany that would become the centre of a higher political entity. By the end of the 1930s the possibility of forging this Greater Germanic Reich of the future came closer to realization as Himmler reached the peak of his power.

    In October 1939 Hitler appointed him Reichskommissar fur die Festigung des Deutschen Volkstums (Reich Commissar for the Strengthening of Germandom) and he was given absolute control over the newly annexed slice of Poland. Responsible for bringing people of German descent back from outside the Reich into its borders, he set out to replace Poles and Jews by Volksdeutsche from the Baltic lands and various outlying parts of Poland. Within a year over a million Poles and 300,000 Jews had been uprooted and driven eastwards. With the characteristic self-pitying and ascetic ethos of self-abnegation that he inculcated into the SS, Himmler informed the SS-Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Regiment:

      'Gentlemen, it is much easier in many cases to go into combat with a company than to suppress an obstructive population of low cultural level, or to carry out executions or to haul away people or to evict crying and hysterical women.'

    It was Himmler's master stroke that he succeeded in indoctrinating the SS with an apocalyptic 'idealism' beyond all guilt and responsibility, which rationalized mass murder as a form of martyrdom and harshness towards oneself. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Himmler's notorious speech on 4 October 1943 to the SS Group Leaders in Poznan:

      'One principle must be absolute for the SS man: we must be honest, decent, loyal, and comradely to members of our own blood and to no one else. What happens to the Russians, what happens to the Czechs, is a matter of utter indifference to me.

      Such good blood of our own kind as there may be among the nations we shall acquire for ourselves, if necessary by taking away the children and bringing them up among us. Whether the other peoples live in comfort or perish of hunger interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our Kultur. Whether or not 10,000 Russian women collapse from exhaustion while digging a tank ditch interests me only in so far as the tank ditch is completed for Germany. We shall never be rough or heartless where it is not necessary; that is clear. We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude to animals, will also adopt a decent attitude to these human animals, but it is a crime against our own blood to worry about them and to bring them ideals.

      I shall speak to you here with all frankness of a very grave matter. Among ourselves it should be mentioned quite frankly, and yet we will never speak of it publicly. I mean the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish people. Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand. To have stuck it out and at the same time - apart from exceptions caused by human weakness - to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written.'

    Heinrich Himmler ~ Second World War

    During the Second World War the SS Death's Head Units were put in charge of Germany's Concentration Camps. The SS also followed the German Army into the Soviet Union where they had the responsibility of murdering Jews, gypsies, communists and partisans. By June 1944 the SS had over 800,000 members: Hitler's Body Guard (200,000) Waffen (594,000) and Death Head Units (24,000).

    There was great competition between the SD (Sicherheitsdienst) and the German military intelligence organization, Abwehr. In June, 1944 Himmler took over Abwehr and after the July Plot the organization was absorbed into the SD.

    In 1944 Himmler was put in charge of the German Army facing the advancing United States Army. In January, 1945, he was switched to face the Red Army in the east.

    Heinrich Himmler ~ Betrayal, Capture And Death

    By the spring of 1945 Himmler had lost faith in German victory probably partially due to his discussions with his masseur Felix Kersten and Walter Schellenberg, and came to the realization that if the Nazi regime was to have any chance of survival, it would need to seek peace with Britain and the United States. Toward this end, he contacted Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden at Lübeck, near the Danish border and began negotiations to surrender in the West. Himmler hoped that the British and Americans would fight their Russian allies with the remains of the Wehrmacht. When Hitler discovered this, Himmler was declared a traitor and stripped of all his titles and ranks. At the time of Himmler's denouncement, he held the positions of Reich Leader-SS, Chief of the German Police, Reich Commissioner of German Nationhood, Reich Minister of the Interior, Supreme Commander of the Volkssturm, and Supreme Commander of the Home Army.

    Himmler next turned to the Americans as a defector, contacting the headquarters of Dwight Eisenhower and proclaiming he would surrender all of Germany to the Allies if Himmler was spared from prosecution as a Nazi leader. In a final example of Himmler's mental state at this point, he sent a personal application to General Eisenhower stating that he wished to apply for the position as "Minister of Police" in the post war government of Germany. Eisenhower, however, refused to have anything to do with Himmler, and Himmler was subsequently declared a major war criminal.

    Heinrich Himmler taking his own life
    Heinrich Himmler

    Attempting to evade arrest, Himmler disguised himself as a member of the Gendarmerie but was captured on May 22nd in Bremen, Germany, by a British Army unit. In captivity he was soon recognized. Himmler was scheduled to stand trial with other German leaders as a major war criminal at Nuremberg, but committed suicide in Lüneburg by swallowing a cyanide capsule before interrogation could begin.

    Feared by many, but respected by some of his colleagues, many historians have argued that Himmler was more made by those who worked under him rather than by his own designs. He was survived by his wife and daughter Gudrun (Burwitz) (b. 1929), who still lives in Germany to this day.

    Heinrich Himmler ~ Astonishing Love Letters

    On the 27th January 2014 there appeared in the Daily Mirror in the UK a remarkable article on Himmler's love letter. A flavour of it is scanned below.

    I would say the Daily Mirror is the best newspaper in the UK today and time and again you come across fascinating articles like this.

    Daily Mirror Subscriptions & Kindle

    Images below © Daily Mirror, 2014.

    01/ Front Cover
    02/ Love Letters from a monster
    03/ Part 1: "I'm Off To Auschwitz. Kisses. Yours."
    04/ Part 2
    05/ Part 3
    06/ Part 4
    07/ Part 5
    08/ Part 6
    09/ Part 7
    10/ Part 8

    All Images above © Daily Mirror, 2014.

    Links

    Full Biography >> Parents >> Brothers >> Childhood >> Education >> Religion >> >> Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich >> 2nd World War >> >> Betrayal, Capture And Death >> Heinrich Himmler's Astonishing Love Letters

    Adolf Hitler >> Heinrich Himmler >> Josef Goebbels >> Triumph of the Will >> Triumph of the Will 2 Dvd >> Leni Riefenstahl >> Rudolf Hess >> Martin Bormann >> Herman Goering >> Who Helped Hermann Goering Escape The Hangman? >> Josef Mengele >> Adolf Eichman >> Irma Grese

    Kristallnacht >> The Final Solution >> Auschwitz >> Nuremberg Party Rallies

    Daily Mail - 2nd May 1945 >> Daily Mail - 3rd May 1945 >> Daily Mail - VE Day - It's All Over >> Scans added of the best books of Germany during the war and after incl. definitive guide on The Nuremberg Rallies - Smartphone Page >> Best 2nd World War Book Scans Added >> British War Dvds

    Advertise >> 2nd World War Dvds & Books available @ amazon.com

    Top of Page >> Search Site

  • Releases & Links

    Heinrich Himmler Biog. here. Capture And Death here.

    Buy Himmler Books


    Enlarge Image

    Website design/enquiries: Lenin