Heinrich Himmler was a German Nazi police official and leader of the black-shirted Schutzstaffel (SS) troops. He was also the leader of the Gestapo, otherwise known as the German secret police. The work that he performed for Hitler has made Heinrich Himmler one of the most notorious war criminals of World War II.
Heinrich Himmler was born on October 7, 1900 in Munich. He was the son of a Catholic secondary school master. Himmler attended the Technical College in Munich, and also served in World War I as a clerk in the Eleventh Bavarian Infantry. He received a diploma in agriculture after the war and began to join militant rightist organizations. Himmler joined Hitler in 1919. In November of 1923, he participated in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, and was appointed business manager in Bavaria. It wasn’t until 1925 that Heinrich Himmler joined the Nazi Party and began to gain a great deal of power in it. In 1929, Himmler became the leader of the SS troops. He began increasing the size of the SS: it grew to 50,000 by 1933. He soon became head of Munich police and eventually all German police units outside of Prussia. In 1934, he established the Third Reich’s first concentration camp at Dachau. Himmler became the leader of the Gestapo in 1936 and began to set up his 17 concentration camps. In 1934, he was the Mastermind behind the blood purge that eliminated the SA as a power factor. Heinrich Himmler would make the SS the second most powerful armed body in Germany. When World War II began, Heinrich Himmler became even more powerful. In 1941, Hitler decided to rid the world of the Jews. Himmler was put in charge of organizing the death camps in Eastern Europe. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1943, Himmler was appointed Minister of the Interior. In 1944, Heinrich Himmler reached the height of his power because of a threat on Hitler’s life. He was the Commander in Chief of the German Home Forces, the most powerful man next to Hitler. During this time, more concentration camps began to appear. Unfortunately, Himmler’s power would soon fade away.
Heinrich Himmler began to suffer from psychosomatic illnesses during the end of the war, and because of his illness was shoved aside by Hitler. Himmler had hoped to succeed Hitler and had already negotiated with the Swedish to surrender Germany to the Allies but continue War against the Soviet Union. This event occurred in April of 1945. When Hitler learned of this, he stripped Himmler of all his offices and ordered him arrested. Himmler disguised himself as a common soldier and attempted to escape leaving Hitler to die in a bunker in Berlin. He was captured on May 21, 1945, by the British near Bremen and put in detention at Lunenburg. Heinrich Himmler committed suicide two days later by swallowing poison that he had concealed in his mouth throughout his ordeal.
Heinrich Himmler had been very devoted to Hitler. He was a ruthless man who sought power equal to that of Hitler’s. Himmler was fanatical in his belief of the Nazi ideology and created the reign of terror that came from the Third Reich. Heinrich Himmler is most remembered as the prime person behind the cause of the Holocaust and murderer of millions of Jews, slavs, and non-Aryan people throughout Germany.