Heinrich Himmler: An Expository Essay

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Historical documents detailing the life and events surrounding Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust revealed some contributory personalities who led to the demise of millions of Jews. Accordingly, “the German socialist politician Heinrich Himmler commanded the Schutzstaffel (SS), Hitler’s elite troops, and was head of the Gestapo” (Encyclopedia of European Social History 1). Although contrary belief was that Heinrich Himmler was just the head of the Gestapo, he was so much more. Heinrich Himmler was the second most powerful man in the Holocaust, in a sense, he executed more than 11 million people (Commission on Assisted Dying). Therefore, to truly understand the concept of the Holocaust, one needs to know more about Heinrich Himmler.

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Heinrich Himmler was reported to have been born on October 7, 1900 in Munich, Germany (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica). He was noted to have taken the course of agriculture after the first world war and have been disclosed to have joined the Nazi party in 1923 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). It was on January 6, 1929, four (4) years after joining the Nazi, Himmler was given the position of heading the SS, which, according to historical facts, “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)” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 1). As such, Himmler was perceived to have had the opportunity to expand the role and scope of the SS when, in January 1933, also four (4) years after he was delegated the leadership role of the SS, Himmler was noted to allegedly expand the number of men to 52,000 and also introduced two (2) relevant and critical functions of the SS: internal security as well as guardianship over racial purity (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).

From several historical underpinnings, it was revealed that Himmler exhibited manifestations of expanding his power by undertaking several critical endeavors. Himmler was attributed to have been given sole jurisdiction to the German police officers as well as investigators. He was also revealed to have established the “Kriminalpolizei (KriPo) as a police organization that grouped together all the criminal investigation agencies that existed in Germany” (Commission on Assisted Dying 1). As indicated, “Himmler coordinated the entire Nazi machinery of political suppression and racial “purification.” From 1937 on, the entire German population was screened for “Aryan” racial purity by Himmler’s mammoth bureaucratic apparatus” (Encyclopedia of World Biography 1). Concurrently, Himmler was also known to have openly opposed to Christianity which was regarded as “a dangerous obstacle to their plans to fight the ‘subhuman’” (Commission on Assisted Dying 1).

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In retrospect, it was stipulated that “it was Himmler whom Hitler entrusted with the planning and implementation of the ‘Final Solution’ (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 1). However, when the Germans realized they were losing the war, Himmler was noted to have made efforts to deflect and betray Hitler. According to the facts, “after the failure of the July 20, 1944, putsch, Himmler toyed with the idea of negotiating a separate peace with the western Allies while continuing to fight the Soviet Union. During the winter of 1944-1945, he considered using concentration camp prisoners as a bargaining chip to initiate such negotiations” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 1). His actions allegedly earned the ire of Hitler who eventually stripped Himmler of all his previous duties and was even ordered to be arrested.

In the end, Himmler’s death was documented to have been instigated through his own action of swallowing a cyanide capsule after being allegedly captured by the Russian soldiers and turned over to the British on May 23, 1945 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). Betrayal to the ideology he believed in and to the person he served must have led him to decide that dying was the most viable resort.

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  1. Commission on Assisted Dying. “Heinrich Himmler.” 22 February 2017. commissiononassisteddying.co.uk. Web. 3 May 2017.
  2. Encyclopedia of European Social History. “Himmler, Heinrich (1900–1945) .” 2001. encyclopedia.com. Web. 3 May 2017.
  3. Encyclopedia of World Biography. “Heinrich Himmler .” 2004. encyclopedia.com. Web. 3 May 2017.
  4. The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Heinrich Himmler.” 2017. britannica.com. Web. 3 May 2017.
  5. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Heinrich Himmler.” n.d. ushmm.org. Web. 3 May 2017.
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