Heinrich himmler essay
I have been to Berlin and Munich on this search, and I have walked over the gravel at Dachau. I have begun to think of these words as ciphers. Repeat them to myself, hoping to find a door into the mind of this man, even as his character first forms so that I might learn how it is he becomes himself. It is not easy. The earliest entries in the diary betray so little. Like the words of a schoolboy commanded to write what the teacher requires of him, they are wooden and stiff.
It is easy to see how this would be true. One simply has to imagine Gebhard standing behind Heinrich and tapping his foot. Braces and straps were used to correct posture while standing and sitting, and to prevent masturbation. Schreber advised, should be permeated by the impossibility of locking something in his heart. Of course there cannot be one answer to such a monumental riddle, nor does any event in history have a single cause. Rather a field exists, like a field of gravity that is created by the movements of many bodies.
Each life is influenced and it in turn becomes an influence. Whatever is a cause is also an effect. Childhood experience is just one element in the determining field. As a man who made history, Heinrich Himmler shaped many childhoods, including, in the most subtle of ways, my own. One can take for instance any formative condition of his private life, the fact that he was a frail child, for example, favored by his mother, who could not meet masculine standards, and show that his circumstance derived its real meaning from a larger social system that gave inordinate significance to masculinity.
Is there a child who existed before the conventional history that we tell of ourselves, one who, though invisible to us, still shapes events, even through this absence? There was a great shared suffering, and yet we never wept together, except for my mother, who would alternately weep and rage when she was drunk. Her effort was ceaseless.
Just so, young Heinrich was taught to befriend boys whose fathers held prestigious jobs; he was taught to be punctilious in manner and increasingly harsh. Most men can remember a time in their lives when they were not so different from girls, and they also remember when that time ended. In ancient Greece, a young boy lived with his mother, practicing a feminine life in her household, until they day he was taken from her into to the camp of men.
From this day forward the life that had been soft and graceful became rigorous and hard, as the older boy was prepared for the life of a soldier. What did they think, those who were enlisted for this work? They say simply that they are metal forgers. Many learn this ability in childhood, to become strangers to themselves, she points out. In high school, he and his friends decoyed and beat up gay men for sport. Later he was drafted for the Korean War and assigned to interrogate Russian prisoners. He was given two men to question. With the first man he made every kind of threat.
But he carried nothing out. It was in this area that Pohl really made his mark. Despite the supposedly revolutionary nature of the National Socialist government, expenditure still had to be justified, budgets formulated and fiscal probity maintained to the satisfaction of both the civil service and the party. Pohl, drawing on his long experience in naval administration, succeeded in achieving all of this.
In addition, he established relationships between his office and the various departments and ministries on whom the SS depended for its budget: the party treasury, the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of the Interior; the Army Ministry and so forth. By Adolf Hitler appeared to have complete control over Germany, but like most dictators, he constantly feared that he might be ousted by others who wanted his power. Albert Speer pointed out in his book, Inside the Third Reich : "After there quickly formed various rival factions that held divergent views, spied on each other, and held each other in contempt.
A mixture of scorn and dislike became the prevailing mood within the party. Each new dignitary rapidly gathered a circle of intimates around him. Thus Himmler associated almost exclusively with his SS following, from whom he could count on unqualified respect As an intellectual Goebbels looked down on the crude philistines of the leading group in Munich, who for their part made fun of the conceited academic's literary ambitions. Goering considered neither the Munich philistines nor Goebbels sufficiently aristocratic for him and therefore avoided all social relations with them; whereas Himmler, filled with the elitist missionary zeal of the SS felt far superior to all the others.
One of the consequences of this policy was that these men developed a dislike for each other. Roehm was particularly hated because as leader of the Sturm Abteilung SA he had tremendous power and had the potential to remove any one of his competitors. Himmler asked Reinhard Heydrich to assemble a dossier on Roehm. Industrialists such as Albert Voegler , Gustav Krupp , Alfried Krupp , Fritz Thyssen and Emile Kirdorf , who had provided the funds for the Nazi victory, were unhappy with Roehm's socialistic views on the economy and his claims that the real revolution had still to take place.
Adolf Hitler was also aware that Roehm and the SA had the power to remove him. Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler played on this fear by constantly feeding him with new information on Roehm's proposed coup. Their masterstroke was to claim that Gregor Strasser , whom Hitler hated, was part of the planned conspiracy against him. Himmler along with his loyal assistants, Reinhard Heydrich , Kurt Daluege and Walter Schellenberg , drew up a list of people outside the SA that they wanted killed. Snyder argues: "Hitler later alleged that his trusted friend Roehm had entered a conspiracy to take over political power.
On June, Hitler came to his final decision to eliminate the socialist element in the party. A list of hundreds of victims was prepared. On 29th June, During the next 24 hours other senior SA officers were arrested on the way to the meeting. Behind him were two detectives with pistols at the ready. I hear Lutze putting in a good word for him with Hitler.
Then Hitler walks up to him, greets him, shakes hand with his wife and asks them to leave the hotel, it isn't a pleasant place for them to stay in, that day. Now the bus arrives. He walks past Hitler with his head bowed, completely apathetic. Himmler ordered Theodor Eicke to carry out the task. According to Paul R. Maracin , The author of The Night of the Long Knives: Forty-Eight Hours that Changed the History of the World : "Ten minutes later, SS officers Michael Lippert and Theodor Eicke appeared, and as the embittered, scar-faced veteran of verdun defiantly stood in the middle of the cell stripped to the waist, the two SS officers riddled his body with revolver bullets.
According to Louis L. He described Hitler's sense of shock at the moral degeneracy of his oldest comrades. As a result of this purge the SS was now the principal instrument of internal rule in Germany. Now that Himmler was leader of his own independent SS, he could expand the organization. By the end of it had , members. Eventually, Himmler came to the conclusion that the mass recruitment which had taken place was very damaging to the elite status of the SS and so in over , SS men were discharged on moral, racial and physical grounds.
Himmler now introduced a complex five year enrolment procedure. Having been declared physically and racially suitable for SS membership, an eighteen-year-old youth became an applicant bewerber. At the end of his probationary period he swore the oath of alliance to Adolf Hitler. At twenty-one he became liable for military service which lasted two years.
It was only on his return to civilian life that he became a full SS man. The typical part-time member of the SS gave up one evening a week for ideological work and training. One afternoon, usually Wednesday or Saturday, was set aside for physical training and sport. One weekend in each month an SS man had to spend Saturday afternoon and Sunday on military training, important elements of which were drill, crowd control and shooting.
This smart and disciplined para-military force enabled the Nazi Party to maintain a large auxiliary police force at nominal cost. The SS could be called out at short notice in case of a national emergency such as an anti-Nazi putsch, a demonstration or a trade union dispute. The SS were also used to help the police with crowd control and security arrangements for a visit by Hitler or any other prominent member of the Nazi Party. SS headquarters in Berlin would summon SS men to duty with a printed postcard. An SS man's employee was forbidden by law to prevent or hinder his employee from responding to such a summons.
On 17th June, , Hitler designated Himmler as head of the unified police system of the Third Reich. He was also put in charge of the Gestapo. As Nazi power spread so did the fearsome reputation of the Gestapo. Backed by the system of concentration camps and by his right under the law to extract confessions by beating, the Gestapo man in the leather overcoat and dark, snap-brim hat became a figure of terror.
The strict hierarchy was progressively modeled on that of the S. The partitioning of powers was reinforced by the protection of secrecy. Discretion was one of the basic principles of S. It constituted one of the essential bases of the Gestapo which Himmler, as he had done with the S. Himmler was in overall control of the concentration camps in Germany. Hermann Langbein , the author of Against All Hope: Resistance in the Nazi Concentration Camps has pointed out: "National Socialism replaced democratic institutions with a system of command and obedience, the so-called Fuhrer principle, and it was this system that the Nazis installed in their concentration camps.
It goes without saying that any command by a member of the SS had to be unconditionally carried out by all prisoners. Refusal or hesitation was liable to lead to a cruel death. The camp administration not only saw to it that every command was carried out, but also held inmates assigned to certain jobs responsible for completing them. In this way it facilitated its own work and was also able to play one prisoner off against another Each unit housing prisoners, whether a barrack or a brick building, was called a block.
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The camp administration held a senior block inmate Blockdltester responsible for enforcing discipline, keeping order, and carrying out all commands. If a dwelling unit was divided into rooms, a senior block inmate was assisted by senior barracks inmates and their staff. A senior camp inmate Lageraltester was responsible for the operation of the entire camp, and it was he who proposed the appointment of senior block inmates to the officer-in-charge.
Langbein, who was an inmate in Dachau , explained that each work group was headed by a capo trusty. Capos, senior block inmates, and senior camp inmates were identified by an armband with the appropriate inscription. These armband wearers, as they were generally called, were under the protection of the camp administration, often enjoyed extensive privileges, and as a rule had unlimited power over those under them.
This is to be taken literally, for if an armband wearer killed an underling, he did not with a few exceptions have to answer to anyone, provided a timely report of the death was made and the roll call was corrected. An ordinary prisoner was completely at the mercy of his capo and senior block inmate. Heinrich Himmler argued that: "These approximately 40, German political and professional criminals We have appointed so-called capos here; one of these is the supervisor responsible for thirty, forty, or a hundred other prisoners. The moment he is made a capo, he no longer sleeps where they do.
He is responsible for getting the work done, for making sure that there is no sabotage, that people are clean and the beds are of good construction So he has to spur his men on. The minute we're dissatisfied with him, he is no longer a capo and bunks with his men again. He knows that they will then kill him during the first night. Inmates had to wear a coloured symbol to indicate their category.
This included political prisoners red , convicts greens , Jews yellow , homosexuals pink , Jehovah's Witnesses violet and what the Nazis described as anti-socials black. The anti-social group included gypsies and prostitutes. The Schutzstaffel SS preferred those with a criminal record to be capos. As Hermann Langbein has pointed out: "As a rule the SS bestowed armbands on prisoners they could expect to be willing tools in return for their privileged status.
As soon as German convicts arrived in the camps the SS preferred them to morally stable men. Himmler spent very little time with his wife. Lina Heydrich suggested that Himmler was embarrassed by her appearance: "Size 50 knickers, that's all there was to her.
In Heinrich Himmler began an affair with his young secretary, Hedwig Potthast. The couple set up home in Mecklenburg. Hedwig gave birth to a son, Helge born and a daughter, Nanette Dorothea born Lina Heydrich commented that Himmler become more relaxed and human as a result of his relationship with Hedwig.
At one time, she said, he had wanted to divorce Marga to marry her. It is more likely perhaps that he stopped himself for the reasons he had refused Wolff permission to divorce. There must be no malicious gossip around the person of the Reichsfuhrer; he above all had to set an example of decency. Although separated from his wife, Himmler remained close to his daughter, Gudrun Himmler , who he phoned every few days and wrote to her at least once a week.
Himmler adored his young, blue-eyed, blonde-haired daughter and would often take her to official state functions. In he even took his daughter to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp.
Gudrun wrote in her diary: "Today, we went to the SS concentration camp at Dachau. We saw everything we could. We saw the gardening work. We saw the pear trees. We saw all the pictures painted by the prisoners. And afterwards we had a lot to eat.
Essay: Heinrich Himmler
It was very nice. Himmler devised methods of mass murder based on a rationalized extermination process. His main task was to eliminate "racial degenerates" that Hitler believed stood in the way of German's regeneration. The SS also followed the German Army into the Soviet Union where they had the responsibility of murdering Jews, gypsies, communists and partisans. After the war Lieutenant Colonel Richard Schulze-Kossens , who fought with the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler in Poland in defended his troops in this action: "Let me say as a soldier I condemn all crimes regardless of who committed them, whether by us or by others, and that includes the crimes committed against captured SS men after the capitulation.
But I make no reproaches in that respect. I am not recriminating, I only want to say that in war, amongst the mass of soldiers, there are always elements who develop criminal tendencies, and I can only condemn them. I would not say that the Waffen-SS was typically criminal, but there are well-known incidents. I don't want to excuse anything, but I must say one thing which is, that it is natural in war, during hot and heavy fighting, for young officers to sometimes lose their nerve.
According to Wolff, Himmler noticed a tall, blond, blue-eyed man of about twenty whom he engaged in conversation. Himmler asked the man if both his parents were Jews. When he replied "Yes" he followed up with "Do you have any ancestors who were not Jews? Standing close to the pit, Himmler became increasingly distressed as the shooting commenced.
According to Wolff: "After many volleys, I could see that Himmler was trembling. He ran his hand across his face and swayed His face was almost green He immediately threw up. After the killing was over, Himmler made a speech to the men in which he told them to "see it through". Wolff claims that Himmler told Nebe to "devise a less gruesome means of mass execution than simply shooting people. In February , Oswald Pohl took control of the administration of the concentration camps. Pohl clashed with Theodor Eicke over the way the camps should be run.
Inmates were to be better housed and fed, and even encouraged to take an interest in their work. Those who did were to be trained and rewarded with their freedom. There was a small reduction in the number of cases of maltreatment, but food and accommodation were still appalling, and in return for these 'improvements' prisoners were still expected to work eleven hours per day, six or seven days a week.
Pohl came under pressure from Albert Speer to increase production at the camps. Pohl complained to Himmler: "Reichsminister Speer appears not to know that we have , inmates at present and are fighting continually against epidemics and a high death-rate because of the billeting of the prisoners and the sanitary arrangements are totally inadequate.
In the vegetable season issue carrots, kohlrabi, white turnips and whatever such vegetables there are in large quantity and store up sufficient for the prisoners in the winter so that they had a sufficient quantity every day. I believe we will raise the state of health substantially thereby. As the war progressed Adolf Hitler became greatly concerned about the problems of production. Himmler informed Hitler that a growing number of prisoners were placed at the disposal of the armaments industry.
Heinrich Himmler | Biography & Facts | evyquryh.tk
According to Hermann Langbein , the author of Against All Hope: Resistance in the Nazi Concentration Camps : Auschwitz's four rapidly erected crematories with built-in gas chambers made such killing possible with the smallest expenditure of guards and service personnel.
But because the arms industry required ever more workers, those destined for extermination were subjected to a selection process, something that was not done in the extermination camps of eastern Poland. Himmler instructed all camp commandants to lower the mortality rate substantially. On 20th January , wrote: "I shall hold the camp commandant personally responsible for doing everything possible to preserve the manpower of the prisoners.
I ask you and Richard Glucks head of concentration camp inspectorate with all my heart to let no week pass by when one of you does not appear unexpectedly at this or that camp and goad, goad, goad. In a speech made on 4th October, , to members of the Schutzstaffel SS , Himmler argued: "One basic principle must be the absolute rule for the SS men - we must be honest, decent, loyal, and comradely to members of our own blood and to nobody else. What happens to a Russian or to a Czech does not interest me in the slightest. What the nations can offer in the way of good blood of our type we will take, if necessary by kidnapping their children and raising them here with us.
Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only so far as we need them as slaves for our culture; otherwise, it is of no interest to me. Whether ten thousand Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an antitank ditch interests me only so far as the antitank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be rough and heartless when it is not necessary, that is clear. We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude toward animals, will also assume a decent attitude toward these human animals.
Snyder has pointed out: "Himmler expanded the SS from three to thirty-five divisions, until it rivaled the Wehrmacht itself. Made Minister of the Interior on August 25, , he strengthened his grip on the civil service and the courts. Meanwhile, he enlarged the concentration camps and the extermination camps, organized a supply of expendable labor, and the authorized pseudomedical experiments in the camps On July 21, , Hitler made him supreme commander of the Volkssturm defending the German capital and the chief of the Werwolf unit that was expected to carry on a last-ditch fight in the Bavarian mountains.
In April Oswald Pohl issued orders to camp commanders: "Work must be, in the true sense of the world, exhausting in order to obtain maximum output The hours of work are not limited. The duration depends on the technical structure of the camp and the work to be done and is determined by the camp Kommandant alone.
Heavy bombing of the camps further damaged production.
In January, , he was switched to face the advancing Red Army in the east. Unable to halt the decline in fortunes of the German forces, Himmler became convinced that Germany needed to seek peace with Britain and the United States. In March, , Himmler had a meeting with Joseph Goebbels. He recorded in his diary: "Himmler summarises the situation correctly when he says that his mind tells him that we have little hope of winning the war militarily but instinct tells him that sooner or later some political opening will emerge to swing it in our favour.
Himmler thinks this more likely in the West than the East. He thinks that England will come to her senses, which I rather doubt. As his remarks show, Himmler is entirely Western-oriented; from the East he expects nothing whatsoever. I still think that something is more likely to be achieved in the East since Stalin seems to me more realistic than the trigger-happy Anglo-American Roosevelt. General Walter Schellenberg suggested to Himmler at the beginning of that he should open negotiations with the Western Powers.
Himmler was at first reluctant to go against Adolf Hitler but when the Swedish internationalist Count Folke Bernadotte , arrived in Berlin in February to discuss the release of Norwegian and Danish prisoners on behalf of the Swedish Red Cross, he agreed to a meeting.
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However, Himmler could not make up his mind to speak out. Himmler told Bernadotte that Hitler intended to commit suicide in the next few days: "In the situation that has now arisen I consider my hands free. I admit that Germany is defeated. In order to save as great a part of Germany as possible from a Russian invasion I am willing to capitulate on the Western Front in order to enable the Western Allies to advance rapidly towards the east.
But I am not prepared to capitulate on the Eastern Front. Truman but they rejected the idea, insisting on unconditional surrender. On 28th April the negotiations were leaked to the press. Hanna Reitsch was with Hitler when he heard the news: "His colour rose to a heated red and his face was unrecognizable After the lengthy outburst, Hitler sank into a stupor, and for a time the entire bunker was silent.
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In an attempt to escape Himmler now took the name and documents of a dead village policeman. Although in heavy disguise, Himmler was arrested by a British army officer in Bremen on 22nd May. Before he could he interrogated, Himmler committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule. The American journalist, Ann Stringer , gave Himmler's wife the news of his death: "Frau Margarete Himmler maintained today that she was still proud of her infamous husband and shrugged away the world's hatred of the dead Gestapo chief with the calm observation that no one loves a policeman.
When I told her that husband Heinrich had been captured and had died from his own dose of poison, Frau Himmler showed absolutely no emotion. She sat, hands folded in her lap, and merely shrugged her shoulders. Until then she had not known what had happened to Himmler since he last telephoned her from Berlin around Easter while she was at their home near Munich.
When first captured by the Fifth Army she had claimed a weak heart and internment camp officials, fearful of a heart attack, never told her of her husband's death. But even when I told her that Himmler was buried in an unmarked grave Frau Himmler showed no surprise, no interest. It was the coldest exhibition of complete control of human feeling that I have ever witnessed. Gudrun Himmler , refused to believe that her father had committed suicide.
She pointed out that his body was photographed before he was cremated: "In those pictures he looks more as though he was about to inspect a parade. He had a typical way of placing his hands on those occasions, and I don't accept that he'd hold his hands that way if, as it was reported, he was biting into a poison capsule. I believe that picture shows him really inspecting a parade. To me it's a retouched photo from when he was alive. Despite the inherent advantage of his father being headmaster, Himmler never achieved much academically, even though his father employed a personal tutor.
His phenomenal memory served him well in history and geography.
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However, he failed to get in the top third of his graduation class, and passed his much-deferred Abitur examination with just two days to spare before taking up his place at technical college. Nor did he shine in music. He started learning to play the piano, but had no real talent for it, and was eventually persuaded to give it up. When war broke out in , Himmler became inflamed with the patriotic zeal of the times and two years later his father unsuccessfully attempted to get him a commission.
His diaries are drenched in the sentiments of the Kaiser's Intellectual Brigade of Guards, who believed in the intellectual superiority of the martial elite, and fervently expounded the concepts of the Pan-Germanic League that believed Germany should encompass all. A real man will love a woman in three ways - first as a dear child who must be admonished, perhaps even punished when she is foolish We discussed the danger of such things.
I have experienced it, one lay so closely together, by couples, body to body, hot human being by human being, one catches on fire and has to summon all one's rational faculties. The girls arc then so far gone they no longer know what they are doing. It is the hot, unconscious longing of the whole individual for the satisfaction of a frightfully powerful natural drive. That is why it is also so dangerous for the man and involves such responsibility. One could do as one wants with the helpless girls, yet one has enough to do to struggle with oneself.
I am indeed sorry for the girls. He Heinrich Himmler had a pale, round, expressionless face, almost Mongolian, and a completely inoffensive air. He Heinrich Himmler looked to me like an intelligent elementary schoolteacher, certainly not a man of violence The pattern of a lifetime was established. This episode shows an outstandingly pompous man, middle-aged at After there quickly formed various rival factions that held divergent views, spied on each other, and held each other in contempt.
The difficult economic conditions of the early s forced Himmler to take a job in a manure-processing factory near Munich. During this period, he made contact with members of the fledgeling Nazi Party and decided to join. Himmler participated in the Munich putsch but lost interest in politics after the uprising failed. Himmler worked briefly as a chicken farmer before returning to the party in He joined the Schutzstaffel or SS, then just a small division of the SA and under considerable pressure to disband.
This appointment surprised many in the party, who doubted the short, bespectacled, bookish clerk could keep his position or keep the SS alive. Himmler was a ferocious worker who defied this pessimism. He raised its profile, implemented recruiting strategies and expanded SS membership from just in to , a decade later. He also envisioned the SS as the epitome of racial purity and Aryan supremacy. Through the early s, membership of the SS was restricted to those of Aryan stock. This event, carried out mostly by the SS, provided Himmler with further opportunities to increase his personal power and influence.
Later, with the onset of World War II, he had ultimate command of the Einsatzgruppen mobile killing squads and the network of death camps, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sobibor and Treblinka.