Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi Leader Term Paper

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[. . .] I am talking about the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish people. It is one of those things that is easily said. "The Jewish people is being exterminated," every Party member will tell you, "perfectly clear, it's part of our plans, we're eliminating the Jews, exterminating them, a small matter" (Editors).

Himmler called the extermination of Jews the "final solution" to the "problem" of European Jews. The exterminations began with Russian Jews, but soon spread to all Jews as they were rounded up and shipped to concentration camps. Himmler's men were under no controls, and the Jews were often brutally tortured, brutalized, and assaulted before they were methodically killed.

Those that lived were little more than human skeletons, expected to work while surviving on miniscule amounts of food and water. Especially ghoulish, the Nazis attempted to fool the victims up to the last. "The victims were told [...] they had to take showers for hygienic reasons, and the gas chambers were disguised as shower rooms, while the belongings of the victims were carefully collected and registered to maintain the illusion of normality" (Friedlander 300). Then any belongings of value were shipped to the SS head offices to fund the Nazi cause, while camp officers skimmed off valuables for their own personal gain. Even gold teeth were pried from the corpses to fund future activities.

Paradoxically, Himmler himself hated violence, even hunting. Yet, he trained himself to watch the executions by separating himself from the violent actuality of the death camps. One author says he actually began to be sexually stimulated when watching female prisoners die (Eisenhower). When witnessing executions at Auschwitz, he watched quietly and made no comments to the executioners or the commandant. The death camps continued until the end of the war. When Himmler realized the war was coming to an end, he ordered the evacuation of all the camps, ordering the prisoners to march back to Germany. Sent off without provisions, thousands died on the roads in zero degree temperatures. Those left in the camps were the ones who could not even make the trip, and it was these people the Allies found when they liberated the camps after Germany's surrender.

Right up to the end, he was one of Hitler's most loyal men. Hitler called him 'der treue Heinrich' (loyal Heinrich)" (Editors). He was loyal that is, until he saw Hitler's empire crumbling around him. Then Himmler began to look out for his own interests. He began secretly negotiating with members of the World Jewish Congress to free Jews to show his own "goodwill" (Goldin).

Himmler countered 'in the strongest possible terms' that 'absolute secrecy must surround [the] liberation of any Jews'. Himmler derived no tangible benefits from this attempted detente. In a manic fury, Hitter dismissed him on April 28th, after learning from a Reuters' dispatch that Himmler had offered to discuss peace terms with Winston Churchill (Goldin).

At the end, Himmler even died as his Fuhrer died, by suicide. He was captured in late May 1945 by British soldiers. Hitler was already dead, and Germany had surrendered. "Two days later, when a British Army doctor asked him to open his mouth, Himmler's eyes narrowed, his chin moved, and within seconds he was dead after biting down on a cyanide capsule" (Goldin).

In conclusion, Heinrich Himmler was a blind and devoted follower of Hitler, who did not question his motives or his orders. He simply obeyed. He was the most terrifying type of military leader, because he had no conscience. Himmler was personally responsible for the death camps, and had he lived, he certainly would have been tried at Nuremberg, as so many other Nazis were. To the Jewish people, he was evil incarnate, and his name will always live in infamy, the definition of hate and blind obedience.

References

Devine, Carol, and Carol Rae Hansen. Human Rights: The Essential Reference. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1999.

Editors. "Who was Heinrich Himmler?" Holocaust History Project. 31 Dec. 1998. 17 Nov. 2002. http://www.holocaust-history.org/short-essays/heinrich-himmler.shtml

Friedlander, Henry. The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

Eisenhower, John. "Juxtaposed with History, Inquiry into why the Nazis Did What They Did." The Washington Times. 9 June 2002.

Goldin, Milton. "Financing the SS." History Today, Vol. 48. 1 June 1998, pp 28 (7).

Hss, Rudolf. Death Dealer:… [END OF PREVIEW]

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