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  1. YEAR 12 HISTORY Examine individual or group identity in an historical setting Himmler

  2. HIMMLER INTRODUCTION: Heinrich Himmler, born on the 7th October 1900, was a dull and ineffectual man who rose to become the leader of one of the most insidious groups of soldiers ever seen, responsible for the deaths of millions of people during World War Two. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  3. Factors and how they were expressed • Middle class Catholic family. • One of three boys. • Was intrigued by his own family background and by the history of the medieval history of Germany. • Not a spectacular student at school • Not good at physical activities. • Too late to fight in the First World War • Joined a Technical High School for Agriculture in Munich. • Particularly interested in breeding programmes and fertilisers. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  4. Laid off from his first job during the recession of the early 1920s. • Attempted to join the army but was declared ‘unfit’. • Joined a para-military group with his brother. • This group had connections to Ernst Rohm. • Played a very minor part in the Munich Putsch (1923). • Hitler formed a group to be his bodyguard; the Schutz Staffeln (Protective Guards) –the SS. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  5. Himmler went to the Nazi centre to join in 1925. • He met Gregor Strasser (a chemist) they found they had common interests. • Himmler was engaged as a secretary and then appointed as Assistant Propaganda Chief of the National Socialist Worker’s Party. • He did a good job and Hitler made him Deputy Leader of the SS, - which at the time had only about 220 SS men, the ban on the SA had been lifted. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  6. Married Margarethe Borden in 1927 and they had one daughter (unhappy marriage). • Bought 50 chickens (with his wife’s dowry) to try and improve the breed. • Met Alfred Rosenberg at Nazi HQ and became engrossed in his philosophy of the superiority of Nordic Blood and the sub-human characteristics of Jews and Slavs. • Himmler felt that there must be a practical application for these theories. • He met Walther Darre who discussed these theories with him and suggested that he apply what he knew about breeding herbs and chickens to people-the SS. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  7. He told Hitler of his ideas: “If I had power to rule this exquisite handful of men in his spirit, I could help in perpetuating the Nordic race for ever. They could become the bulwark against the wave of Jewish influences which threatens to drown our beloved people. They could be symbols of the greatness of the German race of which we are the guardians.” www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  8. January 6th 1929 - Himmler was appointed Reichsfuehrer of the SS Black Guards. • Himmler could now indulge his fantasies of racial purity. • The SS had three guiding principles – Race, Obedience and Sacrifice. • Marriage was a key to ensure that the race became pure. • Young men tested on their character and physique. • Girls classified into those permitted to marry and those not. • Young men were trained to pick the right partners. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  9. In 1931 Himmler instituted SS Order No 65 – Marriage Order • All SS men had to have Himmler’s permission to marry • Suitable girls were physically examined to ensure they were capable of having at least 4 children • Only 10-12% of male applicants were ever inducted into the SS. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  10. After the Reichstag Fire Goering set up the Gestapo. • By 1933 Himmler was appointed as Police President of Munich. • The Order of Protective Custody which Himmler called “an act of care,” was instituted, it was a euphemism to arrest and incarcerate people in Dachau – which was guarded by the SS. • Himmler offered 12 year contracts to be camp guards they used the ‘death head’ insignia. • Later these men denied the insignia had anything to do with death camps - insisting it was an oath to serve ‘unto death’. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  11. Only about half of the population supported the Nazis, so Himmler allowed rumours about the camps to circulate as a method of social control. • Later the term, ‘Commitment to a Concentration Camp’ replaced the Order of Protective Custody. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  12. Arrival at the camp meant donning a camp uniform with symbols. • Criminals –green triangles • Jews – yellow star • Bible Students – violet triangles • Homosexuals – brown triangles • Gypsies – pink triangles • Work shy – black triangles • Political - dark red triangles www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  13. After an attempt on Hitler’s life in 1933 a new group of bodyguards was formed: • the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (Adolf Hitler Bodyguard) these were all SS men over six feet tall (Himmler was five foot six) and blond. • They were the most elite of all and known as the LAH. • Himmler was promoted to Police Chief of every German province except Prussia. • By 1934 Himmler’s organisation of the SS, the SD and the Gestapo covered all of Germany. • Hitler declared the SS an independent group responsible only to Hitler through Himmler. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  14. By 1934 Himmler was unwell. • He employed a masseur to relieve his pain. • Hitler was insecure and threatened by the growth of the SA. • The SS took retribution on Hitler’s enemies during the infamous ‘Night of the Long Knives’. • The way was now clear for the growth of the SS. • Heydrich ordered a recruitment drive of 50,000. • The symbols of the two lightening strikes did not mean SS but were the ancient symbols of Seig-Victory. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  15. Himmler came up with the idea of developing the SS into an order similar to the ancient Teutonic knights. • He had a castle rebuilt and refurbished for 11 million marks. • He enjoyed travelling around attending SS functions and consecrating the symbols of ancient knights such as oak trees. • While Himmler built his castle Heydrich helped to plan an Anschluss. • The failure of this Anschluss made Hitler become cold towards Himmler. • Himmler took it out on the ‘traditional enemies of Germany-reactionaries, the Catholics, the Jews above all.’ www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  16. Top: Himmler and Goering on way to Reichstag • He formed the ‘World League of Anti-Semites’ • German women seen with Jewish men were punished and the men caught were dealt with extremely harshly. • These women were deemed to have committed Rassenschande-Race Shame. • Hitler was working on the 1935 Nuremberg Laws. • Himmler began an SS newspaper Das Schwarze Korps (The Black Corps). • Publicly Himmler was considered ‘an incredible, enigmatic figure’ • Those close to him thought him insensitive, cold and indifferent. • Hitler constantly left difficult decisions to Himmler. “Let Himmler deal with it” – the Jews, Catholics and Party members. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  17. In October 1935 Himmler received a letter from Hitler asking him to ‘devote your whole strength to the National Socialist Reich.’ • It was Himmler’s SS that allowed Hitler to have such grandiose schemes as invading the east. • It was the SS who were well able to deal with the ‘sub-humans’. • 1936 - Himmler dedicated a shrine to his hero King Heinrich 1. • Himmler regarded himself as reincarnation of this man who had tried to form the first German Reich. • Himmler had a fascination and reliance on the occult such as astrologers. • He was promoted to Reichsfuehrer-SS. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  18. Himmler forced businessmen to sell him their businesses. • A mineral water company acquired to stop SS from drinking alcohol. • He began to look at the question of German people who lived outside German soil. • He planned to bring them back to Germany. • He requested remains from museums to be studied to determine purity of ancestral race. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  19. Himmler endorsed the Lebensborn, and eventually he spread this net to Poland and Scandinavia. • This scheme encouraged ‘pure’ women to breed regardless of marriage status. • Women with large families were awarded the ‘Mothers Cross’ • His rescuing of needy (pure) children was praised by humanitarians who did not understand what he was trying to achieve. • He encouraged SS men to take 2 wives to increase the population. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  20. In 1938 the SS was unleashed in Austria to deal with any opposition. • Regarding the Jews he suggested that ‘If the Americans pay their fare and look after them we shall gladly let them go…” • A new camp was built at Mauthausen for Austrian Jews. Above: Himmler and Heydrich Reviewing Austrian police in 1938 www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  21. Top: Himmler at German police day 1937 • By 1939 Jews had all but disappeared from Germany • Some people still felt that what had happened to the Jews could happen to anyone. • Homes were randomly searched and people were questioned. • Himmler was now one of the most powerful Nazi leaders mainly because of his SS and his web of intelligence gathering. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  22. Himmler formed the Waffen SS (Armed SS) and attached them to every army unit. • SS men were finally given army rankings. • But the SS had become large and sprawling. • With the imminent invasion of Poland, Hitler was glad to hand over to Himmler, the job of maintaining order. • A new camp was built at Auschwitz for Polish Jews. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  23. Himmler received new orders to, ‘bring back for final return into the Reich all German nationals in foreign countries….to eliminate [parts of the population which] represent a danger to the Reich…’ • Himmler was made Commissioner for the Preservation of German Folkdom. • He shut down Polish education and took racially acceptable children into the Lebensborn. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  24. He looked to the Spanish Inquisition for inspiration to exterminate the enormous numbers of Jews and Slavs in Poland and Russia: ‘What the Jesuits did for Rome the SS must do for the Nazi Party’. • He set up the Einsatzgruppen (Action Groups) to carry out the extermination of 30 million people. • Initially clumsy attempts were made at executions. • Ghettoes were cleared and refilled. • 90,000 people were liquidated in the Ukraine. www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  25. A new camp was built at Treblinka. • Gas vans developed to kill more effectively. • He personally gave permission for human experiments. • He was devastated when Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated and gave the order for punitive retribution. • Villages not associated with the assassins were wiped out Top: Himmler, Hitler and Goering with Heydrich’s sons www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  26. By 1943 the disposal of bodies had become a problem. • He had an unshakable faith in Hitler: ‘Hitler is infallible, he never makes a mistake.’ • In August 1943 he was made Reichsfuehrer of the Interior. • Himmler began the Woman Gestapo to strengthen German womanhood. • In July 1944 Hitler made Himmler Commander of the Reserve Army (Home Guard). www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  27. The End • He refused to assume leadership upon Hitler’s death without Hitler’s blessing. • Even after camps had been liberated he still thought he could broker a peace with the Allies. • Himmler was devastated Grand Admiral Doenitz was named as Hitler’s heir. • Himmler disappeared on the same night of the unconditional surrender, 5th May 1945. • He used a dead policeman’s ID card to try and escape but he was intercepted at a checkpoint. • Was taken for questioning and swallowed a cyanide pill and died. • His body lay neglected on a bed for two days. • He was buried him in a secret location, • ‘I had to dig the grave myself, nobody will ever know where he is buried.’ www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  28. Factors(heritage, religion, culture, • Family tree • Joined Nazis • Unhappy marriage • Plant propagation • Medieval obsession • Propaganda secretary • Deputy SS • Alfred Rosenberg • Walther Darre

  29. How the Identity was Expressed • Himmler’s Actions reflected Nazi Policy: • Adored Hitler • Established concentration camps • Einsatzgruppen • Ghettoes • Lebensborn • Confiscated businesses • Selective breeding of SS www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  30. Himmler’s Aspirations were to create a perfect Nordic race of Teutonic Knights to rule the world. • Inspired by the Spanish Inquisition Conference on Reich security (1941) Nebe, Huber, Himmler, Heydrich and Mueller

  31. Himmler’s Symbols • Death Camps • Death’s Head • SS

  32. CHARACTERISTICS – physical, inadequate, glasses, lonely, dreamer, fanatic, dependent, uniformed Felix Kersten, Himmler’s masseur www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  33. PHYSICAL: • Five foot six inches • Weak • Unfit • Glasses • Headaches • Cramps • Anguished • Ill • Shrill voice • Soft hands • Weak chinned • Narrow-chested • Prim www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  34. INADEQUATE: • Ignorant • Lacked perception • Naïve • Evasive • Worrier • Indecisive www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  35. LONELY: • Poor mixer • Indifferent • Isolated • Aloof • Cold • Insensitive • Inaccessible www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  36. DREAMER: • Occult • Reincarnation • Catholic • Nature lover • Perfectionist

  37. FANATIC: • Hard worker • Persistent • Good memory • Inflexible • Single minded • Unimaginative • Efficient • Plodder www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  38. DEPENDENT: • On Hitler • On Heydrich www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  39. Himmler’s SS were responsible for the deaths of: • 4-5 million Jews • 2.5 million Poles • 520,000 Gypsies • 473,000 Russian POWs • 100,000 mentally and physically ill www.schoolhistory.co.nz

  40. Year 12 Nazi State - Himmler Poster available from www.schoolhistory.co.nz