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Himmler, Heinrich(hīn`rĭkh hĭm`lər), 1900–1945, German Nazi leader. An early member of the National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) party, Himmler took part in Adolf Hitler's "beer-hall putsch" of 1923, and in 1929 HitlerHitler, Adolf
, 1889–1945, founder and leader of National Socialism (Nazism), and German dictator, b. Braunau in Upper Austria. Early Life
The son of Alois Hitler (1837–1903), an Austrian customs official, Adolf Hitler dropped out of high school, and
..... Click the link for more information. appointed him head of the SS, or Schutzstaffel, the party's black-shirted elite corps. When Hitler came to power he made Himmler head of police in Munich and then chief of the political police throughout Bavaria. After the party purge of June, 1934, which eliminated Ernst RoehmRoehm or Röhm, Ernst
, 1887–1934, German National Socialist leader. An army officer in World War I, he met (1919) Adolf Hitler, whose political career he helped to launch.
..... Click the link for more information. , head of the SA, or Nazi militia, Himmler's SS became the major police organ of the state. In 1936, Himmler was named chief of the German police; this brought him formal control over the Gestapo, the secret policesecret police,
policing organization operating in secrecy for the political purposes of its government, often with terroristic procedures. The Nature of a Secret Police
..... Click the link for more information. that had been set up in 1933 by Hermann GoeringGoering or Göring, Hermann Wilhelm
, 1893–1946, German National Socialist leader. In World War I he was a hero of the German air force.
..... Click the link for more information. . From his preeminent position Himmler terrorized his own party hierarchy as well as all German-held Europe, establishing and overseeing concentration campsconcentration camp,
a detention site outside the normal prison system created for military or political purposes to confine, terrorize, and, in some cases, kill civilians.
..... Click the link for more information. and ordering incarceration and death for millions, particularly after the beginning of World War II. A superb bureaucrat and one of the most cold-blooded of the Nazi leaders, he was a fanatic racist. In Aug., 1943, he became minister of the interior, and after putting down the conspiracy against Hitler in July, 1944, he was the virtual dictator of German domestic policy. In Apr., 1945, just before Germany's defeat in World War II, Himmler secretly attempted to negotiate German surrender, hoping to save himself. Upon hearing of this, Hitler expelled him from the party. Himmler attempted to escape, but was arrested by British troops in May, 1945, and committed suicide by swallowing poison.
See biographies by W. Frischauer (1953), R. Marvell and H. Fraenkel (1965, repr. 1972), B. F. Smith (1971), and P. Longerich (2012).
Born Oct. 7, 1900, in Munich; died May 23, 1945, in Lüneburg. One of the major war criminals of fascist Germany.
As a member of fascist bands after World War I (1914-18), Himmler took part in the suppression of the workers’ movement in Germany. He was a participant in the putsch in Munich in November 1923. In 1929 he became chief of the SS. After the seizure of power by the Hitlerites in 1933, Himmler was first head of the political police of Munich, then of Bavaria, and later of all Germany; in 1936 he became chief of the Gestapo. From 1943 he was Reich minister of the interior and from 1944, commander of the German Home Forces. Himmler was one of the principal organizers of the brutal terror against antifascists, of the concentration camp system, and of the mass extermination of the innocent civilians of the territories occupied by Hitler’s armies. After fascist Germany’s capitulation in 1945, he attempted to hide but was arrested and subsequently committed suicide.
REFERENCESNiurnbergskii protsess nad glavnymi nemetskimi voennymi prestupnikami, Sb. materialov, vols. 1-7. Moscow, 1957-61.
Rozanov, G. L. Germaniia pod vlast’iu fashizma (1933-1939 gg.). Moscow, 1964.
Bartel, W. Deutschland in der Zeit derfaschistischen Diktatur 1933-1945. Berlin, 1956.