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Heinrich Himmler: A Life

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Heinrich Himmler was an unremarkable looking man. Yet he was Hitler's top enforcer, in charge of the Gestapo, the SS, and the so-called Final Solution. We can only wonder, as biographer Peter Longerich asks, how could such a banal personality attain such a historically unique position of power? How could the son of a prosperous Bavarian Catholic public servant become the organizer of a system of mass murder spanning the whole of Europe?

In the first comprehensive biography of this murderous enigma, Longerich answers those questions with a superb account of Himmler's inner self and outward acts. Masterfully interweaving the story of Himmler's personal life and political career with the wider history of the Nazi dictatorship, Longerich shows how skillfully he exploited and manipulated his disparate roles in the pursuit of his far-reaching and grandiose objectives. Himmler's actual strength, he writes, consisted in redrawing every two or three years the master plans for his sphere of power. Himmler expanded that sphere with ruthless efficiency. In 1929, he took the SS-a small bodyguard unit-and swelled it into a paramilitary organization with elite pretensions. By the end of 1934 he had become Reich Chief of the Political Police, and began to consolidate all police power in his own hands. As Germany grabbed neighboring territory, he expanded the Waffen SS and organized the "Germanization" of conquered lands, which culminated in systematic mass murder. When the regime went on the defensive in 1942, Himmler changed his emphasis again, repressing any opposition or unrest. The author emphasizes the centrality of Himmler's personality to the Nazi murder machine-his surveillance of the private lives of his men, his deep resentments, his fierce prejudices-showing that man and position were inseparable.

Carefully researchedand lucidly written, Heinrich Himmler is the essential account of the man who embodied Hitler's apparatus of evil.

Synopsis:

Heinrich Himmler was an unremarkable looking man. Yet he was Hitler's top enforcer, in charge of the Gestapo, the SS, and the so-called Final Solution. We can only wonder, as biographer Peter Longerich asks, how could such a banal personality attain such a historically unique position of power? How could the son of a prosperous Bavarian Catholic public servant become the organizer of a system of mass murder spanning the whole of Europe?

In the first comprehensive biography of this murderous enigma, Longerich answers those questions with a superb account of Himmler's inner self and outward acts. Masterfully interweaving the story of Himmler's personal life and political career with the wider history of the Nazi dictatorship, Longerich shows how skillfully he exploited and manipulated his disparate roles in the pursuit of his far-reaching and grandiose objectives. Himmler's actual strength, he writes, consisted in redrawing every two or three years the master plans for his sphere of power. Himmler expanded that sphere with ruthless efficiency. In 1929, he took the SS-a small bodyguard unit-and swelled it into a paramilitary organization with elite pretensions. By the end of 1934 he had become Reich Chief of the Political Police, and began to consolidate all police power in his own hands. As Germany grabbed neighboring territory, he expanded the Waffen SS and organized the "Germanization" of conquered lands, which culminated in systematic mass murder. When the regime went on the defensive in 1942, Himmler changed his emphasis again, repressing any opposition or unrest. The author emphasizes the centrality of Himmler's personality to the Nazi murder machine-his surveillance of the private lives of his men, his deep resentments, his fierce prejudices-showing that man and position were inseparable.

Carefully researchedand lucidly written, Heinrich Himmler is the essential account of the man who embodied Hitler's apparatus of evil.

About the Author

Peter Longerich is Professor of Modern German History at Royal Holloway University of London, and founder of Royal Holloway's Holocaust Research Centre. He has published extensively on Nazi Germany, including the acclaimed Holocaust: The Nazi Murder and the Persecution of the Jews, The Unwritten Order: Hitler's Role in the Final Solution, and The Systematic Character of the National Socialist Policy for the Extermination of the Jews.

Table of Contents

Abbreviatons and Glossary

Prologue

Part I: The Young Himmler

1. Childhood and Youth

2. The Student of Agriculture

3. Struggle and Renunciation

4. A New Start in Lower Bavaria

5. The Party Functionary

6. Reichsfuhrer SS

Part II: In the Third Reich

7. The Take-Over of the Political Police

8. From Inspector of the Prussian Gestapo to Chief of the German Police

9. The State Protection Corps

Part III: The Order

10. Ideology and Religious Cult

11. Himmler's Leadership Style

12. Himmler the Educator

13. The SS Family

Part IV: Ambition and Disappointment

14. War Preparations and Expansion

15. War and Settlement in Poland

16. A New Racial Order

17. Repression in the Reich

18. Shifting Borders: The Year 1940

Part V: The Greater Germanic Reich: Lebensraum and Ethnic Murder

19. An Ideological War of Annihilation

20. From Mass Murder to the 'Final Solution'

21. The Murder of the European Jews

22. Settlement Policy and Racial Selection

23. The 'Iron Law of Ethnicity': Recruitment for the Waffen-SS

24. A Europe-wide Reign of Terror

Part VI: Downfall in Stages

25. Can a Turn in the War Present an Opportunity?

26. Collapse

Conclusion

Appendix

Notes

Comments on Sources and Literature

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199592326
Author:
Longerich, Peter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
History, Other | Military History | WWII
Subject:
Military-World War II General
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Subject:
History, World | European | Germany
Publication Date:
20120131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
31 black and white halftones
Pages:
1072
Dimensions:
6.6 x 9.3 x 2 in 3.688 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Historical
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » Nazi Germany
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » Nazi Germany

Heinrich Himmler: A Life New Hardcover
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Product details 1072 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199592326 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Heinrich Himmler was an unremarkable looking man. Yet he was Hitler's top enforcer, in charge of the Gestapo, the SS, and the so-called Final Solution. We can only wonder, as biographer Peter Longerich asks, how could such a banal personality attain such a historically unique position of power? How could the son of a prosperous Bavarian Catholic public servant become the organizer of a system of mass murder spanning the whole of Europe?

In the first comprehensive biography of this murderous enigma, Longerich answers those questions with a superb account of Himmler's inner self and outward acts. Masterfully interweaving the story of Himmler's personal life and political career with the wider history of the Nazi dictatorship, Longerich shows how skillfully he exploited and manipulated his disparate roles in the pursuit of his far-reaching and grandiose objectives. Himmler's actual strength, he writes, consisted in redrawing every two or three years the master plans for his sphere of power. Himmler expanded that sphere with ruthless efficiency. In 1929, he took the SS-a small bodyguard unit-and swelled it into a paramilitary organization with elite pretensions. By the end of 1934 he had become Reich Chief of the Political Police, and began to consolidate all police power in his own hands. As Germany grabbed neighboring territory, he expanded the Waffen SS and organized the "Germanization" of conquered lands, which culminated in systematic mass murder. When the regime went on the defensive in 1942, Himmler changed his emphasis again, repressing any opposition or unrest. The author emphasizes the centrality of Himmler's personality to the Nazi murder machine-his surveillance of the private lives of his men, his deep resentments, his fierce prejudices-showing that man and position were inseparable.

Carefully researchedand lucidly written, Heinrich Himmler is the essential account of the man who embodied Hitler's apparatus of evil.

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