Who were they? n Herman Göering n Rudolph Hess n Joseph Goebbels n Heinrich Himmler n Ernst Röhm n Aim: to evaluate the following –Personalities –Careers –Fate
Herman Göering: The Marshal n PERSONALITY n Spent childhood in his Jewish Godfather’s castle. n Emotionally neglected. n Decorated for bravery as a fighter pilot in WWI. n Betrayed by Tr. of Vers. n Fat, glamorous & extravagant. n Resented Röhm. n Drug addict?
Career n 1922, became commander of the SA n 2nd in command n Commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe n President of the Reichstag n 1936, put in charge of the 4-year plan n Organised the terror in 1933 & the Night of the Long Knives. n Involved in Holocaust, but as an ‘armchair assassin’ n Not great influence; Göering wanted transaction, Hitler wanted action. n Saw Jews as an economic problem.
Rudolph Hess: The Flatterer n PERSONALITY n Served in same regiment as Hitler during WWI n Few political skills n Little intelligence n Little oratorical ability n Weak, submissive and dependent figure n Had a religious fervour for Hitler. n Mentally unstable? n Believed: “Hitler is Germany! Germany is Hitler!”
Career n Imprisoned with Hitler, influenced writing of ‘Mein Kampf’ n 1925- Became Hitler’s secretary. n By 1932 he was head of the Nazi Central Political Commission. n His main significance was in dealing with administration. n 1939 – His power declined as Hitler became more absorbed in war. n June 1941 - He felt increasingly cut off & fled to Scotland. –Why? n Kept in the tower of London until Nuremberg trials.
JOSEPH GOEBBELS n PERSONALITY n Born into poor family n leg crippled by Polio n Most educated & intelligent of the Nazi leaders. n Journalist n Bitter cynic n Powerful public speaker. n He visited nightclubs and had mistresses. n Bitter rivalry with Göering & Riibentrop.
Career n 1928 - became party propaganda chief. n Found his mission in selling Hitler to the public & organising the Führer cult. n Controlled the radio, movies, theatre & press. n “Propaganda was our sharpest weapon in conquering the state, & remains our sharpest weapon in maintaining and building up the state.” n V. anti-Semitic n “The mission of women is to be beautiful & bring children into the world.”
HEINRICH HIMMLER: The Executioner n PERSONALITY n A conscientious, popular schoolboy n Bitter at Germany’s defeat. n A coldly efficient bureaucrat. n His devotion to Hitler seemed unconditional n Remembered by contemporaries, as an inconspicuous, amiable person. n “I can’t betray the Führer..Everything I am I owe to him.”
Career n Role n 1929 - became head of the SS n 1939 - Reich commissioner for Strengthening German Nationhood. n He aimed to purify the German nation. –Removing alien elements –Selective breeding n Had overall control of the Holocaust n As German fortunes in the war turned, so did Himmler’s loyalty –Recruited sub-humans to the SS –Tried to negotiate a secret armistice with the West n Dismissed by Hitler for treachery. n Flees, but captured by Allies. n V. anti - Semitic/ Homosexuals/Gypsies n “With bigamy, each wife would act as a stimulus to the others so that both would try to be their husband’s dream woman.” n “We must be honest, decent, loyal & comradely to members of our own blood, but to nobody else.”
ERNST RÖHM n PERSONALITY n A radical & a socialist. n He favoured radical change. n Not a sophisticated thinker n “Since I am an immature & wicked man, war & unrest appeal to me more than good bourgeois order.” n Reached rank of Captain in WWI, found it difficult to adjust to the post-war world. n Heavy drinker n Homosexual
Career n He built up a tough committed leadership of the SA, & got them under tight control. n 1933-appointed to the cabinet. n Tensions grew over the role of the SA. n Röhm wanted the SA to be a major force for radical revolution. n Hitler believed he was planning a 2nd revolution. n Hitler eliminated Röhm as part of the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ n “All revolutions devour their own children.”
The Nuremberg Trials 1945-6 1. Crimes against peace. 2. Crimes against humanity. 3. War Crimes 4. Conspiracy to commit the crimes alleged in the first three counts.
Guilty Men n GöERING n Guilty on all 4 charges –Sentenced to death –committed suicide n GOEBBELS –Committed suicide May 1945. n HIMMLER –Committed suicide May 1945. n HESS n Guilty on charges 1 & 4 –Sentenced to life imprisonment.