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How Himmler’s personality shaped the SS

As head of the SS, chief of police, ‘Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of Germanness’, and Reich Interior Minister, Heinrich Himmler enjoyed a position of almost unparalleled power and responsibility in Nazi Germany. Perhaps more than any other single Nazi leader aside from Hitler, his name has become a byword for the terror, persecution, and destruction that characterized the Third Reich. His wide-ranging powers meant that he bore equal responsibility for the repression of the German people on the home front and the atrocities perpetrated by the SS in the East. Yet, in spite of his central role in the crimes of the Nazi regime, until now Himmler has remained a colourless and elusive figure in the history of the period. In Heinrich Himmler, the first-ever comprehensive biography of the SS-Reichsführer, leading German historian Peter Longerich puts every aspect of Himmler’s life under the microscope.

In the video below, Professor Longerich talks about how Himmler’s personality shaped the SS.

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Peter Longerich is Professor of Modern German History at Royal Holloway, University of London, and is the founder of the College’s Holocaust Research Centre. One of the world’s leading authorities in the Third Reich and the Holocaust, he has published widely on the subject, including Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews (2010).

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