Nazi Leaders in World War II


Many people have contributed to the cruel treatment of human 
beings, specifically Jews, in Nazi Germany during the second World 
War. This is a report on the damage carried out by some of the Nazi 
criminals working under the rule of Adolf Hitler. Many people 
contributed in Hitler's attempt to carry out his 'Final Solution'. 
Among these people are Ernst Roehm, Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Himmler, 
and Hermann Wilhelm Goering. While I discuss how they partook in World 
War Two, keep in mind their actions will, and have, left a mark on the 
world forever.

 Little is known about Ernst Roehm's childhood. He was a quiet 
boy who never went looking for trouble and didn't express hatred 
towards anyone, mostly because his parents were Libertarians and never 
paid attention to the politics in Germany's heartland. In college, 
Hitler's ideas and notions had a strong impact on Roehm's personality. 
Though Roehm never graduated, he joined the Free Corps, a group of 
soldiers dedicated to changing injustices in the German government. 
After a while, Roehm started to grow tired of the Free Corp's non- 
violent style, and he was tempted to be more of an activist in 
government reform. Hitler, looking to recruit fellow officers in his 
plan, then in it's infancy, liked Roehm's strong presence and 
personality. Roehm, jobless and nowhere to go, joined Hitler's office. 
After Hitler was elected into office some years later, he split his 
dictatorship into different divisions. Roehm, being one of the 
original officers, was chosen as head of the Sturmabteilung, or SA, 
commonly referred to as the Brownshirts and storm-troopers. By 1932, 
the Brownshirts had reached more than 400,000 members. All types of 
men who Hitler saw fit enough to join were members. Among them were 
ex-Free Corps soldiers like Roehm, students who weren't able to find 
jobs, shopkeepers who went out of business or weren't profitable 
enough, the unemployed, uneducated, and common criminals. As you can 
see, they were a very diverse bunch. Roehm had full power over where 
they demonstrated and protested. What was their cause? None really. 
They were merely an idea of Hitler's to spread his popularity, as well 
as the Nazi Party's. They roamed the streets of Munich, often drunk, 
singing racist stanzas from songs, beating anyone they thought, 
judging just from appearance who they thought was a Jew or a 
Communist. Roehm screamed to the marching storm-troopers, "We will 
brawl our way to greatness." He enjoyed violence for it's own sake, 
and he is quoted as saying to reporters after they burned down a 
kosher diner, in which he also had the left side of his nose shot off, 
"Since I am an immature and wicked man, war and unrest appeal to me 
more than order." In one incident, Joseph Goebbels and Hermann 
Goering, heads of other Nazi divisions, jealous of Roehm and the rest 
of the Brownshirt's public popularity, even though they had more
power internally, conspired against Roehm and the storm-troopers. They 
forged letters and documents to Hitler in Roehm's name, in which 
confessions of high treason were written. Many members of the 
storm-troopers were executed. When Hitler himself came to partake in 
the executions, they started screaming "Heil Hitler", the salute to 
Hitler. Hitler realized that the documents had been forged, and let 
the rest, including Roehm go free. Hitler and the storm-troopers never 
found out who had written them. Another incident of a much greater 
magnitude was 'the night of long knives', on June 30, 1934. Hitler cut 
off relations with all his fellow branches except the SS. He let most 
of them all go, except members of the storm-troopers. They were all 
executed, and Roehm insisted that Hitler kill him. He felt any other 
person to kill him would be considered unfaithful to Hitler and an 
undignified death. Hitler killed him and in all of World War Two Ernst 
Roehm remained the only person to ever die by Hitler's bullets.

 Another henchman of Hitler's, Joseph Goebbels, born in 1897, 
in Rheydt, Germany and the son of peasants, probably had the most 
effect on Germany's society and public life. A childhood bone disease 
stunted his growth, so he didn't grow more than 5 feet and he walked 
with a limp. His actions are well documented since he kept a diary of 
almost everything in his political life. Thin-faced and slender, 
before working for Hitler, he was a successful playwright of scripts 
about political satire. He was the man who convinced Hitler to run for 
President of Germany on February 22, 1933, against Paul von 
Hindenburg, the president at the time, in an eventual successful 
campaign. After Hitler was elected as the new dictator over Germany, 
Goebbels was elected as the official Propaganda Minister. He had under 
his legal jurisdiction the power to control Germany's common society. 
He tried to convince Nazis to become more devout and to convince 
people who weren't Nazis to join the party. He controlled all the 
publications, radio programs, films, and arts. Out of all that was 
deemed inappropriate by Goebbels, music prevailed the best, as he was 
an avid fan of classical music. Still, all Jewish music was banned. 
Goebbels often chatted with fellow officer Hermann Goering about what 
to do with the Jews they found on raids of their homes. Goebbels said 
they should clean up the glass from Kristallnacht, the 'night of 
broken glass', in which Jewish synagogues were destroyed, and then the
Nazis would turn the vacant spaces into parking lots. He also said 
Jews should be excluded from everything. After Goering agreed, these 
statements sadly came true. On another occasion, on May 10, 1933, a 
book-burning took place, one of many during those years in Germany and 
the countries it defeated, right across from the University of Berlin. 
The Nazis burned world-renowned authors as well as German books while 
Goebbels yelled, "The soul of the German people can again express
itself. These flames not only illuminate the final end of an old era; 
they also light up a new!" During Germany's downfall, he poisoned his 
six children, and then at the request of Goebbels, a fellow Nazi shot 
him and his wife Magda to death in 1945.

 Adolf Himmler, born in 1900 in Munich, held many ranks in his 
busy political life. He ordered the deaths of millions, beginning
with the 'blood purge' in 1934 and ending with the systematic killings 
of Jews in World War Two concentration camps. He followed Hitler since 
1923, and since then he became the chief of police of Germany in 1936, 
the Minister of the Interior in 1943, the Minister of Home Defense in 
1944. Today he is believed to be the head cohort in coordinating the 
Reichstag fire, after following Hitler's orders. The Reichstag 
building was the democratic party's headquarters. On February 27, 
1933, in hopes of disrupting the proceedings going on that evening, 
Himmler and the rest of the SS he commanded snuck into the building 
through the heating tunnels and place gas bombs throughout. The Nazi 
Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels blamed the fire on the Communists. 
This gave the Nazis an excuse to bring down the Communist Party by 
search and seizures, arrests, and killings, using the excuse that they 
were withholding evidence from the fire. Toward the end of the war, 
Himmler was the head of the SS Police, Gestapo, slave camps, and 
directed the resettlement of Eastern Europeans with Aryans to persuade 
the Europeans to become like them. He committed suicide in 1945.

 Second to Hitler as the leader of Nazi germany, Hermann 
Wilhelm Goering was one of the few Nazis with a good record intact
after World War One. Born in 1893, in Rosenheim, Germany, he was the 
Reich Marshal, and he commanded the air force. After he became a 
follower of Hitler's in 1920, a couple of years later he was elected 
the president of the Reichstag, the German legislature, in 1928. This 
gave him the power to frustrate democratic procedures, and help Hitler 
get unlimited power in 1933. Before the outbreak of World War Two, he 
directed the buildup of Germany's war industry. At the start of World
War Two, Hitler appointed him chief aide. He was completely ruthless 
with opponents and rivals, and he was convicted of war crimes at 
Nuremburg in 1946. Right before he was about to be hanged, he 
swallowed a bottle of poison.


1. Bradsher, Keith Fascism and the Jews The New York Times, June 6, 
1993, p.58

2. Bullock, Alan Hitler: A Study in Tyranny Harper, 1962

3. Devaney, John Hitler: Mad Dictator of World War II New York: G.P. 
Putnam's Sons, 1978

4. Holborn, Hajo Republic to Reich: The Making of the Nazi Revolution 
New York: Pantheon Books, 1972

5. Marrin, Albert Hitler New York: Viking Kestrel, 1987

6. Mitchell, Otis C. Hitler Over Germany: The Establishment of the 
Nazi Dictatorship (1918-1934) Philadelphia: Ishi Press, 1983

7. Padfield, Peter Himmler New York: Holt and Company, 1990

8. Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History 
of Nazi Germany New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960

9. Steinart, Marlis G. 23 Days: The Final Collapse of Nazi Germany New 
York: Walker and Company, 1969

10. The World Book Encyclopedia (1986) vol. 8, p. 236


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