The Henchmen


German Government Officials in WWII
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
the Nazi Dictatorship (1918-1934) Philadelphia: Ishi Press, 

7. Padfield, Peter Himmler New York: Holt and Company, 1990
8. Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:

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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