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