Nazi Leaders In World War II Essay

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.

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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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