The SS (Schutzstaffel – literally ‘Protection Squadron’) is one of the best known (if not the best known), yet the least understood, organizations in history. And so is its creator (for all practical purposes) – SS-Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler.
In just about everyone’s mind, the SS are associated with (1) the horrific crimes committed by the Nazi regime (first and foremost, the Holocaust) and (2) with Waffen-SS – probably the most fearsome (in many ways) military force of the XX century.
While both associations are correct, of course, the SS is much, much more than that. And so is Heinrich Himmler – compared to his perception as a “murderous bureaucrat” created by the “mainstream” historians.
For political reasons, Himmler carefully crafted and presented the façade of a “faceless bureaucrat”, – pedantic, dogmatic, and dull even; highly efficient, totally obedient and unquestionably loyal “to the Death Head” to Der Führer Adolf Hitler.
In reality, Heinrich Himmler was none of the above. He was a genius political entrepreneur (and a highly successful one at that); a highly skillful and gifted political operator and manipulator who almost single-handedly created a unique and highly complex organization – the SS.
Which became the core of the “alternative Reich” – the “state within a state”; the “system within a system” (complete with the ideology which was significantly different from the one developed and preached by his formal boss Adolf Hitler).
Unlike Hitler who perished with his brainchild – the Third Reich – Himmler brilliantly staged his suicide and escaped (most likely, to Spain and subsequently to the German part of Switzerland).
Escaped to build (using the organization commonly known as ODESSA) the foundation and the core (functional and financial) for the inevitable (as he firmly believed) Fourth Reich. The SS-Staat. Himmler’s Reich.