It is a well-established fact that in his childhood, Heinrich Himmler was a devout Catholic. He attended a Catholic Church dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel – Commander-in-Chief of God’s Armed Forces. Interestingly, in his childhood, Adolf Hitler also attended the Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church (only in Leonding in Austria).
Consequently, it is highly probable that (at least subconsciously), Heinrich Himmler strove to lead the Armies of Light (Army of Good) into an existential battle with the Army of Evil (Forces of Darkness). Obviously, his perceptions of Good and Evil were for him the only reality.
It is also well-known that since early childhood Himmler was an avid fan of stories (fairy tales actually) about medieval knights. And thus, being a devout Catholic, was undoubtedly well-versed in the history of the Church (including its military orders).
It is also obvious that the First World War that began in 1914 put a merciless end to any dreams about the medieval world, knighthood, etc. Hence, it can be safely concluded that Heinrich Himmler developed an (at least subconscious) firm desire to create, lead and manage a modern-day reincarnation of the Teutonic Order.
Teutonic knights were – by definition – warriors. Soldiers. Officers. Consequently, it is no wonder that Himmler became committed to joining the German army as an officer.
This commitment was further reinforced by his older brother Gebhard (who enlisted in the German Army and fought valiantly on the Western Front, receiving the Iron Cross and eventually being promoted to lieutenant). As well as by Himmler’s godfather and namesake Prince Heinrich of Bavaria – a highly decorated Army officer in the First World War (he was killed in action in November of 1916).
Himmler was too young to see combat in the First World War and the defeat of Germany denied him the opportunity to become a German army officer (thus creating in him a very personal grudge against the “November Criminals”).
Still, Himmler was determined to become a warrior and an officer and thus did not abandon his pursuit of a military career. Which in a postbellum Germany was possible only in some kind of a paramilitary organization (e.g. Freikorps).
At some point during his search for the appropriate Freikorps or something of that nature, Himmler met Ernst Röhm, an early member of the Nazi Party and co-founder of the Sturmabteilung (SA – the Nazi Stormtroopers). And a highly decorated Army officer – a natural role model for young Heinrich Himmler.
At Röhm’s suggestion Himmler joined the Bund Reichskriegsflagge (Imperial War Flag Society) – a paramilitary organization which subsequently played a key role in the failed Beer Hall Putsch – the unsuccessful attempt by Hitler and the Nazi Party to seize power in Munich in November 1923 (the only time Himmler saw real action).
Medieval Knights were major landowners so it was no surprise that Heinrich Himmler opted to obtain a degree in agriculture. Which he did in 1922 (he studied agronomy at the Munich Technische Hochschule – now Technical University Munich – and even went through a brief apprenticeship on a real farm).
However, for Heinrich Himmler the degree in agriculture and even the membership in a paramilitary organization (and even a real action on the streets of Munich in November of 1923) were mere stepping stones to his ultimate dream – founding, building and leading a modern-day reincarnation of the Teutonic Order.
There was, however, a fundamental problem. A seemingly insurmountable problem. In the XX century, founding the Catholic military order was impossible – plain and simple. For a very simple reason – by that time military orders had been banned by the Church for centuries and the Catholic Church was simply in no position to resurrect them.
Hence, Heinrich Himmler had no other choice but to base his order on a different religion. A neo-pagan religion as neither Orthodox nor Protestant Christian Church had a military order – ever.
Besides, by 1920s it became painfully obvious that Christianity was simply not powerful enough to protect the Western Civilization from the genuinely existential Bolshevist threat (the Church could not protect even itself and thus was desperately looking for a savior). Consequently, a radically different (and far more powerful) ideology – a quasi-religion even – was necessary.
So right after he graduated from the Munich Technische Hochschule (and possibly even earlier), Himmler began to actively look for such an ideology. And quickly found one – in the NSDAP. The Nazi Party which he joined in August of 1923, receiving Party number 14303.
The Nazi ideology provided Himmler with exactly the right paradigm for his “neo-Teutonic” project – the paradigm of the existential war between the Aryan race and the “alien races”.
First and foremost, the “Jewish Race”, of course – more precisely (as it was evident for the Nazis by that time), the “Judeo-Bolshevist monster”. Now Heinrich Himmler knew precisely what the objectives of his Order should and would be: (1) defend and protect the Aryan race from all enemies – foreign and domestic; (2) attack and destroy the Judeo-Bolshevist monster” making the Reich Judenfrei – free of Jews; (3) conquer, colonize and administer sufficient Lebensraum in the East to support a genuinely happy life for all Germans; and (4) become the “incubator of the elite” for the German Reich – in other words, the “Übermenschen manufacturing facility”.
It must always be kept in mind that for Heinrich Himmler (unlike for just about any other member of the Nazi Party – even for its top brass), both the NSDAP and its Führer Adolf Hitler (and all other components of the Nazi System) were mere tools that he used to achieve his fundamental objective – founding, leading and managing his “neo-Teutonic Order”.
Himmler sincerely considered himself a reincarnation of Henry I the Fowler (despite his Catholic upbringing and devout Catholicity he most likely believed in reincarnation from a very early age).
Hence, he considered himself superior to every human being on Earth – including Adolf Hitler. Being an enormously spiritually powerful individual with not insignificant psychic capabilities, he (unlike just about everyone else in the Party) was not swept up by Hitler’s charisma or the cult of Führer worship.
He simply regarded Hitler as an excellent leader for the party and although he appeared to admire and even worship Der Führer, it was all for show. After all, Himmler’s SD inherited files on Hitler (compiled by the political police of the Weimar Republic) with sufficiently damaging information on Adolf Hitler to have no illusions about the latter.
However, there was still one significant problem. While the Nazi ideology did provide Heinrich Himmler with sufficient financial and emotional value, its spiritual component was way too weak – and the mystical, religious, supernatural component all but nonexistent.
And as Himmler was a highly spiritually advanced individual (not necessarily in the positive sense) and had significant (at least for him) psychic, supernatural, paranormal capabilities (gifts) and needs… he had no other choice but to develop his very own neo-pagan quasi-religion which would become a spiritual foundation for his future “neo-Teutonic Order”.
Obviously, to be compatible with the fiercely nationalist ideology of the NSDAP, this “new religion” had to be deeply rooted in the German past, pagan religions, traditions, myths, legends, beliefs, customs, mysticism and the like.
No less obviously, Himmler needed an embryo for his future Order. An embryo within the Nazi party that will become the core, the starting point, the nucleus, the seed for the “neo-Teutonic Order”.
He needed the “original SS”.