The SS Ideology (1)

By definition, ideology is a system (often quite complex and extensive) of values, principles, beliefs, etc. held and practiced (ideology is inherently practical) by an individual, a social group (i.e. nation) or an organization (i.e. the Nazi Party or the SS). Or of the whole country (state).

Thus ideology becomes the driving and guiding force (the “guidance system” if you will) that determines objectives of individuals, social groups and organizations; methods and tools that they use to achieve their objectives and their decisions and actions.

The country, state or an organization driven and guided by an ideology (in other words, where a political ideology explicitly becomes a dominant component of a political, government and social system, is called ideocracy).

More precisely, of course, an explicit ideocracy as all countries, states and organizations are at least implicitly driven and guided by at least implicit ideology (which is an important part of a corporate or organizational identity).

Consequently, the Nazi Party, the SS and the Nazi Germany were explicit ideocracies – but so were all other authoritarian and totalitarian regimes (in the Soviet Union, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Japan, etc.) and (albeit possibly a bit less explicitly) the so-called “democracies” (Britain, France, the USA, etc.)

Again by definition, ideology is fundamentally secular; in other words, it does not include spiritual, mystical or religious beliefs – these two are the foundation of a faith, not ideology.

Not surprisingly, the ideology of the SS was based on Nazism (the ideology of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler personally) – but not identical to the latter. For a very obvious reason – Adolf Hitler was an individual and the NSDAP was a political party while the SS was an entity very different from the latter (it was a quasi-religious military order).

The core of any ideology is the so-called “declaration of identity” – “who I am” or “who we are”. Probably the best “declaration of the SS identity” (what the SS really is) was made (not surprisingly) by its Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler in his speech delivered on stated on 8 November 1937 at a Gruppenführer (two-star generals) meeting in Munich in the officers’ quarters:

“The SS is a National Socialist order of soldiers of Nordic race and a community of their clans bound together by oath … what we want for Germany is a ruling class destined to last for centuries and the product of repeated selection, a new aristocracy continuously renewed from the best of the sons and daughters of our nation, a nobility that never ages, stretching back into distant epochs in its traditions, where these are valuable, and representing eternal youth for our nation.

Hitler (also not surprisingly) approved this definition and once even remarked that the elite of the Nazi state would, indeed, come from the SS.

This definition confirms that the SS was, indeed, a reincarnation of the Teutonic military order (only as a key part of the Nazi State, not the Holy Roman Catholic Church with membership based on race, not religion).

And that it was much, much more than just the military order – not just the “order of soldiers” but the actual “racial elite” of the Nazi State born, raised, educated and trained to run all components of the Nazi System – government, politics, economy, police, academics – and even military (after the “hostile takeover” of Wehrmacht by the Waffen-SS).

This definition proves beyond the reasonable doubt that the allegations that Heinrich Himmler used the Jesuit Order (Society of Jesus) as the model for his SS is, well, a popular misconception.

In reality his model, his starting point was a very different order – the military order (Jesuits were mostly educators who built hundreds of first-class schools, colleges and universities).

However, he did adopt for his SS the “Fourth Vow” of the Jesuits – unquestionable obedience to The Leader. Only in this case to Adolf Hitler – Der Führer of Germany (not to the Pope – Der Führer of the Catholic Church).

It is also possible that Heinrich Himmler was impressed with (mostly unfounded and at best grossly exaggerated) rumors about the achievements of the Jesuits during the Counter-Reformation – a genuinely existential religious war for the Holy Roman Catholic Church (i.e. for the very survival of the Catholic Church).

According to these (mostly legends) Jesuits were a very successful (and very secret) political police of the Holy See (the “Catholic Gestapo” of sorts).

Himmler’s Mysticism and Symbolism (2)

Every genuine mystic knows that rituals are very powerful tools for connecting to the sources of Divine Energies and spiritual power (and subsequently using this power for one’s political and other goals). Heinrich Himmler (1) was a mystic – most likely, since early childhood; and (2) wanted to connect to sources of energy and power other than the Christian ones (i.e., the pagan ones).

Hence it is not surprising at all that he replaced Christian rituals of baptism, marriage, funeral, etc. with the neo-pagan ones and instituted the new holidays – SS-centric celebrations of the summer and winter solstices.

In addition, each year on November 9th (the anniversary of the pathetic 1923 Beer Hall Putsch), the SS men duty-bound for the military units were sworn in at exactly 10:00 pm in front of Hitler. There by torchlight they swore “obedience unto death” – a very impressive ritual, if you ask me.

Symbols (more precisely, magical symbols) can also become very powerful tools for connecting the sources of Divine Energies and spiritual power and subsequently using this power for one’s political and other goals.

Heinrich Himmler was no stranger to the power of symbols; consequently it is no surprise either that he used these extensively in his SS. The most well-known symbols were, obviously, runes – very potent (to put it mildly) magical symbols. If one uses them properly, of course.

The runic insignia of the Schutzstaffel (known in German as the SS-Runen) were used from the 1920s to 1945 on Schutzstaffel flags, uniforms and other items as symbols of various aspects of Nazi ideology and Germanic mysticism.

The SS-runes represented virtues seen by Heinrich Himmler as desirable in SS members, and were based on völkisch mystic Guido von List’s Armanen runes, which he, in turn, loosely based on the historical runic alphabets (Younger Futhark and the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc).

From the 18-rune system of Armanen runes developed (allegedly divinely received) by Guido von List Heinrich Himmler selected nine (i.e. half) to be used in his SS. The official SS insignia was comprised of two Siegrune (doppelte Siegrune). Each of these runes initially (i.e. in the Younger Futhark) represented the Sun but in the Armanen system had a different meaning. Victory.

Other Armanen runes used by the SS were Elf (a symbol for zeal/enthusiasm); Ger (communal spirit); Hagal (unshakeable faith in Nazi ideology); Leben (Life); Odal (kinship, family and unity in blood) – it was used by RuSHA – SS Race and Settlement Main office responsible for maintaining the racial purity of the SS; Opfer (self-sacrifice for Germany and its Führer); Tod (Death) – not surprisingly, the inverted Leben (Life) and Tyr (military leadership) – the latter was a symbol of a God by the same name of combat, victory and heroic glory in Norse mythology.

In addition to runes, the SS used two other magical symbols – Wolfsangel (a symbol of liberty and independence) and Heilszeichen (which symbolized prosperity, good fortune and success).

Wolfsangel was an initial symbol of the Nazi Party prior to the adoption of a far more spiritually powerful swastika (the former was adopted only in the 15th century AD as an emblem of a peasant revolt in the 15th century against the oppression of the German princes and their mercenaries).

Another magical symbol was used only in one place – on the floor of the Obergruppenführersaal in the North Tower of the Wewelsburg Castle. It was Die Schwarze Sonne – the Black Sun (although the actual sign in Wewelsburg is greenish).

However, this sign received its name only after the end of the Second World War; its actual name and meaning are still unknown (in fact, very little is known about what Himmler did – and intended to do – in Wewelsburg Castle).

The most well-known (and probably the least spiritually and emotionally powerful) SS symbols was the Totenkopf – the (in)famous and much dreaded Death Head. Traditionally, it symbolized the defiance of death but in the SS it meant the willingness to both kill and give (sacrifice) one’s life for Germany, German people, Der Führer and one’s comrades.

In addition to the abovementioned symbols, the SS utilized a number of emotionally and spiritually powerful objects – the (in)famous black uniforms, daggers, ceremonial swords, banners and, of course, the SS-Ehrenring (“SS Honor Ring”), unofficially called Totenkopfring (“Death’s Head Ring”).

Himmler considered the latter to be the most important one by far; consequently, these rings were never to be sold, and were to be returned to him upon the death of the owner (it is rumored that the rings of the dead SS members were supposed to be stored in Wewelsburg Castle for eternity).

Unlike Adolf Hitler who could not care less about magic or magical objects, Heinrich Himmler believed in the spiritual power of famous holy objects – such as the Holy Grail, for example.

Beginning in 1933, a German writer, medievalist and occultist Otto Rahn published a series of books tying the Grail, Templars, and Cathars to German nationalist mythology of the XX century.

According to Rahn, the Grail was a symbol of a pure Germanic religion repressed by Christianity. Rahn’s books caught the attention of Heinrich Himmler who even (for a time) financed Rahn’s search for the Grail (which predictably led nowhere).

It also appears that Heinrich Himmler was very interested (to put it mildly) in another holy object – the Holy Lance. Also known as the Lance of Longinus (named after Saint Longinus), the Spear of Destiny, or the Holy Spear. According to the Christian legend, it is the lance (spear) that pierced the side of Jesus as he hung on the cross during his crucifixion.

In the 13th century AD, the Holy Lance (more precisely, the object believed to be the Holy Lance) became a part of Reichskleinodien – regalia of the Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1800, the regalia (and thus the Holy Lance) were moved to Vienna to protect them from the advancing French revolutionary army. After the Anschluss of Austria to the Nazi Reich in 1938 the imperial regalia were returned on instruction by Adolf Hitler to Nuremberg, where they were exhibited in the Katharinenkirche.

In the Second World War they were stored for protection from air raids in the Historischer Kunstbunker (Nuremberg Castle. In 1945 the imperial regalia were found there by US soldiers and were brought back in 1946 to the Hofburg in Vienna.

Himmler’s interest in the Spear of Destiny stemmed from the claim (contained in one of the legends of the Holy Lance) that it gives its owner the power to conquer the whole world.

Consequently, it is no surprise that on Himmler’s orders the SS officers hid the Holy Lance and some other holy objects in the separate place, possibly hoping that one day the Spear of Destiny will enable them to return to power in Germany and Europe.

After a series of interrogations and false rumors, Nuremberg city councilor Stadtrat Fries confessed that he, fellow-councilman Stadtrat Schmeiszner, and one SS official had hidden the holy objects on March 31, 1945, and agreed to bring the American investigators to the site.

On August 7, the latter escorted Fries and Schmeiszner to the entrance of the Panier Platz Bunker, where they located the treasures hidden behind a wall of masonry in a small room off of a subterranean corridor, roughly eighty feet below ground.

The Holy Lance were first brought back to Nuremberg castle to be reunited with the rest of the Reichskleinodien, and then transferred with the entire collection to Austrian officials the following January.

Other mystical/magical endeavors of SS Reichsfuhrer were ultimately equally unsuccessful. For a very simple reason – although he did have psychic, supernatural, paranormal capabilities, they were not sufficiently powerful to make a difference… because he never took them (and thus pursued them) seriously enough.

And the magic requires to be taken seriously… or not pursued at all. In other words, you either make a full commitment to using the magical power of places, objects, facilities, objects, rituals, symbols, etc.

True, his magical activities did help Himmler to make his SS a powerful political, economic, paramilitary and military force – but they did not provide him with sufficient support to acquire the absolute power in the Third Reich.

Ditto for his attempts to establish a new, neo-pagan religion were not successful. In reality, the “neo-pagan customs” Himmler introduced into the SS “remained primarily a paper exercise” never really taking root.

Two reasons contributed to Himmler’s “Ersatz-religion” never catching on: First, Himmler was in a constant search for religious certainty, leaving his doctrine vague and unclear (as I have already stated, he was no Prophet Muhammad – or Buddha or Mani for that matter).

Second, his boss Adolf Hitler (who was never fond of magic, the occult or paganism) personally intervened into Himmler’s spiritual endeavor, telling the latter to “cut out his cultic nonsense”.

Reincarnation of the Teutonic Order (2)

In reality, the Prussian Crusade was not one, but a series of military campaigns conducted by Roman Catholic Crusaders. These campaigns were led by the Teutonic Order and their official objective was to Christianize under duress the pagan “Old Prussians”.

Invited after earlier unsuccessful expeditions against the Prussians by Christian Polish kings, the Teutonic Knights began campaigning against the Prussians, Lithuanians and Samogitians in 1230.

By the end of the 13th century the Teutonic Knights established not only an all but total control over Prussia, but a unique “monastic” state. This state was (understandably) called (in German) Staat des Deutschen Ordens,  Deutschordensstaat or simply Ordensstaat.

Using this state as a powerful instrument (a combination of physical and ideological force), the Knights eventually completely erased the Prussian language, culture, their pagan religion… and ultimately the whole Prussian people (nation).

Thus achieving the practically total Christianization and Germanization of the Prussian region located on the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, ranging from the Gulf of Gdansk in the west to the end of the Curonian Spit in the east and extends inland as far as Masuria (a region in northeastern Poland, famous for its 2,000 lakes).

Heinrich Himmler was born and raised in a conservative and devout Catholic family (where the subject of Catholic history was taken very seriously). It is also a well-established fact that he was obsessed with the vision and the ideals of medieval knighthood (and of ancient and medieval Germandom).

Hence it is no surprise that he was fascinated by the Teutonic Order and used it as a model (a starting point actually) for his very own quasi-religious order of “Black Knights”. The SS.

The SS inherited from the Teutonic Knights both its initial objectives (protection of the “common people” of Aryan blood from both criminals and “alien races”) and conquest of Lebensraum – with the subsequent “Germanization” (via resettlement of Germans and indoctrination of the native population) and either enslavement, deportation (thousands of Prussians were forced by the Order to flee to neighboring Lithuania) or physical extermination (Prussians who refused to convert to Christianity were ruthlessly massacred).

And so were the Jews – albeit not by Teutonic Knights, but by mobs of German Crusaders in Germany proper in 1096 (the so-called “Rhineland massacres”). In Jerusalem, the victorious knight Godfrey de Bouillon (one of the leaders of the First Crusade) found all the Jews conveniently assembled in a synagogue.

He burnt it down and burned the Jews to death. It is estimated that upwards of 10,000 Jews were murdered in Europe during the First Crusade, constituting a third to a quarter of the Jewish population of the continent.

Another critically important structure inherited from the Teutonic Order by the SS was the idea of the Ordensstaat – a distinctive state based upon the religion and ideology.

Essentially, the SS became the SS-Staat – initially the “state within a state” (i.e. within the Third Reich – much like the Ordensstaat was a state within the First Reich – the Holy Roman Empire). However, Himmler’s ultimate objective was to acquire the absolute power in Germany and then use this power to transform the Führerstaat (the Third Reich) into the SS-Staat (the Fourth Reich of sorts).

However, there were (obviously) several crucial differences between the Teutonic Order and the SS. First, the Teutonic Knights were a Christian Order while the ideology of the SS was based on a neo-pagan quasi-religion (more on that later).

The insignia of the Teutonic Knights was Christian – a black cross on the white garment while the SS insignia was decidedly pagan (German runes). Actually, from the religious perspective, the SS was the “Teutonic order in reverse” – while the fundamental objective of the Knights was to convert pagans to Christianity, the objective of the SS was exactly the opposite – convert Christians to neo-pagan quasi-religion.

Second, The Teutonic Order was a monastic one – its members took the vow of celibacy and were not supposed (to put it mildly) to father children. Heinrich Himmler (unlike modern liberal politicians and leaders) was aware of the inevitable “war of the civilization” and (ditto) knew that victory in this genuinely existential war boiled down to fertility rates (the higher, the better).

Hence, SS members were required to (1) get married; and (2) produce the maximum possible number of children – both “legitimate” and “illegitimate” (provided, naturally, that in both cases mothers were of “pure Aryan blood”).

And, finally, the Teutonic Order never intended to take over a country (let alone of the whole European Civilization) while the ultimate objective of the SS was exactly that.

Reincarnation of the Teutonic Order (1)

The SS is sometimes compared to the Roman Praetorian Guard and even the Japanese Samurai. Both comparisons are fundamentally misleading and grossly incorrect because Heinrich Himmler openly admitted that his SS was a reincarnation (of sorts) of the Teutonic Order. Himmler even adopted the colors of Teutonic Knights (black and white) as the primary colors of the SS (to which he added silver).

True, the SS was very different (to put it mildly) from the Teutonic Order (which, by the way, was banned and suppressed by the Nazis in 1939) and was much, much more than the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (the official name of the Teutonic Order). Nevertheless, to understand the SS (and its founder and leader Heinrich Himmler), one must understand the Teutonic Order.

The first obvious feature of the Teutonic Order that undoubtedly attracted Himmler was its common name in German. Actually, four of its common names in German – Deutscher Orden (official short name, literally “German Order“), Deutscher Ritterorden (“German Order of Knights“), Deutschherrenorden (“Order of the German Lords“) and Deutschritterorden (“Order of the German Knights“).

“Teutonic”, by the way, means “German” in Latin – the full official Latin name of the order is Ordo Domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum (Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem in German).

Heinrich Himmler could not care less about the origins of the Teutonic Order (except for the fact that it was comprised almost exclusively of German knights, soldiers and auxiliaries) – or about the first twenty or so years of its history.

Still, it is informative to note that the Teutonic Order was formed in 1992 in Acre (now a city in Israel) to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals.

Its members became known as the Teutonic Knights, and were a small voluntary and mercenary military force, serving as a crusading military unit for the protection of Christians in the Holy Land and the Baltics during the Middle Ages from marauding criminals, bandits, Muslims, etc.

Shortly after, the order became involved primarily in controlling the port tolls of Acre – at the time the key port of the Crusader States (Outremer). After Christian forces were defeated in the Middle East by the victorious Muslims, the Teutonic Order moved to Transylvania in 1211 to help defend the southeastern borders of the Kingdom of Hungary against the Cumans.

These activities of the order were much more relevant to Heinrich Himmler because this time the knights were tasked with protection of the Aryan (sort of) European Kingdom from the alien race (Cumans – also called Kipchaks – were a Turkic nomadic people).

But what really attracted Heinrich Himmler in the Teutonic Order (apart from its German nature, of course) was the leading role that its knights played in the Prussian Crusade of 1230-1274 – the project that was critically important for the formation of the German state and the German empire.

Himmler’s Pursuit of Absolute Power (3)

Not surprisingly, during the Second World War the power and influence of Heinrich Himmler (and the SS) steadily increased. First, the SS became an indispensable provider of the ultra-cheap slave labor (from occupied territories) to German industry – and thus made the enormous, crucial and vital contribution to the German war effort.

Second, the SS played the key role in the “pacification” of all occupied territories (not just in the Lebensraum in the East) by fighting anti-Nazi Resistance of all sorts, stripes and flavors.

Third, the SS provided crucial financing for the German war effort – in the form of liquid assets easily convertible to hard currency (despite all Nazi efforts, the Third Reich still had to acquire a not insignificant amount of strategic materials from neutral nations).

It is important to note that Himmler kept a not insignificant amount of these assets in the SS coffers – which gave the latter an enormous financial power in Nazi Germany and abroad.  

Not surprisingly, these assets were either looted from the occupied territories or taken (by deception or brutal force) from the Jews (who were subsequently murdered either by firing squads or in gas chambers).

In addition, the SS launched a counterfeiting project (“Operation Bernhard”) forging over £125 million (mostly in £5 notes). This money was used for purchase of strategic materials and special operations (including black market guns for pro-Nazi forces).

But the SS contribution to the German war economy did not end there. By the end of the war, the SS (more specifically, the SS-WVHA – SS Main Economic and Administrative Office) owned and operated a gargantuan network of commercial enterprises that manufactured just about everything under the sun – from bricks and cement to military clothing and accessories.

By the same time, the SS took control over all advanced weapons projects (including the famous V-2 ballistic missiles). In March of 1944, Himmler’s close associate Hans Kammler – SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS – became one of the German war economy’s most important managers (even robbing no other than Albert Speer of much of the latter’s influence).

Although limited in overall headcount (just over 1 million in 1944 compared to 13 million Wehrmacht soldiers and officers), Waffen-SS made a critically important contribution to German successes on the battlefield on both fronts (Western and Eastern).

Moreover, on the very next day after the failed July 20th coup in 1944, Heinrich Himmler took control over German Ersatzheer (Replacement Army). Its primary role was to provide replacements for the combat divisions of the regular army; however, it also included command and administrative units as well as training and guard troops.

More specifically, it was tasked with the conscription, recruitment, training and replacement of personnel, testing of new military equipment, and administration, such as responsibility for soldiers on home leave.

For all practical purposes, the commander of Ersatzheer had enough power to de-facto control the whole Nazi German state because his position controlled army procurement and production and command of all army troops inside Germany.

By that time, Himmler already took control of the famous Abwehr (intelligence and counter-intelligence service of Wehrmacht). On February 18th, 1944, Adolf signed a decree that abolished the Abwehr.

The functions of the Abwehr were fully absorbed by Amt VI (SD-Ausland – Foreign Intelligence department of the SS) of the RSHA headed by SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor (one-star general) of Police Walter Schellenberg.

Also by that time Himmler further strengthened his power over Germany by becoming (on August 24th, 1943) the Reichsminister of the Interior. On June 2nd, 1933 he got himself promoted to the rank of Reichsleiter.  

It was the second highest political rank of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), next only to the office of Führer. The Reichsleiter reported directly to Adolf Hitler. This position gave Himmler enormous power in the Nazi Party as well – in addition to his power in the government (state), in the police and subsequently in the military as well.

Himmler’s Pursuit of Absolute Power (2)

Contrary to a (very) popular misconception, Heinrich Himmler was the most powerful individual in Nazi Germany (after Adolf Hitler, of course) not only because he controlled political and criminal police and concentration camps and had accumulated enough kompromat to bring down just about anyone in Nazi hierarchy.

But also for an entirely different reason. Contrary to another very popular misconception, the whole Nazi project was essentially about three fundamental objectives: (1) transformation of German people into the nation (“race”) of genuine Übermenschen – “super-humans”; (2) conquest and “pacification” of sufficient Lebensraum (“living space”) in the East to make Germany self-sufficient in foodstuffs and raw materials – and to support the comfortable, affluent and happy life of all Germans; and (3) the so-called “resettlement”. Everything else was a mere means to these three ends.

“Resettlement” was (like many other Nazi terms) a euphemism for an unprecedented campaign of colonization, enslavement, ethnic cleansing and mass murder on the previously unheard-of scale.

In practical terms, it meant (a) enslavement of the native population deemed functionally valuable to the German conquerors; (b) deportation or physical elimination – mass murder – of those deemed insufficiently valuable; and (c) resettlement proper of ethnic Germans on the conquered Eastern territories – in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, etc.

The SS was the primary (“lead”) agency responsible for achieving all three key objectives (raison d’être of the Nazi state). Which automatically made it the most important and valuable (and thus the most powerful) organization in the Third Reich – and (according to the omnipresent Führerprinzip) made Heinrich Himmler the most important and valuable (and thus the most powerful) individual in Nazi Germany.

This power was exercised both through his position (and authority) of SS Reichsfuhrer (in particular, via RuSHA – SS Race and Settlement Main Office) and his power as the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood (he convinced Adolf Hitler to appoint him to this position on October 7th, 1939 – a mere month after the start of the Second World War).

In the latter position, Himmler was responsible for (1) the return to the Reich of the Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans with foreign citizenships) and Auslandsdeutsche – German citizens who live abroad; (2) prevention of “harmful influence” of populations alien to the German nation/race; and, last but not the least (3) creation in the conquered Lebensraum of new populated areas settled by Germans, mostly by the returning ones.

Himmler’s value, importance and power were further strengthened by his two other key achievements. First, he positioned the SS as the natural “breeder” of the elite (super-Übermenschen) who will run the Nazi state and the whole Nazi society – the Party, the government, the industry, the academia, etc… and the German Armed Forces. Especially the German Armed Forces.

The second achievement stemmed from the irrefutable fact that Adolf Hitler and other Nazis sincerely (and incorrectly) believed that Germany was fighting a genuinely existential “racial war” with the “Jewish race” (more specifically, with the “Judeo-Bolshevist” monster).

They were right on the second count (the war with Bolshevism was, indeed, an existential one) but dead wrong on the “Judeo” one. Hence, it was much worse than a crime – it was a (genuinely) horrific blunder… but Adolf Hitler and the Nazis sincerely (and incorrectly) believed that to win this existential war, they had to physically exterminate the Jews down to the last man, woman and child.

And again, the SS (more specifically, the RSHA and the SS-WVHA – SS Main Economic and Administrative Office which ran the system of KL and the death camps) was appointed as the lead agency (“general contractor”) for the murderous project that ultimately became known as The Holocaust.

Himmler’s Pursuit of Absolute Power (1)

A thorough and comprehensive analysis of what Himmler actually did during the 1930s and 1940s demonstrates beyond the reasonable doubt that his ultimate objective was, indeed, acquisition of an absolute power over Nazi Germany.

And I mean genuinely absolute: the one enjoyed over his country by the “Red Tamerlane” Joseph Stalin – the arch-enemy (nemesis, actually) of the Third Reich (Hitler’s power in the Third Reich was far more limited – by Wehrmacht).

Heinrich Himmler almost achieved his objectives – had Adolf Hitler been killed in one of the numerous assassination attempts, Himmler would have inevitably emerged as the winner in the subsequent power struggle (battle even) in the Third Reich. For a very simple reason – he had the brains, the Will, the ruthlessness and the resources far superior to even his most powerful competitor.

Himmler’s achievements in his relentless and determined pursuit of the absolute power in Nazi Germany prove beyond the reasonable doubt that he was, indeed, a genius. A criminal and murderous genius, sure (no doubt about that) but a genius nevertheless. And, of course, one of the most successful political entrepreneurs of the XX century (after all, the SS was a political organization).

Power is achieved and exercised via control of the people – first and foremost, over influential individuals. To establish and maintain this control (at all times), one obviously needs the appropriate (i.e. the most efficient) control tools and methods.

The most powerful – and the most efficient – control tools (any leader and member of any totalitarian cult will attest to that) are tools that create emotional bond between the individual and an organization (ideally the emotional dependency of the latter on the former). And a spiritual dependency – if the individual in question has well-developed spiritual needs.

And that’s exactly what Heinrich Himmler achieved. A no small feat, to put it mildly – very few individuals managed to do anything like that. Especially from scratch – and especially in the XX century (just about all elite societies were set up centuries ago).

He made his SS so emotionally and even spiritually valuable to just about everyone in the Third Reich (including even the most powerful individuals in Nazi Party, government, industry, etc.) that with very few exceptions everybody craved membership (especially high-ranking one) in this “exclusive club” and the “elite society”.

And after they were accepted into the SS (with the rank bestowed on them according to the position and influence of the individual in question in the Nazi hierarchy)… they immediately became (1) emotionally and even spiritually dependent on the SS; and (2) subordinate to its Reichsfuhrer – Heinrich Himmler.

In other words, it became very difficult for them (to put it mildly) to refuse to do what Himmler wanted them to do. Including (obviously) placing the SS members into prominent, influential and powerful positions in their “responsibility areas”.

Especially given the irrefutable fact that SS Reichsfuhrer had an impressive collection of other highly effective and efficient “control tools” at his disposal. In 1931 (even before the Nazis came to power), Himmler created the SD – domestic intelligence service – that in no time collected and structured sufficient “kompromat” (damaging information) to bring down just about everyone in the Third Reich – even the Wehrmacht top brass (see the infamous Blomberg–Fritsch affair, for example).  

In 1934, Himmler seized control of the much-feared Gestapo (the Nazi political police) and since 1936 (when he was appointed Chief of Police for the entire Germany) – of the criminal police (Kripo) and Order Police (OrPo) as well.

To that he added another immensely powerful control tool – an (ultimately) vast network of concentration camps (KL) established in 1933. And the (in)famous “Reichstag Fire Decree” issued on February 28th of the same year allowed him to intern just about anybody in the nearest KL… indefinitely.

Consequently, it is no surprise that even before the outbreak of the Second Great War Himmler accumulated the “critical mass” of “his agents” (powerful and influential SS members in the Party, the government, the industry, etc.) and sufficient control over just about everyone else.

The critical mass (and control tools) that gave him the power and the means to control and manage… just about the whole Nazi Germany (even the Wehrmacht top brass – with the appropriate kompromat).

What Exactly Was the SS?

SS ButtonIt is an indisputable fact that the Schutzstaffel was a highly complex organization (likely the most complex in human history). It is also a fact that the “professional” historians of the Third Reich (or any other historians for that matter) are not exactly proficient in systems analysis (to put it mildly).

Hence, it is no surprise at all that so far no one has provided a satisfactory answer to a fundamental question: “What Exactly Was the SS?

Actually, it is not that difficult to produce the true and correct answer to this question – you just need to look at the SS (and its history) in the right way (i.e. from the right angle).

First of all, it is necessary to acknowledge a simple fundamental fact: the SS as we know it was the creation, the offspring, the brainchild of but one ruthlessly ambitious idealist – and one of the most brilliant and successful (not necessarily in the positive sense) “organizational architects” and “organizational engineers” of the XX century (if not the whole modern human history). Heinrich Luitpold Himmler. A genius, actually. A dark genius, sure – but still a very real genius.

From the day he took command of this organization in 1929 (when it was still a small paramilitary force of a not exactly powerful political party – yet), Himmler was the SS and the SS was Himmler.

It is also evident that the growth and development of the Schutzstaffel (in terms of size, structure, functions, etc.) not only became inseparably bound up with the career of its Reichsführer, but was actually driven by the latter.

Second, to understand what exactly SS was, we must look at the structure and the functions of this “Black Order” not forward – from the moment of its establishment in 1925 – when it was a very small (and even unpaid!) personal for a minor (and thus at the time insignificant) politician of a regional caliber mostly, but in the exactly opposite direction.

In other words, from mid-1944, when it became a mighty political, economic and paramilitary/security force that all but dominated the political, administrative (i.e. government), professional and even cultural spheres of the Third Reich. The most powerful empire mainland Europe has ever seen (although the leaders of its archenemy – the mighty Soviet Union would most likely disagree).

When you look at the Schutzstaffel from these two all-important perspectives, you will immediately see that the SS was… a tool. An extremely, enormously powerful tool that Heinrich Himmler essentially created (starting with a genuinely insignificant embryo) and highly skillfully used to achieve his incredibly ambitious (to put it mildly) political and ideological objectives (he was a diehard idealist, after all).

I will cover these objectives in the appropriate detail in the next section and now I will only acknowledge another irrefutable fact – that in addition to being Himmler’s tool, the SS had a number of “other faces” (a very common feature for any complex organization/system).

First, the SS became the “New Elite” of Germany (and the “egalitarian elite” to boot – something unheard of in human history before that). The elite that (1) was accepted as such by just about everyone in the Third Reich – from the very bottom to the very top of the “social ladder”; and (2) created almost single-handedly by one individual. Heinrich Himmler. Not a small feat, to put it mildly – and definitely the accomplishment of a genius, if you ask me.

In Nazi Germany, individuals in all walks of life, from farmers, clerks, workers and soldiers to academics and even members of the aristocracy (i.e. the “Old Elite”), flocked in droves to join the SS. And not only for “traditional” (and primitive) ends, such as money, power, career advancement, etc., but to become the members of the New Elite.

But the SS was much more than just the New Elite. It was a quasi-religious community (appropriately labeled by some historians as the “Black Order”) – with its own neo-pagan quasi-religion, rituals, traditions, etc.

Other historians call them “the Praetorian Guards” of the Nazi Regime (of the Führerstaat and of the whole Third Reich) and even the “Nazi Samurai” – both of which I find… acceptable, let’s say.

Himmler made sure that the SS became one big (enormous, mammoth, gargantuan) – and, actually, quite happy family. Unfortunately, not only in the benign German sense, but also in a very criminal sense.

Because the SS was, indeed, a very much criminal organization – a Mafia of sorts – as some of its objectives, principles, methods, decisions and actions were unquestionably criminal.

There was a very important (existential even) difference between the SS and the Mafia, of course – while the latter was a purely commercial enterprise (nothing personal – just business), the fundamental objectives of the SS (i.e. of its Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler) were political and ideological, not financial.

However, the SS ultimately became a gargantuan commercial and industrial empire – a vast network of (often monopolistic) business enterprises (literally hundreds of manufacturing facilities and other factories) with direct access to their own raw materials, labor (often of the slave/forced variety) and both internal and external markets.

The empire that – like the “traditional” Mafia – often made money (and a lot of it) using highly criminal methods – extortion, robbery, mass murder, slave labor, to name only a few. Which did not bother Himmler (or just about anyone else in the SS for that matter) because he quickly placed his creation and its members outside the German law. Any law, actually – with the exception of its own “SS laws”.

Now let’s talk a little bit about the political and ideological objectives of Heinrich Luitpold Himmler.