Himmler, Hitler's Henchman

...an Images of War title from Pen & Sword

Title: Himmler, Hitler's Henchman
Author: Ian Baxter
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-39909-663-8

A new addition to the Images of War series, and another from author Ian Baxter. A 119-page soft-cover book in the common format for these books.
Originally a chicken farmer, Himmler joined the Nazi party in 1923, and he steadily climbed his way up through the ranks until he eventually led the SS organisation. After the basic introduction, the book is split across 3 chapters. Each one is started with a few pages of text to set out the story, and then accompanied by a set of archive images covering the different periods, all with much more information contained within the extensive photo captions. Chapter 1 looks at the Invasion of the East, over the period of 1939-1041 before getting to his role as Architect of Genocide: Racial Policy 1941-42, and finally getting to chapter 3, War Lord 1943-45, when he took on the role of Army Commander as well. After all the years he spent in building the organisation of the SS and supporting Hitler, Himmler did eventually try and secretly negotiate a peace deal right at the end, without Hitler's knowledge, and who stripped him of all his offices once he found out. In the end he was captured by British troops, despite trying to hide behind a fake paybook/identity but he finally chose to bite on a cyanide capsule while under interrogation. He died a coward, unable or unwilling to take responsibility for his crimes.
The volume of photographs of Himmler, as well as Hitler himself, tells another story of how the Nazi regime make such a thing of the use/power of propaganda, yet it gave a gloss to a murderous regime that is still so hard to understand. There is a part of me that questions a book that tackles the subject of Heinrich Himmler but the reality I think is that we have to consider the 'baddies' of history, even the worst of them, in an effort to try and understand the history of WW2 and hopefully prevent us from allowing repeat mistakes to happen. I'm not convinced we do, but that shouldn't stop us trying.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.

Robin