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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Any credible account of the Holocaust's protagonists must begin with Hitler and Heinrich Himmler (1900–1945), the focus of this article. Although research has shown that Nazi anti-Jewish policy was propelled by a complex interaction between the ‘centre’ and the ‘periphery’, Hitler remained the decisive figure on key questions. When he did not issue specific instructions, he set the direction and goals of policy, permitting his subordinates to ‘work toward the Führer’. At pivotal moments, such as the launchings of the November pogrom of 1938 and the ‘Final Solution’ in 1941, Hitler acted decisively to move anti-Jewish measures to a higher level of brutality. Although Himmler did not play a key role in Nazi anti-Jewish policy before World War II, he eventually came to be instrumental in translating Hitler's will into action. Himmler received this role because he had moulded the SS into a cadre of hardened, dependable ideological soldiers who possessed the wherewithal and the motivation to undertake the difficult task of mass murder.

Keywords: Heinrich Himmler, Nazis, Adolf Hitler, Holocaust, mass murder, Final Solution

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