A chilling biography of the head of Nazi Germany’s terror apparatus, a key player in the Third Reich whose full story has never before been told Reinhard Heydrich is widely recognized as one of the great iconic villains of the twentieth century, an appalling figure even within the context of the Nazi leadership. Chief of the Nazi Criminal Police, the SS Security Service, and the Gestapo, ruthless overlord of Nazi-occupied Bohemia and Moravia, and leading planner of the "Final Solution," Heydrich played a central role in Hitler's Germany. He shouldered a major share of responsibility for some of the worst Nazi atrocities, and up to his assassination in Prague in 1942, he was widely seen as one of the most dangerous men in Nazi Germany. Yet Heydrich has received remarkably modest attention in the extensive literature of the Third Reich.
Robert Gerwarth weaves together little-known stories of Heydrich's private life with his deeds as head of the Nazi Reich Security Main Office. Fully exploring Heydrich's progression from a privileged middle-class youth to a rapacious mass murderer, Gerwarth sheds new light on the complexity of Heydrich's adult character, his motivations, the incremental steps that led to unimaginable atrocities, and the consequences of his murderous efforts toward re-creating the entire ethnic makeup of Europe.
Robert Gerwarth is professor of modern history at University College Dublin and director of UCD’s Centre for War Studies.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Maps viii
I Death in Prague 1
II Young Reinhard 14
III Becoming Heydrich 50
IV Fighting the Enemies of the Reich 84
V Rehearsals for War 116
VI Experiments with Mass Murder 141
VII At War with the World 173
VIII Reich Protector 218
IX Legacies of Destruction 278
What People are Saying About This
'Evil is a word used too lightly in our times and in historical review. Yet, in his splendid biography of Heydrich, Robert Gerwarth allows us to see what evil means in its subtlety and complexity, its seeming reasonableness on occasion, its starkness and its terror. Reading Hitler's Hangman makes plain why, in our eternal wrestling with the question where by the grace of God might we be going, historical reckoning, even for the most appalling of war criminals, is a more satisfactory and richer approach than is legal prosecution.' - R.J.B. Bosworth, author of Mussolini
'Drawing on profound research, Robert Gerwarth presents a penetrating, authoritative analysis of the ruthless personality and murderous career of the man who directed the Third Reich's police state and became a driving-force in the programme to exterminate Europe's Jews.' - Ian Kershaw, author of Hitler
An excellent book on a major figure in the Nazi dictatorship, its secret police and the Holocaust. Gerwarth’s illumination of the development of the security complex under Heydrich, his actions in the Protectorate, and especially the war in the East, is of real value.’ - Tim Kirk, author of Nazi Germany
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