Born in the German city of Halle, near Leipzig on March 7, 1904, Reinhard Eugen Tristan Heydrich was raised in a cultured, musical environment.
Unable to server in World War 1, Heydrich joined the Freikorps and after decided to pursue his naval career. Finally, at age 27 in 1931, Heydrich joined the Nazi Party. Luckily, at the time he joined, Himmler was looking for the right person to build and run the Secret Service/ SD. An interview was set up immediately and surprisingly, Heydrich was exactly what Himmler was looking for. On August 1st, 1931, Heydrich was presented with this leadership position and began working.
By January, the SD under Heydrich’s leadership had become the most significant intelligence agency within the Nazi party. In June 1934, Nazi party Deputy Chief Rudolf Hess named it the sole agency authorized to gather political intelligence inside the Third Reich. After gaining such an important position at such a young age, good things continued to come for Heydrich. He was lucky to work with Himmler to separate the SS from the SA in 1934 .
In this same year he got the position as Chief of the Gestapo. When party conflicts set the SA under Ernst Röhm against Hitler, Heydrich and Himmler forged evidence proving Röhm a traitor, leading to his death along with that of other political opponents in the Night of the Long Knives. This showed that he was loyal to Hitler, as he was able to adhere to instructions to ensure Hitler’s wishes were met.In addition to what was previously stated about the Night of the Long Knives, it happened from 30th June 1934 to 2nd July 1934.
Röhm and dozens of top SA leaders were hunted down and murdered on Hitler’s orders, with the list of those to be murdered drawn up by Heydrich. This allowed the Nazis to show that they could be trusted in the eye of the army. It also showed German people that it would be extremely easy to get rid of them, instilling a sense of fear in them. Besides being the chief of the Gestapo, in 1939 he was named the head of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (“Reich Security Central Office”).
Under Heydrich, the Security Police and the SD was the primary agency responsible for intelligence analysis and executive measures in bringing down numerous internal and external enemies of the Nazi state. The SD established intelligence departments to study each of the Reich’s enemies. For example, Marxists, Communists, Social Democrats, Lutherans were studied. The Gestapo arrested these political opponents and, where deemed appropriate, put them in concentration camps. This helped the Nazis because they had less Anti-Nazi people roaming the streets and spreading rumors that would reduce their support. Although, the Nazi’s hated Jews, Heydrich established the Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration on 24 January 1939 .
This office had the task of using all available means to prompt Jews to emigrate. The Office paid for the emigration of the Jews by taking money from wealthier Jews and using it to expel their fellows. This helped the Nazi’s because they were able to reduce the Jews in their country and slightly satisfy their Anti-Semitic supporters, as well as getting some money in the process. Even though Heydrich had done a lot for the Nazi Party he did not stop. He played a prominent part in organizing the Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) from 9 November 1938 – 10 November 1938. The SS and police both steered the violence of Kristallnacht (“Night of Crystal,” commonly known as “Night of Broken Glass”) directly and exclusively at Jews.
On they first day they rounded up many of Jews—nearly 30,000 —simply because they were Jewish. Just this alone helped the Nazi party because they were able to utilise both the SS and the police, showing the German people that they can really do something and put them in grave danger. Moreover,Heydrich was the one that thought of the fake Polish attack on the Gleiwitz Radio Transmitter. Germans were disguised as Polish nationalist, and they ransacked the Radio Transmitter.
He did this to make it seem as though the Polish were sabotaging Germany and this gave Hitler his excuse for invading Poland and starting World War 2.As a result of the success Heydrich had received from the SD, he decided to create a special strike force called the Einsatzgruppen to carry put Nazi plans in 1940. The Einsatzgruppen was a mobile killing squad that murdered almost 1 million Soviet and Polish Jews in German-occupied territories. This created another platform for the Nazis to use to scare the Jews out of Germany.
Heydrich had also noticed that his control over the ghettos was reducing, so he ordered the establishment of Judenräte (“Jewish Councils”) to implement German values in the Jewish ghettos of German-occupied Poland. This helped the Nazis reduce opposition and somehow increase support as there was no one to bad mouth them. Again by September 1941, Heydrich was given another leadership position. He was appointed Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. His 1st order of business was to instruct a narrow wave of terror targeting real and perceived leaders of opposition in Czech lands. In October and November 1941, 342 people were sentenced to death and turned 1,289 “over to the Gestapo.
” Heydrich also established the Theresienstadt camp-ghetto in November; under his rule, 14,000 German and Austrian Jews and more than 20,000 Czech Jews were deported from Theresienstadt to the Reich Commissariat Ostland. This helped the Nazis because they were able to show other countries that they have control and can get it. Then on January 20th 1942, Heydrich chaired and lead the meeting at Wannasee where the decision was taken to eradicate the Jews from Europe. Heydrich presented plans, authorized by Adolf Hitler , to coordinate a European-wide “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” He informed the participants that Hitler had both authorized the physical annihilation of the European Jews and had designated the SS—specifically the RSHA under Heydrich—to coordinate “Final Solution policy.”On May 27, 1942, as Heydrich’s car slowed to round a sharp turn in the roadway it came under attack from Free Czech agents who had been brought to Czechoslovakia to assassinate him.
They shot at Heydrich then threw a bomb which exploded, wounding him. Himmler rushed his own private doctors to Prague to help Heydrich, who held on for several days, but died on June 4 from blood poisoning.