Himmler joined the Nazi Party in 1925, rose steadily in the party hierarchy, and was elected a deputy to the Reichstag (the German parliament) in 1930. After Hitler gained power on January 30, 1933, Himmler became head of the Munich police and soon afterward became commander of all German police units outside Prussia. As such, he established the Third Reich's first concentration camp, at Dachau.

In April 1934, Himmler was appointed assistant chief of the Gestapo (Secret State Police) in Prussia, and from this position he extended his control over the police forces of the whole Reich, assuming full command of them in 1936.  In September 1939, Himmler fused the Security Police and the SD into the Reich Security Main Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt; RSHA), the agency that would be tasked with implementing the Holocaust in 1941-1942. Himmler was the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany. Hitler entrusted Himmler with the planning and implementation of the "Final Solution" more than any other individual, Himmler was the man who created the network of state terror by which the Third Reich suppressed eliminated its enemies. In his most quoted speech, that of October 4, 1943, in Poznan to a gathering of SS generals, Himmler explicitly justified the mass murder of the European Jews in the following words: “In front of you here, I want to refer explicitly to a very serious matter….I mean here…the annihilation of the Jewish people…. Most of you will know what it means when 100 corpses lie side by side, or 500 or 1,000…. This page of glory in our history has never been written and will never be
written….We had the moral right, we were obligated to our people to kill this people which wanted to kill us.” Himmler committed suicide after being captured by the Allied Forces.