The title of Reichsführer was first created in 1926 by Joseph Berchtold. In 1929, Heinrich Himmler became Reichsführer-SS and referred to himself by his title instead of his regular SS rank. Under Himmler, Reichsführer-SS became the highest rank of the SS and was considered the equivalent of a Generalfeldmarschall in the Wehrmacht.
After Himmler's attempts to open peace talks with the Allies in April 1945, Adolf Hitler stripped Himmler of all titles, including Reichsführer-SS, and appointed Karl Hanke to the office in his will. Hanke held the office for a matter of days before his own capture in May 1945. The office went defunct with Germany's surrender.
Reichsführer-SS in In the Presence of Mine EnemiesEdit
Heinrich Himmler spent his term building the office of Reichsführer-SS into the second-most powerful position in the Greater German Reich after that of the Führer. However, Himmler was the only Reichsführer-SS to eventually ascend to the office of the Führer.
In 2011, the incumbent Reichsführer-SS, Lothar Prützmann, launched a putsch against reform-minded Führer Heinz Buckliger. While Prützmann was able to hold Buckliger under house-arrest, and temporarily install Odilo Globocnik as führer, the putsch failed within 24 hours. Prützmann committed suicide, and the SS' powers were dramatically curtailed by the Wehrmacht.
Reichsführer-SS in The War That Came EarlyEdit
When the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation killed both Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler in April 1944, Himmler's right-hand man, Reinhard Heydrich very briefly assumed the title of Reichsführer-SS during the civil war that followed. Some worried that he might even assume the mantle of Führer, but the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation ultimately prevailed.