Reinhard Heydrich
Historical Figure
Nationality: Germany (born in Prussia)
Date of Birth: 1904
Date of Death: 1942
Cause of Death: Succumbed to injuries inflicted by grenade
Religion: Catholicism
Occupation: Soldier, Pilot, Police officer, Politician
Spouse: Lina von Osten
Military Branch: SS (World War II)
Political Party: NSDAP
Political Office(s): Member of Reichstag,
Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia
Fictional Appearances:

Reinhard Heydrich (7 March 1904 - 4 June 1942) was an SS-Obergruppenführer, chief of Nazi Germany's Reich Security Main Office (including the Gestapo, SD and Kripo Nazi police agencies) and Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia. Adolf Hitler considered him a possible successor as Führer, and nicknamed him "the man with the iron heart". Heydrich chaired the 1942 Wannsee conference, which finalized plans for the extermination of all European Jews in what is now referred to as the Holocaust.

Heydrich was fatally injured by two Czechoslovakian freedom-fighters (Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš) on 27 May 1942, as part of "Operation Anthropoid," a British-backed military operation to assassinate various Nazi officials. He died on 4 June. The vengeance the German government visited on Czechoslovak civilians for Heydrich's death led the British to end the plan.

Reinhard Heydrich in The Man With the Iron Heart[]

Reinhard Heydrich (1904-1947) was the Reichsprotektor of Bohemia-Moravia during World War II and later the first leader of the German Freedom Front against the Allied occupation of Germany from 1945 until he was finally killed in 1947.

The Man With the Iron Heart
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Date of Death: 1947
Cause of Death: Shot to death in a gun battle
Occupation: Terrorist
Military Branch: SS (WWII),
German Freedom Front

Heydrich was the target of an SOE assassination plot on 29 May 1942 near Prague. Heydrich fended off his attackers, Czech agents dropped into Czechoslovakia by the British, and escaped unharmed, later taking vengeance on the local population.[1] His survival allowed him to form plans for the aftermath of Germany's defeat, the inevitability made especially clear in the wake of the Stalingrad catastrophe in February 1943. In contrast to Führer and Reichschancellor Adolf Hitler's insistence that Germany would eventually win the war, Heydrich's superior, Heinrich Himmler of the SS, reluctantly went along with Heydrich's idea of leaving arms and supplies scattered across Germany in the event of total defeat by the Allies.[2]

In 1945, as Nazi Germany fell to the onslaught of the Allied and Russian armies, Heydrich assumed command of the "German Freedom Front," an organization consisting of guerrillas and terrorists dedicated to the overthrow of the occupiers of Germany. Following orders from Der Reichsprotektor, GFF men and women sniped, bombed, and poisoned thousands of occupation soldiers in their effort to liberate Germany, inviting violent reprisals from both the Allies and the Soviets. With the help of his loyal adjutant Johannes Klein, Heydrich directed this guerrilla war from his hideout in the Alpine Redoubt in the German Alps. These activities included masterminding propaganda pieces and the implementation of suicide attacks.[3]

Heydrich left his lair once in 1946 to kidnap ten German physicists from British-held Alswede. The mission was mostly a success, although Werner Heisenberg was accidentally shot.[4]

After passing an American checkpoint in Erlangen, Heydrich's vehicle broke down. This actually helped save Heydrich and Klein, as the Americans had been alerted, and were prepared to ambush them. Only the intervention of a loyal Nazi veteran saved them from capture or death. The loyalist hid the two in a boat with a false bottom. Although the truck was stopped by Americans, it was not searched, and so Heydrich escaped.[5]

Heydrich had hoped that the scientists would build him an atomic bomb. They quickly disabused Heydrich of this notion, as they didn't have the financial resources or material needed. However, Karl Wirtz shared his knowledge of ten grams of radium left in a trash pile in Hechingen.[6] Heydrich sent agents to collect the radium.[7] Shortly after, a GFF Werewolf detonated a radium-bomb in the American compound in Frankfurt prior to the Allies second attempt to try accused German war criminals.[8]

Heydrich then turned his attention to Germany's other enemies, France and Britain. In the summer of 1946, GFF agent Jürgen Voss used a truckbomb to level the Eiffel Tower.[9] In December, GFF agents used truckbombs to demolish St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.[10] For the first part of 1947, the GFF concentrated on targeting Allied troops in Germany.

In July 1947, the Allies were once again prepared to try the accused German war criminals, this time in Berlin, in the heavily guarded Soviet zone. Heydrich found a pilot named Ernst Neulen and a woman named Mitzi to seize an American C-47 and crash it into the Berlin courthouse.[11] While Mitzi was supposed to parachute out of the plane before the crash, Heydrich made sure that her parachute wouldn't open.[12] In the aftermath of the crash, Heydrich gleaned ideas from panicked members of the Allies' press. He sketched out plans for the seizure of commercial flights.

Just a few months later, the United States began withdrawing troopers from Germany. Heydrich's plans had succeeded beyond his expectations, as he had not expected the U.S. to withdraw so soon. He knew that Britain would probably follow soon, but that France (a country he detested for riding on its allies' coattails) and the USSR weren't going anywhere.

American forces, under the command of CIC Lt. Lou Weissberg ultimately discovered Heydrich's hideout and forced his followers into the open. They received help from one Shmuel Birnbaum, a survivor of Auschwitz. Heydrich, who'd played a critical role in the Nazis' mass-murder of Jews, did not guess at the truth, believing the murder machine was too efficient. After ordering the death of all of the German scientists save Karl Wirtz and Kurt Diebner, Heydrich attempted to escape under the cover of darkness and in the confusion of a firefight. Der Reichsprotektor was killed by U.S. soldier Bernie Cobb as he appeared out of a tunnel.[13] The unfortunate Diebner was also killed. Wirtz survived.

Heydrich was succeeded by Joachim Peiper as leader of the German Freedom Front.[14]

Reinhard Heydrich in Worldwar[]

POD: May 30, 1942
Appearance(s): In the Balance;
Down to Earth
Type of Appearance: Posthumous references

Hans von Kaltenborn announced the fatal wounding of Reinhard Heydrich just days before the Race Invasion began in 1942.[15] The Nazis inflicted harsh revenge for Heydrich's death, a fact that was not fully understood by the rest of the world until years after the Peace of Cairo.

Heydrich was succeeded by Ernst Kaltenbrunner as the head of the RHSA.[16]

Many Soviet officials including Vyacheslav Molotov and Andrei Gromyko believed that had Heydrich lived, he would have been a dangerous foe to both the Race and the Soviet Union.[17]

Reinhard Heydrich in "The Last Article"[]

"The Last Article"
POD: c. 1940
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
Political Office(s): Reichminister

As reported by the British broadcaster William Joyce, Reichminister Reinhard Heydrich issued a statement congratulating Walther Model on his handling of Indian protesters in 1947 but warned that similar protests in the future would not be met with the same "leniency." Mohandas Gandhi had assumed, incorrectly, that Model would be censured for ordering the Qutb Road Massacre.[18]

Reinhard Heydrich in The War That Came Early[]

The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): Hitler's War;
West and East;
Last Orders
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references
Political Office(s): Reichsführer-SS (briefly in 1944)

As Heinrich Himmler's de facto right-hand man, Reinhard Heydrich wielded a great deal of power in Germany before and during the Second World War.[19]

Sarah Goldman considered Reinhard Heydrich to be perhaps the most frightening Nazi of all, not least because he looked the part of an idealized stereotype of an Aryan.[20]

When the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation killed both Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler in April 1944, Heydrich very briefly assumed the title of Reichsführer-SS during the civil war that followed.[21] Some worried that he might even assume the mantle of Führer,[22] but the Committee ultimately prevailed.

Literary comment[]

Heydrich's final fate is unrevealed.

Elsewhere in the series, Ivan Koniev's fictional death broadly parallels Heydrich's OTL death.

See Also[]


  1. The Man With the Iron Heart, pgs. 3-5.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 5-11.
  3. Ibid., Chapters 1-8, generally.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 201-204
  5. Ibid., ch. 13.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 227-228.
  7. Ibid., pgs. 240-243.
  8. Ibid., pgs. 261-262.
  9. Ibid. pg. 289-290.
  10. Ibid., pgs. 321-323.
  11. Ibid., pgs. 405-409.
  12. Ibid., pg. 411.
  13. Ibid., pgs. 477-486.
  14. Ibid., pg. 493.
  15. In the Balance, pg. 8.
  16. Down to Earth, pg. 548.
  17. Ibid., pg. 343.
  18. See, e.g., The Best Military Science Fiction of the Twentieth Century, Harry Turtledove and Martin H. Greenberg, eds, pg. 254.
  19. See, e.g., Hitler's War, pg. 100.
  20. West and East, pg. 75.
  21. Last Orders, pg. 326.
  22. Ibid., pg. 314.