Adolf Hitler’s inner circle were the most powerful men in the Third Reich. It was a finely balanced team of military commanders, administrative leaders and Ministers of the Nazi Party (NSDAP).
This is a list of Hitler’s top 10 henchmen, who they were and a brief explanation of their roles.
10. Walther Funk
The Reich Minister of Economics, President of the Reichsbank and State Secretary at the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. A qualified economist, lawyer and philosopher; he was also editor of the financial newspaper the Berliner Börsenzeitung. He was a member of the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements, based in Switzerland and was appointed to the Central Planning Board in September 1943.
9. Joachim von Ribbentrop
Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany, an authority on world affairs and confidant of the Fuhrer. Independent broker of the Pact of Steel between Germany and Italy (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), and Ambassador to the Court of St James’s for London and the UK in 1936.
8. Albert Speer
Hitler’s Chief Architect and Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich, and member of Hitler’s inner circle. He designed and constructed the Reich Chancellery and the Party rally stadium in Nuremberg. He is responsible for Berlin’s wide streets and reorganised transport system.
7. Karl Donitz
Commander of the German Navy’s U-boats until 1943, then took over from Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy and was promoted to Grand-Admiral.
6. Erich Raeder
Great Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Kreigsmarine (German Naval Force) and Reichsmarine until 1943.
5. Wilhelm Keitel
Field Marshal of the German Army (Wehrmacht), Chief of the Supreme High Command of the German Armed Forces (OKW) and Chief of Defence for Germany, Hitler’s Chief of Staff.
4. Martin Bormann
Head of the Nazi Party Chancellery (a role previously called Deputy Fuhrer until Hess defected and Bormann replaced him with the new title), Hitler’s Personal Private Secretary, controlling all information passed to and from Hitler and controller of all personal access to Hitler. He had final approval over all legislation and de facto control over all domestic matters.
3. Joseph Goebbels
Reichsminister for Propaganda for Nazi Germany, with control over all news media, arts and public information in Germany, who delivered emotionally charged speeches to mobilise and motivate the German people. He was named in Hitler’s final will, written in the Furherbunker, as his official successor.
2. Hermann Göring
Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), founder of the Gestapo in 1933, Minister of the Economic Four Year Plan, Reichsmarschall, senior to all other Wehrmacht commanders, and in 1941, designated by Hitler as his successor and deputy in all his offices. Previously an ace fighter pilot in World War I, decorated with a Blue Max, and commander of the fighter wing led by von Richthofen, aka the Red Baron.
1. Heinrich Himmler
Reichsführer of the entire SS, Military Commander of the Waffen-SS, Commander of the Gestapo, Minister of the Interior, Commander of the Home Army, and supreme leader of the administration of the entire Third Reich.