Reinhard Heydrich, the son of an actress, was born in Halle, on 7th march, 1904. He was too young to join the German Army during the First World War but at the age of sixteen joined the right-wing Freikorps. After taking part in battles with socialist revolutionaries in Halle he joined the German Navy.
While training he met and became friends with Wilhelm Canaris. Promoted to lieutenant in 1928, he joined the German intelligence service. However, he lost his job when accused of getting the daughter of important businessman pregnant. Angry at the way he had been treated, Heydrich immediately joined the Nazi Party. He also became a member of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and in 1931 he was introduced to Heinrich Himmler. Later Himmler appointed him to form the SD (Sicherheitsdienst). By 1933 Heydrich had reached the rank of Obergruppenfuhrer.
Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Goering argued that the Sturm Abteilung (SA) posed a threat to the German Army. In June 1934, Himmler arranged for Heydrich, Kurt Daluege and Walter Schellenberg, to carry out what became known as the Night of the Long Knives.
Heydrich and his SD successfully convinced Joseph Stalin that the leadership of the Red Army was planning a coup in the Soviet Union. This lead to the Great Purge of the Soviet military that resulted in the execution of Mikhail Tukhachevsky and seven other top Soviet commanders.
Heinrich Himmler and the SS were also put in charge of the Concentration Camps. During the Second World War the SS followed the German Army into invaded countries where they had the responsibility of murdering Jews, gypsies, communists and partisans. Heydrich was given control of Czechoslovakia where he announced that the SS intended to "Germanize the Czech vermin."
In 1941 MI6 decided to help the Czech resistance to assassinate Heydrich. This was the only Nazi leader that the Allies attempted to assassinate. They took this decision knowing that the German Army would take terrible retribution of the people of Czechoslovakia.
Two Czech agents, Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabčík, trained in Britain, were parachuted into Czechoslovakia on 29th December, 1941. Five months later, on 27th May, 1942, Heydrich was killed by a grenade while travelling in his car in Prague. The Czech agents involved in the killing hid in the crypt of a Prague church. Three-weeks later they were betrayed and were all killed during a gun battle.
In retaliation for the assassination of Heydrich, Kurt Daluege ordered the destruction of the village of Lidice. The village was razed to the ground and its 173 male inhabitants were murdered. The 198 women were sent to a Concentration Camp in Ravensbueck. Another 256 Czechs were condemned to death for aiding the assassination plot. Thousands of Czech people were also deported to other concentration camps in Austria and Germany as a result of Heydrich's death.