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Old July 24th, 2005 #1
albion
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Default Ernst Roehm and the SA

Ernst Roehm (1887-1934)
Ernst Rohm was born in Munich in 1887. An intensely militaristic man, he joined the German army and served throughout World War I. In 1919, after the war, Rohm met Adolf Hitler, a meeting which invariably altered the path of Rohm's life forever. Rohm maintained his militaristic inclinations and became the leader of the Frontbann, one of several paramilitary organizations existing in the Weimar Republic. Rohm became increasingly radical, and he felt angry and betrayed, as most Germans did, over the loss of World War I. Therefore, Rohm happily accepted his old friend Hitler's welcome into the Nazi party.

Rohm participated in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, and by 1925, took his major role in the Nazi Party and in history. He began to organize his own paramilitary organization from the sportabteilung, or sport detachment, of the Nazi Party. The sportabteilung had valiantly defended Hitler during the abortive Beer Hall Putsch, and in recognition Hitler renamed the sports detachment Sturmabteilung, abbreviated as SA, and appointed Ernst Rohm as their leader . Rohm took the ragtag crew of ruffians and street thugs that comprised the SA and began to organize and train them in a strict military fashion. This training provided the Nazi party with a strong military arm which made itself known in several street brawls while defending Hitler and the Nazi Party. But the relationship between Rohm and Hitler deteriorated, mainly over the leadership of the SA and the role it would play in achieving the Party's goals.

Rohm wanted the SA to be independent of the party's political structure, but Hitler forbade this mainly due to his desire to consolidate all control under his position. This objective would have been seriously inhibited if the SA was granted autonomy. Also, Hitler was becoming increasingly weary of Rohm's ever growing radical nature and the unruly conduct ofhis "brownshirts," which degraded the Nazi's public image and therefore jeopardized the struggle for power. When his request for autonomy was denied, Rohm grew spiteful of Hitler, declaring that he had claimed the glories won by the SA for himself. As a result, Rohm resigned from his position and became a military instructor in Bolivia.

Hitler replaced Rohm's position as SA leader several times with more conservative and controllable candidates. However, the SA only became more and more violent without Rohm's leadership, and Hitler began to fear losing control. As a consequence, Hitler faced a potential violent party division which could seriously undermine his ascension to power. In addition, the German army was voicing concern over the SA's violent behavior and increasing militancy. These traits increased the chances or challenges and altercations with the military. Therefore, Hitler established himself as supreme commander of the SA and re-established Rohm as his subordinate in hopes that the uneasiness and violent nature of the SA would be curbed. But, Rohm only militarized the SA further, organizing and training them into a more disciplined organization. Rohm also eased the Army's fears and gained usage of military facilities for SA training by pledging his support in any military operation where SA assistance could be used. Rohm's actions caused Hitler to debate his own ability to control the stormtroopers. Nevertheless, the SA continued to perform its duties as the visible power of the Nazi Party. Rohm amalgamated other existing paramilitary groups into the SA causing their membership to soar. But by this time, the Nazi party was beginning to exert more and more control over Germany's political and social institutions. The role of the SA now became obsolete, even dangerous since their violent nature threatened to generate harsher feelings for the Nazis and thereby undermined Party goals.

On the 1st of January 1934, Hitler wrote to SA leader, Ernst Roehm:

"I thank you my dearest Ernst Roehm, for the services which you have given to the National Socialist Movement and the German people, and to assure you how very grateful I am that I am able to call such men as you my friends and fellow fighters."

Despite that letter, all was not well between Hitler and Roehm. The SA was really nothing less than the Nazis own revolutionary army. By 1934, it had about two million members- twenty times more than the real army! They were mostly working class and many came from among the unemployed. Above all, they were firmly Socialist. That was one of the problems.

As far as Hitler was concerned the SA had done by helping him to gain power. Now, it was no longer useful. In fact, Hitler had good reasons for wanting to get rid of it:

1. Roehm and many other SA men wanted a second, Socialist, revolution.

2. The SA was unpopular with businessmen.

3. It was unpopular with the army, who saw the SA as a "rival", and Hitler needed the army's support if he were to take over as President when Hindenburg died.

By the summer, Hindenburg was very sick. Hitler told the SA to take a month's leave in July. Roehm told his men:

"I expect that on the 1st of August, the SA will be once more ready for duty. If the enemies of the SA are hoping that the SA will not return from leave, we are ready to let them enjoy the hope for a short time. The SA is, and remains, Germany's destiny."

He could not have been more wrong.

A meeting of SA leaders was fixed for 30th of June and Hitler had promised to attend. The night (night of the long knives) of 29-30th of June found the SA leaders at a village inn near Munich. There were no sentries on duty and no guards. Just before 7 a.m. a number of cars drove into the village and sped to the inn. Hitler, carrying his dog-whip, went in and woke up a sleepy Ernst Roehm. "You're under arrest" he told him. He did the same in the other bedrooms. At about 10 a.m., the SS began the round up in Berlin. Some "enemies" were just shot on the doorstep after they answered the bell. Many had no idea what was happening. The Munich police chief told his SS executioners, "Gentlemen I don't know what this is all about, but shoot straight."

Roehm himself was shot in his prison cell after he refused to commit suicide. Hitler later said that he was sorry that he had to destroy Roehm.Afterwards, the SA was disbanded, and the internal obstacle to the Nazi consolidation of power was eradicated.

http://www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/nsdap/Rohm.html

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERroehm.htm
 
Old July 24th, 2005 #2
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Default Sturmabteilung

The Sturmabteilung (SA, German for "Storm Division" and is usually translated as stormtroops or stormtroopers) functioned as a paramilitary organisation of the NSDAP – the German Nazi party. It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1930s. SA men were often known as brownshirts from the colour of their uniform and to distinguish them from the SS who were known as blackshirts.

The SA was also the first Nazi paramilitary group to develop pseudo-military titles for bestowal upon its members. The SA ranks would be adopted by several other Nazi Party groups, chief among them the SS.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturmabteilung

Ernst Röhm
 
Old July 24th, 2005 #3
Steve B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albion
Ernst Roehm (1887-1934)
Ernst Rohm was born in Munich in 1887. An intensely militaristic man, he joined the German army and served throughout World War I. In 1919, after the war, Rohm met Adolf Hitler, a meeting which invariably altered the path of Rohm's life forever. Rohm maintained his militaristic inclinations and became the leader of the Frontbann, one of several paramilitary organizations existing in the Weimar Republic. Rohm became increasingly radical, and he felt angry and betrayed, as most Germans did, over the loss of World War I. Therefore, Rohm happily accepted his old friend Hitler's welcome into the Nazi party.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERroehm.htm
From the link: Industrialists, who had provided the funds for the Nazi victory, were unhappy with Roehm's socialistic views on the economy and his claims that the real revolution had still to take place. Many people in the party also disapproved of the fact that Roehm and many other leaders of the SA were homosexuals.
 
Old July 24th, 2005 #4
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Good writeup on Roehm.

Roehm had become a serious opponent of Hitler's in the months before his arrest and execution. For one, his brazen homosexuality was rightfully seen as a total embarassment to the Party. There were other homos in the NSDAP, but no one as flagrant about it as Roehm was. Roehm was too much of a radical revolutionary even for most Nazis. He wanted to sweep away the old Prussian aristocracy and make the SA the new German army. This made many people uncomfortable, especially the wealthy German industrialists who Hitler depended on to finance his legal revolution.

Without Roehm's help in the early years Hitler would probably have never come to power. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor, Roehm and Hitler were on a collision course. Hitler made many compromises which Roehm saw as "selling out" the old warriors, the Party faithful who had stood with Hitler in the early years. Roehm would make comments behind Hitler's back about Hitler being a "traitor" and such. Can you imagine?

Roehm was a total megalomaniac and really only concerned with his own advancement, and was locked in a power struggle with Himmler and the SS. It was Himmler who convinced Hitler to have Roehm arrested and executed.

Hitler vacillated many times before finally giving in to Himmler's demands that Roehm be arrested and put to death. He told Hitler his old friend Roehm was planning a coup against him. Despite all of Roehm's boasting, there was no real coup. Had he not been a brazen homo, he would have had to have been eliminated by Himmler eventually for being too much of a loose cannon. The SA was hard enough to control as it was, but with Roehm leading them they were a serious threat to Hitler's new government.
 
Old July 25th, 2005 #5
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I sometimes wonder what kind of military commander Roehm would have made if he had been spared.
 
Old July 25th, 2005 #6
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Roehm may have been a pervert and that had to be dealt with. But I am afraid that ideologically and in a strategic sense, he was correct.
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Old July 25th, 2005 #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.P. Slovjanski
Roehm may have been a pervert and that had to be dealt with. But I am afraid that ideologically and in a strategic sense, he was correct.
The biggest mistake was not in liquidating pervert Rohm and his Reds, it was failing to liquidate the British at Dunkirk. Crush the British and having had a treaty before the Jews had mobilized the USA, and Hitler would have won Stalingrad and had plenty of oil and volunteers to push Stalin back to the Urals.

Rohm's "second revolution" would have made mobilization even more difficult than it was, by far, and without throwing the first punch, Germany would have been over-run by the Red Army in five to ten years but with even more dire consequences for Europe as a whole.
 
Old July 25th, 2005 #8
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I like to read "what-if" histories.

In one of them Röhm won the putsch then attacked Poland in 1935 or something and was defeated by the French attack in his back. Or so I remember.,

But the most interesting "what-if" is if he would have backed down. My gues is not much would have gone differently, however his SA would have developed into an earlier "Volkssturm" with a war that would have been a few months longer, just enough the give Berlin the honour of receiving the first atomic bomb.
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Old July 30th, 2005 #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IZVN
I sometimes wonder what kind of military commander Roehm would have made if he had been spared.
He was a faggot. Hitler made the correct choice.
 
Old July 30th, 2005 #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IZVN
I sometimes wonder what kind of military commander Roehm would have made if he had been spared.
Not the kind you would ever want to turn your back on.
 
Old July 30th, 2005 #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banjo_billy
He was a faggot. Hitler made the correct choice.
Exactly, the ass-fucking homo should have been shot from the beginning
 
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