30 June 1934: Night of the Long Knives: The Justification

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Atrevida
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30 June 1934: Night of the Long Knives: The Justification

Post by Atrevida » 20 Sep 2017 18:51

The justification for the Night of the Long Knives, the massacre of the higher level SA leadership, is provided in the two books referenced at the end of this synopsis.

The two principal facts to be borne in mind when reading are that in 1934, the Reichswehr was limited to an Army of 100,000 men, and France, sixteen years after the end of the First World War, still occupied the Rhineland and other border areas of Germany.

In early 1934, the future Feldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel was Head of the Organizational Department T-2 at the Reichwehr Ministry and also Territorial Commander in the regimental sub-district Potsdam. In this area were some secret weapons depots guarded by the Black Reichswehr in Potsdam itself, Keitel maintained a secet rifle repair and manufacturing workshop assembling from old parts.

The Berlin-Brandenburg SA group under SA-Obergruppenführer Ernst was very active in Keitel's territory and made repeated efforts to convince Keitel to hand over control of all weapons depots to the SA in order to "improve security".

Keitel's General Staff Officer was Major E. von Rintelen who had been trained in intelligence work by Oberst Nikolai at the Abwehr. Rintelen was sent out to spy on the SA and discovered that weapons were needed for some kind of SA "Aktion" in Berlin at the end of June 1934. These weapons were to be obtained from secret Reichswehr depots which had been betrayed.

Keitel submitted von Rintelen's report to the War Minister, Generalleutnnt von Blomberg, who forwarded the information the same day to Hitler. The Führer said he would speak to Röhm, who had been avoiding him for weeks after being told of Hitler's strong opposition to having a people's militia (Volksmiliz).

On 30 June, Hitler learned that Röhm had gathered members of his senior staff at Bad Wiessee, and went there that evening with a large armed troop and initiated the so-called Night of the Long Knives.

According to files seized at Bad Wiessee, the SA needed weapons for a planned putsch not against Hitler, but against the leaders of the German Army because the Reichswehr and its officer corps was a reactionary bulwark against National Socialism and could not be trusted. Hitler was to remain Reich Chancellor and Röhm would become Commander-in-Chief of the Army.

Röhm's plan was to free the Army from the dictates of the Treaty of Versailles, replacing it with a huge armed Volksmiliz based on the Swiss model. The SA with its revolutionary and anti-Reichswehr leader corps would become the future Volksarmee with a military character.

A surviving senior staff officer, SA-Gruppenführer Max Jüttner, stated at Nuremberg (IMT Process Vol XXI p.219) that Röhm had spoken of his plans to the French ambassador. As Hitler's private secretary Christa Schroeder, who had read the files after the purge, stated, there was a political agreement in force between France and Germany prohibiting a German Volksmiliz, and the French would certainly have been alarmed at one composed of 4 million SA men about to be armed.

Therefore without the involvement of the French being specifically stated in either book of reference below, it seems reasonable to assume that Hitler was given an ultimatum by France to modify the structure and aims of the SA forthwith or suffer the immediate consequences, probably invasion. Hitler's march into the Rhineland unopposed in the following year might possibly have been a reward for the action he took on 30 June 1934 and thereafter.

Source books:

(1) Keitel, Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm, Lebenserinnerungen 1933-1938 (autobiography written during the Nuremberg Trials 1945-1946, edited by Walter Görlitz, publ. Musterschmidt Verlag, Göttingen 1961, p-68 et seq.
(2) Schroeder, Christa, Er war mein Chef - Aus dem Nachlass der Sekretärin von Adolf Hitler: Herbig, Munich 1985, p.51-52.

DavidFrankenberg
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Re: 30 June 1934: Night of the Long Knives: The Justification

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 10 Jan 2021 02:41

Hi, the justification of the NLK is unclear. Officially Röhm wanted to take over the Army and oust Hitler. But then why Hitler killed so many non-SA guys during the NLK ? Of course, all this people were not plotting against him. Even Röhm didnt want to depose Hitler...

The true cause must be elsewhere. Hitler executed some SA, but also some army men like Schleicher, and also some journalists, also come conservatives... and also some christians like Bernard Stempfle. They were all symbols of parties which could oppose to him. Hitler clearly threatens them : see what happen if you plot against me, if you disobey. This was a way for him to be sure that nobody would trouble him while rearming and preparing his new world war.

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