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[O] History(Elect) Smart Guides

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  1. Unit 1: The World in Crisis

    1. Impact of World War I in Europe
    14 Topics
  2. 2. Stalin's Soviet Union
    12 Topics
  3. 3. Hitler's Germany
    27 Topics
  4. 4. Outbreak WWII in Europe
    13 Topics
  5. 5. Germany's Defeat in World War II
    21 Topics
  6. 6. Outbreak War in Asia Pacific
    6 Topics
  7. 7. Japan's Defeat
    10 Topics
  8. Unit 2: Bi-Polarity and the Cold War
    8. Reasons for the Cold War in Europe
    21 Topics
  9. 9. The Korean War
    19 Topics
  10. 10. Cuban Missile Crisis
    25 Topics
  11. 11. The End of Cold War
    19 Topics
Chapter 3, Topic 14
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Political Impact of Hitler’s Ruling (Night of the Long Knives, June 1934)

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Night of the Long Knives, June 1934

Ernst Roehm (1887-1934), a German army officer and founder of the Nazi Stormtroopers, the Nazi Party militia. In 1934, was purged and executed in the Nazi Party’s Night of the Long Knives June 1934.
  • The SA had been helping Hitler to consolidate his power by disrupting the meetings of other political parties and enforcing Hitler’s decisions.
  • However, other Party leaders, such as Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Goering and Goebbels, felt that the SA leader, Ernst Rohm, had become too powerful and was becoming critical of Hitler.
  • At the same time, the army leaders also viewed the SA as a threat to the military, as Rohm had rashly talked about taking over the army.
  • The SA’s strength had also expanded rapidly to over 4 million men by 1934.
  • Thus, these leaders conspired and managed to convince Hitler that Rohm was indeed a threat.
  • Hitler knew that the army, powerful industrialists & key Nazi leaders disliked Rohm for various reasons; Hitler knew that the SA could pose a threat personally to him.
  • Hitler himself wanted to disassociate the Nazi government from the negative image of the SA for their unruly and brute-like behaviour.
  • Hitler was also aware in the importance of the army (Reichswehr) to his political position and he needed the support of the military generals for his future plans in his foreign policies.
  • Hitler then made a pact with the army, that if he removed Rohm and other SA leaders, the army would swear an oath of allegiance to him, and not on the German constitution.
  • In June 1934, Hitler sent the SS to arrest and kill Rohm and other SA leaders, along with other political opponents. This purge became known as the Night of the Long Knives.
  • The power of the SA was now broken and become subjected to control of the SS.
  • The SS leader, Heinrich Himmler, now held a position of great power in the Nazi government