During the 1933 German revolution, the Nazi Party’s working-class military faction, called the SA (Sturmabteilung), was largely credited for bringing them victory. This group, also known as Storm Troopers, quickly became nothing more than thugs. They intimidated, vandalized, brutalized and in some cases killed. Hitler used this angry, revengeful citizen army to bring himself to power. When they started threatening his control, though, he eliminated them.
Led by Ernst Röhm, the SA considered themselves the “people’s army”. They were dubbed “Brown Shirts” due to their uniform. Hitler used these Storm Troopers to sew the seeds of discourse between all the German political parties. Promising to make Germany great again, he agreed the SA would be the new army.
With a crowded political arena, Hitler’s focus on nationalism separated the National Socialist Party from the Communists. His position gained enough support to give the Nazis political control with less than 44% of the vote.
Röhm and the SA focused on Socialism. They wanted to rob the rich of their wealth and spread it around to the working class. In February of 1934, Hitler informed Röhm the SA would in fact not be the military force in Germany. Immediately after the meeting, Röhm declared, “Hitler is a traitor, and at the very least must go on leave…If we can’t get there with him, we’ll get there without him.” He promoted a second revolution in a speech two months later, proclaiming, “The SA is the National Socialist Revolution!”
As Chancellor, Hitler still answered to President Paul von Hindenburg. He had to strategically obtain dictatorial power. In 1923, the Nazi “Beer Hall Putsch” tried to overthrow the German government by force. It ended in defeat and Hitler in prison where he wrote Mein Kaumf. He strategized how to win power with the people. Never letting a crisis go to waste, he just had to wait for the perfect moment to seize all power, ending German democracy.
The friction between Hitler and the SA was quickly threatening the power of the Third Reich altogether. Financial backers as well as predominate members did not like Röhm’s all out push for Socialism. Military leaders balked at Röhm’s promotion of overthrowing the army and dissolving it into the SA.
Hitler scheduled a meeting with Röhm where it was decided that Röhm would take a “personal illness” leave while the four million SA Storm Troopers would stand down for the month of July. Röhm’s call for Socialism had already taken strong root. President Hindenburg was ready to declare martial law, which would have eradicated all of Hitler’s power grabs thus far.
Inside the SA was a smaller, extremely disciplined group called the SS (Schutzstaffel), led by Heinrich Himmler. He, along with Reinhard Heydrich, Joseph Goebbles, and Hermann Göring, saw Röhm’s weakness. They propagandized his downfall for their own political gain, exaggerating the threat of an SA coup. This convinced Hitler that Röhm needed to be eliminated.
On the morning of June 30, 1934, Hitler and several SS men stormed Röhm’s home and arrested him. He then gave the signal for the SS and the Gestapo to begin rounding up their predetermined list of political adversaries. The list was composed of those not only working with Röhm and the SA, but anyone who opposed or threatened the Nazi takeover.
In prison, Röhm was given a gun and 15 minutes to end his own life. He refused saying, “If I am to be killed let Adolf do it himself.” With that, two SS officers entered the room and shot him point blank. The other high-ranking SA officers were told, “You have been condemned to death by the Führer for high treason. Heil Hitler!” Over a 48-hour period, an estimated two hundred SA officials were lined against a wall, with the last words they heard being, “By order of the Führer. Aim. Fire!”
Röhm, along with several other SA commanders, were also known homosexuals. While many Nazi sympathizers disliked this, Hitler overlooked it for his own personal gain. Once the SA “cleansing” occurred, Hitler used the leaders’ homosexuality as reason for their necessary demise.
The events of June 30th – July 2nd were kept hidden from the German people until July 13th. Hitler announced that 61 SA members had been purged with 13 shot while resisting arrest. Three were supposedly to have committed suicide. It was here Hitler also designated it the “Night of the Long Knives.” He explained in his speech, “In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I become the supreme judge of the German people. I gave the order to shoot the ringleaders in this treason.”
Hitler admitted he illegally circumvented the courts, appointing himself judge and jury of his victims and ordering their deaths. He told the citizens he had a pen and a phone and could get things done, regardless of law, claiming it was “for the good of the people.” The people cheered. The president praised him. Germany’s democracy died.
We, in America, are not that far away from conducting our own “Night of the Long Knives”. Too many of us are now practicing “revenge politics”. We want revenge against the rich, the poor, whites, blacks, latinos, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Democrats, Republicans, and just politicians in general. When we pull the lever for someone on the basis of “he’s going to get ‘em”, we are no better than the Germans who cheered Hitler.
On the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama promised a “Civilian National Security Force” that would be “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as the US Military.” Sturmabteilung, anyone?
Bernie Sanders supporters believe Obama and Hillary Clinton have not gone far enough in their Socialism. Sanders promises a ‘political revolution’, with all the progressive, liberal, free, socialist stuff you can stand.
Obama prosecutes journalists and whistleblowers who expose the truth behind the administration’s unconstitutional, illegal behaviors. Trump has proposed easing libel laws so he can punish those who write or say unfavorable things about him.
As Hitler did with Röhm, Obama supports the LGBT community as long as it’s convenient. While the left’s mantra condemns Omar Mateen for targeting a gay nightclub in Orlando, Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently declared his motives may never be known. The Obama Administration just completely abandoned the LGBT community to cover for a faction they deem more important to their agenda, the Islamic extremists.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Let me emphasize I am not saying Obama, Sanders, Clinton or Trump would do what Hitler did. But can we agree there are quite a few similarities? Hitler did not start out executing Jews. He worked his way up, grabbing power whenever he could. The people were so distraught they even cheered it. Are we not at that point?
We need to take a long, hard look at the road we are choosing. History is not just a class in High School. It’s there for us to learn from. As they say, if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.
America needs to wake up. The warning signs are there that we can loose our republic tomorrow. Sitting back and believing it will never happen is not good enough. Just ask the Germans. Warning signs are there for a reason. To WARN. If we choose not to heed them, then it is at our own peril.
But that’s just my 2 cents.