The night of the long knives: the events –

The life and government of Adolf Hitler, has perhaps been one of the most studied throughout history. Analyzing each step he took, how Germany could recreate such an important army if it started from a sanction, after losing the First World War. As a person like Hitler could come to have total power in Germany, what happened to the opposition. These questions have an answer The Night of the Long Knivessome events that marked a tragic date in the calendar of Humanity, hatred, ambition and power came together in the early hours of June 30, 1934.

The Night of the Long Knives | Political situation

We already talked in a previous article about the precedents of the Night of the Long Knives. We recommend that you read that article if you want to better understand what happened and why it happened. In this article we are going to focus exclusively on what happened that night, although we do want to leave you with a brief introduction.

Since the early 1930s Hitler he had steadily climbed the German ladder of power and by 1934 his position as chancellor was already privileged and enabled him to fight the party’s enemies from within. These enemies were embodied in men like Rohm, who was in command of the SA, while the SS sided with Hitler.

The SA were a Nazi paramilitary group who were known for their fondness for leading battles and street altercations, mainly against communists, which had caused a climate of instability in the early 1930s that favored the rise of the Nazi party during the failure of the Weimar Republic. That is, the SA were in principle related to the Nazi apparatus and in fact within them there were very important figures of Nazi ideology who decisively influenced the rise of the Nazi party.

However, over time, Adolf Hitler and the higher-ups in the army began to resent the anarchic behavior of the SAwhose independence could not be accommodated within the structure planned by the Nazi party.

The army only saw the SA as profitable to recruit new outstanding members for the SSwhile the SA also despised the army because they believed they were not committed enough to the Nazi German cause.

Also, Ernst Rohm, leader of the SA, he did not seem to recognize Hitler’s authority. Röhm’s recklessness was breaking the camel’s back of Hitler’s patience. The ideological distance between the two was becoming more and more evident and the Führer was only looking for the right moment to eliminate him. In addition, there was another fact that was incompatible with the Nazi mentality and that increased the pressure of the army on Hitler so that he eliminated him. Rohm was homosexual.

Hitler began to look for allies within his party to confront the SA and it did not take him long to get the support of other important army commanders, the SS and the Gestapo. Among them was Goringwho had a personal hate issue with Rohm after the latter took the leadership of the SA from him at the time.

The most important step was taken with the signing of the agreement in the battleship Deutschland. There, Hitler achieved a very important advance in German politics, by making sure that he was named successor to the president. Likewise, another of his most faithful associates, Himmler, became the director of the Gestapo, the secret police of the regime.

With future leadership assured and counting on more and more support, Hitler just needed a final push that would lead him to execute the plan he really wanted. This push was given Mussolini who, in a meeting with Hitler, and seeing the internal situation between both factions of the Nazi party, ordered him to clean up within his own party before embarking on other companies.

The Night of the Long Knives | the purge

The decision was made. Hitler was going to start the cleanup by his own party, and the head he was mainly looking for was Rohm, accused of plotting against the party. and having plans to trigger a civil war. On the 29th the army swore allegiance to the Führer and that same day the Hitlerite security forces launched the massacre.

Hitler and the SS moved to Munich. There, the main members of the SA were hunted down and killed, while others were taken prisoner. Most were arrested at dawn in Bad Wieseea spa located 48 km from Munich, on Lake Tegernsee, in Bavaria, Germany.

Others were simply accosted on the street. Most were killed in cold blood without further consideration. Rohm, the prey that Hitler was looking for, did not manage to escape either, and He was arrested and sent to the Stadelheim jail.. There he was interrogated and, although Hitler was never able to obtain evidence of the rebellion plans from him, he was executed.

Another of the SA leaders, Edmund Heines, was discovered in bed in a hotel room by Hitler and his companions, being executed on the spot. This fact was used by the Nazi party to justify the purge as a kind of blow to immorality and ideological dissidence.

These executions took place during two days all over germanywith a precision, coldness and implacable cruelty.

During these days, Hitler and the SS not only eliminated a large number of dissenting members, but also carried out a real purge within their party. Hitler’s goal was to create a party identity so strong that there was not a single glimmer of dissidenceand for this he used the methods that were necessary, such as cold-blooded murder.

Nevertheless, the Night of the Long Knives was not just a political purgeRather, it was revenge and cold-blooded slaughter against the party members themselves. On the other hand, it also reached other groups such as the conservatives and even some personal enemies of members of the Nazi party. A few nights that, without a doubt, gave a good example of How far was Hitler willing to go? to meet your goals.

The Night of the Long Knives | The consequences

The plan had worked perfectly and at last Adolf Hitler had achieved absolute power in Germany. The foundations were laid for the absolute power of his figure and the indivisible unity of the Nazi party.

The part of victims was debatable, 60 victims, according to the data provided by Hitler, and 1,000 according to the trials that took place after the war. Be that as it may, were the murders that gave rise to the definitive birth of the Nazi giant.

However, the purge had reached such proportions that the Nazi party was faced with the problem of information, how to handle this information for public opinionas there were numerous important members of the party who had disappeared and people were asking questions. Even within the Nazi party there were dissenting voices among its leading figures about how to approach the issue.

Finally, it was decided to burn all documents that had to do with the event, newspapers were banned provide information about the deceasedY on the radio the feat of Hitler was repeated ad nauseam having faced the enemies who sought to carry out a coup and plunge the country into chaos.

In order to present the massacre as something legitimate, Hitler even drafted a law “a posteriori”, on July 3, which stated that the measures taken during the night of the long knives they were totally legitimate for national security.

A Nazi Germany had just been created based on violence, hatred, murder and cruelty. However this event called by the military Operation Hummingbirdit was a simple appetizer of what Nazi Germany would be capable of doing, this was the beginning that culminated with the arrival of the Second World War, going through other events with similar characteristics to that of the Night of the Long Knives, such as the night of broken glasswhere his hatred was directed towards the Jewsbeginning a series of massive exterminations that have remained engraved in our retina.

The Night of the Long Knives | reactions

The reaction of the German army was the approval of the event that was celebrated despite the loss of two of its most recognized generals. President Paul Von Hindenburg, He even sent a message via telegram where he expressed gratitude for having carried out the Purge. even the general Von Reichenau, confirmed publicly that there was no plan to overthrow the governmentas had been led to believe, calling Von Schleicher a conspirator and a traitor.

However, the fact that the army viewed the Purge favorably had repercussions later on. By staying on Hitler’s side, he made the army was linked to the Nazi regime. Of all the high-ranking military officers, only two openly declared their opposition to the purge and were Edwin Planck and the quarterback August Von Mackensen, who had not welcomed the murder of both Von Schleicher and Bredow.

With the silent pressWithout independence to be able to report what had happened on the night of June 30, soon everything that had happened that night became rumors that spread rapidly. Many never believed the account of the events that Goebbels reported, while others did believe him and saw Hitler as the savior of Germany, the one who had prevented a coup.

Those closest to political circles looked terrified by the permissiveness of the Germans before the escalation of executions and barbarism that were being committed, many of them aware of the coincidence that all those executed were direct or indirect rivals of Hitler, and the role that these executions had played in the Hitler’s rise to total power.

But faced with fear of reprisals and after seeing how the Nazis treated those who did not approve of the purge, most of the dissenters chose to remain silent.

Dead RöhmHitler appointed to his post Victor Lutz, who from now on would lead the SA. One of the Hitler’s first mandates was to end debauchery and homosexualityas well as to put an end to the monetary waste that, through luxury, was being produced within the body of the SA.

The SA, each time had less powerLutze was a man with little initiative and no desire to fight for SA independence. Your number dropped sharply from 3 million to 1.2 million, while the name of Röhm was disappearing both from the writings and from any place where it appeared, such as on the blades of the daggers. His name was replaced by the German motto “Blood and Honor”.

The night of the long knives meant the victory of Hitler, the establishment of the figure ofthe chancellor but with connotations of supreme judge of the people. The murders without trial were legalized and the total power of Hitler was already a real fact.

For German society it meant a great change, this was not what they expected, now they realized that they were not really important for the German government. Freedoms were over and…