Early relations between Hitler and the S.A. (Sturmabteilung), Hitler consolidating his power, and the changing of relations with the S.A. led to the purge of the S.A. and its leader, Ernst Roehm.
Early relations between Hitler and the S.A. led to the purge of the S.A. and Ernst Roehm. Hitler, addressing the S.A. said, “The political solders [S.A.] of the Revolution in no way wish to replace the Army [Reichswehr]…” Hitler tried to make the S.A. feel secure in their position. Counteracting this statement, the numbers of paramilitary units (5,200,000) and S.A. units (3,000,000) greatly outnumbered the number of military units (100,000). Ernst Roehm was skeptical from the start. He said to a Nazi leader, shortly after Hitler seized power, “Are we revolutionaries or aren’t we?” He was concerned with Hitler’s ambition, saying, “He wants to inherit an army all ready and complete…I [Hitler] am the nucleus of the new army…” Hitler responded in a letter, “If the task of the army is to protect our country from external enemies, it is the task of the S.A. to assure the victory of the National Socialist Revolution on the domestic front…” Hitler also referred to Roehm as a friend in this letter, trying to earn his trust.
The consolidation of Hitler’s power led to the purge of the S.A. and Ernst Roehm. Hitler said during a meeting with Roehm, “The minister of war may call upon the S.A. for border patrol and for premilitary instruction. I expect from the S.A. loyal execution of the work entrusted to it.” An order from the war ministry to Reichswehr said, “Starting May 1, 1934 officers and men are to wear eagle and swastika on cap and uniform.” These two instances showed part of the transformation of the S.A. into the army. General von Blomberg, minister of war, said to Hitler, “…the president will declare martial law and order the army to restore order. The radicals must be supressed.” This showed how Germany and the S.A. were being taken over. Blomberg also said, “It [Reichswehr] stands disciplined and faithful behind the leaders of the state, behind the marshal of the Great War, President von Hindenburg, its supreme leader, and behind the Fuehrer of the Reich, Adolf Hitler…” Hitler had basically gained control of the army now. The only thing in his way was the president. A picture showed Hitler shaking hands with von Hindenburg, showing that Hitler was trying to earn his trust.
The changing of relations with the S.A. led to the purge of the S.A. and its leader, Ernst Roehm. A bulletin of the General Staff of the S.A. said, “…S.A….will be ready to undertake the glorious mission it owes the people and the Fatherland. …The Sturmabteilung is and will remain the destiny of Germany.” This showed that the S.A. was now committed to Germany and owed full loyalty to it. A radio address to the German people said, “There is only one man above all criticism, the Fuehrer. Everyone knows that he has always been right and that he always will be right.” Hitler, the Fuehrer, had gained control of Germany. No one was to question him, so this meant the S.A. was his. This created much hostility in Germany.
Early relations between Hitler and the S.A. (Sturmabteilung), the consolidation of Hitler’s power, and the changing of relations with the S.A. led to the purge of the S.A. and its leader, Ernst Roehm.