The Night of the Long Knives

Bild 183-C05557The Night of the Long Knives – otherwise known as Operation Hummingbird – was a political purge carried out by members of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the Gestapo, the secret police, on behalf of Hitler. Although most of the murders took place on the night of 30th June 1934, the killings carried on until 2nd July. The Sturmabteiling (SA) – the paramilitary ‘brownshirts’ that were part of the Nazi Party – were starting to become problematic for Hitler. The SA’s leader, Ernst Röhm, was calling for independence from the umbrella of the Nazi Party, and wanted the Reichswehr, the official German military, to be absorbed by the SA. Furthermore, acts of violence committed by SA members in the streets were causing the Nazi Party a negative reputation. At around 04:30 on 30th June, Hitler and an entourage flew into Munich, enraged at the news of an SA rampage in the city the night before.

Hitler apparently tore the epaulettes of the shoulders of the chief of the Munich police, Obergruppenführer August Schneidhuber, and told him he would be shot. He was indeed executed later that day. Hitler and a group of SS and Gestapo members then moved onto the hotel where Röhm and other SA members were staying. Röhm was one of many SA officials murdered that night; Hitler also took the opportunity of the purge to silence other enemies, including members of the left-wing section of the Nazi Party (Strasserist), former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Gustav Ritter von Kahr, the man who had suppressed the failed putsch of 1923. Around 85 people were murdered over the course of just a few days.

The Night of the Long Knives
(June 29-30, 1934)
Jewish Virtual Library

RÖHM PURGE
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Night of the Long Knives
Fold3
Extremely Detailed History and Description of the People Involved

The Night of the Long Knives
History Learning Site

Night of the Long Knives
The History Place

Night of the Long Knives
Wikipedia

Victims of the Night of the Long Knives
Wikipedia

Night of the Long Knives
Spartacus Educational

 

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