On June 30, 1934, the Nazi Party was swelling in numbers.
Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was well on his way to absolute power, but there was just one more roadblock in his path.
His party became so huge that a splintering effect was deemed inevitable.
Believing that these elements within his own party would rise up against him, Hitler initiated a swift and deadly purge of his supposed rivals in an event called “The Night of the Long Knives.”
One of these groups was the undefined “Sturmabteilung” (SA), or the “Brown Shirts.” Over 4 million strong, this paramilitary group initially brought Hitler to power by means of protests and street violence.
It becameapparent,though, that the group was evolving to become extremely revolutionary. The German army and those with deep pockets, two groups that Hitler was trying to curry favor with, became concerned with the SA’s overly violent rhetoric.
After defying Hitler’s orders to cease and desist their activities, Hitler gave the code word “Hummingbird.”
Immediately across Germany, Hitler’s paramilitary group – the Schutzstaffel (SS) and Gestapo, the Secret State Police – began rounding up members of these supposed rivals. Under the pretext of a coup d’état, Hitler had over 85 German officials, including some of their wives, executed.
Of note is the events that surrounded the SA’s leader, ErnstRöhm.
Having been arrested by Hitler himself, Röhm was eventually taken to a prison and provided with a pistol to commit suicide.
But in his last act of defiance, he demanded that Hitler kill him personally.
SS troops then shot him at point-blank range.