Night of the long knives

The night of the long knives 2 3 (in German : Nacht der langen Messer ) or Operation Hummingbird it was a purge that took place in Germany between 30 June and 2 of July of 1934 , when the Nazi regime carried out a series Of political assassinations. It can be included within the framework of acts carried out by the National Socialist Workers’ Party to take over all the structures of the German State. Many of those killed were those of the Sturmabteilung (SA), a Nazi paramilitary organization . Adolf Hitler opposed the SA and its leader, Ernst Röhm , 4 because he perceived the independence of the SA and the inclination of its members towards street violence as a threat against its power. Hitler also wanted the support of the leaders of the Reichswehr , the official military organization of Germany , who feared and despised the SA and, in particular, Röhm’s ambition for the SA to absorb the Reichswehr under his leadership. Finally, Hitler used the purge to attack or eliminate the critics with his regime, especially against those who were loyal to the vice-chancellor Franz von Papen , and to revenge of its old enemies.

At least 85 people were killed during the purge, although the total number of deaths could amount to hundreds, 5 6 and more than a thousand opponents to the regime were arrested. 5 Most of the killings were carried out by the SS (Schutzstaffel), a Nazi elite corps, and the Gestapo (acronym for Geheime Staatspolizei: ‘state secret police’), the regime’s secret police. The purge strengthened and consolidated the support of the Reichswehr Hitler regime providing legal grounds, since German courts quickly put aside hundreds of years of prohibition of extrajudicial killings to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime.

Before the execution, those who planned it referred to her as “Colibri” (in German: Kolibri ), since this was the password that would be used to send the execution squads on the chosen day. 7 It appears that the codename of the operation was chosen arbitrarily. The phrase “Night of the long knives” in German predates this massacre and refers generally to any act of revenge. Its origin could be in the slaughter of the men of Vortigern by the mercenaries Anglos , Saxons and Jutes of the myth of the king Arthur , that received the same name. 8 Currently, the Germans still use the term Röhm-Putsch (“Röhm’s Strike”) to describe this event. This is the name they used during the Nazi regime to indicate that those killed had to be eliminated to avoid a coup . Many German authors often name this name or call it the so-called “Röhm-Putsch”. Referring to Fig.

Historical context

Hitler and the Sturmabteilung

President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor on 30 January as as 1933 . 10 Over the following months, during the call Gleichschaltung ( “sync” in German), Hitler managed to ban all rival political parties Germany , and in the summer of that year, the country had become a State – party Under the control of the single party, the Nazi Party . However, despite the rapid consolidation of his political authority, Hitler did not exercise absolute power. As Chancellor, he did not lead the army , which was subordinate to Hindenburg , a respected marshal who was weak and senile. Although many military men were impressed by Hitler’s promises of a larger and better army and a more aggressive foreign policy, the army remained independent during the early years of the Nazi regime.

Logo of the Sturmabteilung .

The SA, a paramilitary organization, remained autonomous with respect to the Nazi Party . This evolved from the movement of the Freikorps that emerged after the First World War . The Freikorps were a nationalist organization composed largely of disillusioned and angry German veterans who believed that their government had betrayed Germany and sold them to enemy countries by surrendering and accepting the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles . The Freikorps opposed the new Weimar Republic . Ernst Röhm was his commander in Bavaria , where he was nicknamed the King of the Bavarian machine guns because he was responsible for storing and delivering illegal machine guns to the Freikorps units . He later became head of the SA. During the 1920s and 1930s, the SA functioned as a private militia that Hitler preferred to use against communist gatherings . Also known as “brownshirts”, the members of the SA became very notable for their street battles against the Communists. 11 Violent confrontations between the two groups contributed to the destabilization of the democratic experiment in Germany between the wars , known as the Weimar Republic . 12 In June 1932 , one of the worst months of political violence, there were more than 400 street altercations, which caused 82 deaths. 13 This destabilization was crucial in Hitler’s rise to power, especially because he assured that if he reached the chancellery, he would end the violence.

The appointment of Hitler as chancellor, followed by the suppression of all political parties except the Nazi, reduced, but did not end, with the violence of the brown shirts . The latter, deprived of communist rallies to interrupt and accustomed to violence, often carried out street altercations. They beat the pedestrians and later faced the policemen who came to end the altercation. 14 In 1933 there were numerous complaints about the behavior of members of the SA; Even the German Foreign Ministry complained of attacks on foreign diplomats. 15 This behavior bothered the more conservative elements of society, such as the army .

The next movement of Hitler was to reinforce its position with respect to the army facing its enemies, SA . 16 The 6 of July of 1933 , before a group of high – ranking Nazi officials, Hitler declared that after the victory of National Socialism in Germany , should consolidate power. In that speech he affirmed that “The revolutionary current has not stopped, but must be channeled in the safe course of evolution.” 17

Hitler’s speech indicated his intention to stop the SA, whose power had grown rapidly in the 1930s. This was not an easy goal, since the SA had contributed many of the votes that had received the Nazi Party . The SA recorded great growth in their ranks during the Great Depression , when many Germans lost faith in traditional institutions and had succeeded in filling the middle class with nationalist fervor and solidarity. 18 Many members believed in the promise of National Socialism and expected the Nazi regime take further radicals, such as ending the great estates of the aristocracy economic measures. The fact that the government did not carry out such reforms disillusioned those hoping for an economic revolution linked to politics. 19

Conflict between the army and the SA

The voice most dissatisfied with the situation and the one that most insistently asked for the continuation of the German revolution was that of Röhm. 20 As one of the first members of the Nazi party, Röhm had participated in the Beer Hall Putsch , Hitler’s failed attempt to seize power by force in 1923 . He was a World War I veteran who boasted that he would execute twelve men for every murdered brown shirt . 21 Röhm saw violence as a means to achieve political ends. He took the socialist promise of National Socialism very seriously and called on Hitler and the rest of the party leaders to initiate a large-scale reform in Germany.

Not content with the simple conduct of the SA, Röhm pressed the German chancellor to appoint him Minister of Defense, a position held by General Werner von Blomberg . 22 Although some critics nicknamed him the “Lion of Goma” because of his devotion to Hitler, Blomberg was not a Nazi and therefore represented the nexus of union between the army and the party. Blomberg and many of his officers were recruited from the Prussian nobility and considered that the members of the SA were commoners who threatened the traditional high status enjoyed by members of the army in German society. 2. 3

Ernst Röhm was the main leader of the SA . His political ambitions and the suspicion that inspired the Nazi leaders were one of the main reasons that led to Operation Colibri.

If the regular army showed dislike for the masses belonging to the SA, many brown shirts felt the same apprehension towards the army, since they did not see it sufficiently committed to the Nazi revolution. Max Heydebreck , an SA leader in Rummelsburg , denounced the army to his comrades, telling them that “Some of the army officers are pigs. Most officers are too old and need to be replaced by young people. We want to wait till Papa Hindenburg dies, and then the Sturmabteilung march against the army. ” 24

In spite of the hostility between the brown shirts and the army, Blomberg and other military saw the SA as a source of recruits for a greater and more revitalized army. Röhm, however, wanted to eliminate the Prussian aristocrats from the high commanders, with the SA being the center of the new army. Limited by the Treaty of Versailles to 100,000 soldiers, the army chiefs watched nervously as members of the SA surpassed three million men in early 1934 . 25 In January of that year Röhm presented a memorandum to Blomberg in which he requested that the SA replace the regular army as a national force and that the Reichswehr should become part of the SA. 26

In response, Hitler met with Blomberg and the heads of the SA and the SS on February 28 . Under the Chancellor’s pressure, Röhm reluctantly signed a document according to which he recognized and acted on the Reichswehr ‘s supremacy over the SA. Hitler announced to those present that the SA would act as an auxiliary force of the army and not the other way around. After Hitler and most of the army officers had left the hall, Röhm stated that he would not take orders from “that ridiculous body” in reference to Hitler. 27 Although Hitler took no immediate action against Röhm by his impertinent outburst, this event deepened the gap between them.

Increased pressure against SA

Despite the agreement with Hitler, Röhm continued to harbor the idea of ​​a new German army led by the SA. In the spring of 1934, this idea came into direct conflict with Hitler’s plan to consolidate his power and expand the Reichswehr . Because their respective plans were contradictory, Röhm could only succeed at Hitler’s expense. As a result, there was a dispute within the party between Rohm and closest to the chancellor, including the Prussian leader Hermann Goering , the Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels , the head of the SS , Heinrich Himmler , and the assistant of Hitler, Rudolf Hess .

All these men were veterans of the Nazi movement and supported Hitler for being their leader. However, Röhm continued to show his independence and lack of loyalty to the German chancellor. The irritation of Röhm by the party bureaucracy bothered Hess. The violence of the SA in Prussia was of great concern to Göring, the Prussian Prime Minister. 28 To isolate Röhm, on 20 April 1934, Göring transferred control of Prussia’s political police to Himmler, who, Göring believed, would be a good support against Röhm. 29 Himmler envied the independence and power of the SA, although he himself had begun the reconversion of the SS, from a group of bodyguards of Nazi leaders to an elite corps loyal to him and Hitler. This loyalty proved very useful when the Nazi leadership decided to act against Röhm and the SA.

Franz von Papen was vice chancellor during the early years of the Nazi regime, and one of its main critics.

Requests to Hitler to limit the power of the SA increased. The more conservative wing of the army, industry and party put Hitler under pressure to reduce the influence of the SA and act against Röhm. What most worried them about Röhm were his political ambitions, even more than his homosexuality , something unacceptable in the Nazi mentality. On June 17 , Franz von Papen led these demands in a speech at the University of Marburg in which he warned of the danger of a second revolution. 30 Privately, Von Papen, a Catholic aristocrat with ties to industry and the army, threatened to resign if Hitler did not act. 31 Although his resignation as vice chancellor did not threaten Hitler’s position, it would, however, be a shameful display of discrepancies within the party.

In response to conservative pressure, Hitler set out for Neudeck to meet with Hindenburg. Blomberg, who was with the president, reproached Hitler for not having acted against Röhm before. He told the chancellor that Hindenburg was considering declaring martial law and yielding the government to the army if Hitler did not act against the brown shirts . 32 Hitler had been doubting whether or not to confront Röhm for months because of the great power of the latter as leader of a militia with three million members. However, the threat of Hindenburg, the only person in Germany with authority to dismiss him, to declare martial law, was crucial to his decision to act. He left Neudeck with the intention of destroying Röhm and arranging outstanding accounts with former enemies. Both Himmler and Göring rejoiced in Hitler’s decision, since they had much to gain from the fall of the SA leader: Himmler, the independence of the SS; Göring, eliminating any rival to gain command of the army. 33

During the preparation of the purge, both Himmler and his assistant Reinhard Heydrich , head of the SS Security Service, drafted a file with evidence that Röhm had received from France twelve million marks to overthrow Hitler. The main SS officers received the falsified file on June 24 , which showed how Röhm intended to use the SA against the government, which became known as Röhm-Putsch , the Röhm Coup. 34 Meanwhile, Göring, Himmler, Heydrich and Lutze – by Hitler’s orders – created lists of persons belonging to and without links to the SA that they wanted to assassinate. On 27 June Hitler secured the cooperation of the army. 35 Blomberg and General Walter von Reichenau managed to expel Röhm from the League of German Officials and put the army on alert. 36 Hitler felt secure enough in his position to attend a wedding in Essen , although he appeared agitated and worried. From there he called Röhm’s deputy in Bad Wiessee and ordered the SA chiefs to meet him on 30 June . 33

The purge

About four-thirty in the morning of June 30, 1934, Hitler and his environment flew to Munich . From the airport they moved to the Bavarian Interior Ministry, where they met with the leaders of the SA responsible for the disturbances that had occurred the previous night. Enraged, Hitler tore the epaulettes from Obergruppenführer ‘s shirt from Schneidhuber , the Munich police chief, for failing to maintain his order in the city. Schneidhuber was executed the next day. 37 While the ” brown shirts ” were taken to jail, Hitler gathered numerous SS and police officers and went to the Hotel Hanselbauer (now Lederer am See) in Bad Wiessee, where Röhm and his followers were waiting. 38

In Bad Wiessee, Hitler himself arrested Röhm and other senior officials of the SA. According to Erich Kempka , one of the men in the raid, Hitler found Röhm two detectives carrying paths pistols with removed insurance, and the SS found the SA leader of Breslau , Edmund Heines in bed with a soldier The SA of 18 years. 39 Goebbels emphasized these data in later propaganda to justify purging as a blow to immorality. 40 Both Heines and his companion were murdered in the room where they were discovered by direct order of Hitler. 37 Meanwhile, the SS arrested a large number of SA chiefs when they got off the train they had taken to attend the meeting with Röhm. 41 The commander of the SA in Berlin, Karl Ernst , was executed for participating in the alleged conspiracy, although at that time he was passing the honeymoon. 37

The fact that there had never been any plan by Röhm to overthrow the regime did not prevent Hitler from denouncing the leaders of the SA. 40 On returning to the party headquarters in Munich, Hitler addressed the assembled people. Consumed by rage, Hitler denounced “the worst betrayal in history.” The chancellor told the crowd that “unruly and disobedient subjects and the asocial and sick elements would be disqualified.” The crowd, which included many members of the SA who had managed to escape the arrests, applauded these words. Hess, present among the crowd, even volunteered to shoot the traitors himself. 41 Goebbels, who had been with Hitler in Bad Wiessee, launched the last phase of the plan. When he returned to Berlin , he telephoned Göring and told him the key word, Kolibri , to order the departure squadrons to search for their unsuspecting victims. 40

Against the conservatives and the old enemies

The scheme was not limited to purging the HS. Having previously imprisoned or exiled the most prominent social-democratic and communist leaders, Hitler took the opportunity to take action against conservatives, whom he felt he could not trust. Among them were Vice-Chancellor von Papen and those of his closest circle. In Berlin, an SS armed unit broke into the vice-chancery by order of Göring. Gestapo officers accompanying this SS group fired von Papen’s secretary, Herbert von Bose , without bothering to arrest him first. The Gestapo stopped and later executed Edgar Jung , the author of the von Papen speech in Marburg and got rid of his body by burying him in a ditch. 42 The Gestapo also killed Erich Klausener , the leader of Catholic Action, very close to von Papen. 37 The deputy foreign minister was also arrested despite protests that he could not be arrested. Although Hitler ordered him to be released a few days later, von Papen did not dare again to criticize the Nazi regime. 43

Hitler, Göring and Himmler also sent the Gestapo against their personal enemies. Kurt von Schleicher , the chancellor who had preceded Hitler, and his wife were murdered in his house, as were Gregor Strasser , a former Nazi who had angered Hitler when he left the party in 1932, and Gustav Ritter von Kahr , Old staatskomissar (commissary of State) of Bavaria that finished with the coup d’etat of 1923 . 44 The death of von Kahr was especially cruel: his body was found in a wood outside Munich; Had been beaten with spikes to death. The murder included at least one accidental victim: Willi Schmid , the music critic of the Münchner Neuste Nachrichten , a Munich newspaper. The Gestapo confused him with Ludwig Schmitt, a former follower of Otto Strasser , the brother of Gregor Strasser. 45 This wave of unrestrained violence was one of the reasons why the Gestapo was feared as a Nazi secret police.

The murder of Röhm

The SA leader was briefly detained at the Stadelheim prison in Munich, while Hitler decided what would happen to him. On the one hand, the services rendered to the Nazi regime were in its favor, and on the other, it could not remain in jail indefinitely and a public trial could open an investigation into the purge. 46 In the end Hitler decided that Röhm must die. On July 2 , at the behest of Hitler, Theodor Eicke , commander of the Dachau concentration camp , and SS officer Michel Lippert visited Röhm. Once inside Röhm’s cell, they held a loaded pistol and told him that he had ten minutes to commit suicide or that they would do it for him. Röhm objected that “if I had to die, let Hitler do it in person.” 37 When they had not heard a shot in the agreed time, they returned to the cell and found him standing with his bare chest, defying them. 47 Lipper shot him at point blank range. 48


Hitler triumphantly reviewed the members of the SA on the occasion of the congress of the party in Nuremberg in 1935 , something that the Fuehrer did continuously.

Since the purge had cost the lives of so many important Germans, it was impossible to keep it a secret. At first, their ideologues did not agree on how to handle the issue. Göring ordered the police to burn all the documents related to the massacre. 49 Goebbels, meanwhile, tried to prevent the newspapers from publishing the death lists, although on 2 July he used the radio to describe how Hitler had prevented Röhm and Schleicher from couping and bringing the country into chaos. 45 On July 13 , Hitler justified the purge in a discourse broadcast nationally to the army: 50

At this time I was responsible for the fate of the German nation, so I became the supreme judge of the German people. I gave the order to shoot the leaders of this betrayal and also ordered to cauterize the raw meat of the ulcers of the poisoned wells of our domestic life to allow the nation to know that its existence, which depends on its internal order and its Security, can not be threatened with impunity by anyone. And let it be known that in the time to come, if someone raises his hand to strike the state, death will be his prize. 51

Interested in presenting the massacre as a legal action, Hitler got his cabinet to approve a decree on July 3 stating that “the measures taken on 30 June, 1 and 2 July to prevent treacherous assaults are legal As acts of self-defense by the State “. 52 The Reich Minister of Justice, Franz Gürtner , a conservative who had been Bavarian Minister of Justice during the Weimar Republic, demonstrated his loyalty to the new regime by drafting the decree, which gave legal status to the purge. It was turned into law by the Minister of the Interior, Wilhelm Frick . The “Law Concerning Self-Defense Measures of the State” legalized retroactively the murders committed during the purge. 53 The legal force of the regime became more important when the chief jurist of Germany, Carl Schmitt , wrote a speech defending Hitler ‘s July 13 article. The article was entitled “The Führer defends the Law”. 54


The army almost unanimously applauded the process carried out on “Night of the Long Knives” even though it resulted in the deaths of two of their generals, Kurt von Schleicher and Ferdinand von Bredow , both notably recognized. Sick President Paul von Hindenburg , Germany’s greatest military hero, sent a telegram expressing his “deep gratitude.” 55 General Von Reichenau came to publicly confirm the lie that Von Schleicher was plotting to overthrow the government. Army support for the purge, however, had numerous long-term consequences. The humiliation of the SA put an end to the threat posed to the Reichswehr but, by staying with Hitler during the purge, closely linked the army with the Nazi regime. 56 A retired captain, Edwin Planck , seemed to realize this by telling his friend, General Werner von Fritsch : “if you look without lifting a finger, you will suffer the same fate sooner or later.” 57 Another exception in the army was Field Marshal August von Mackensen , who criticized the murders of von Schleicher and Bredow at the annual meeting of the General Staff in February 1935 . 58

Without an independent press reporting on the purge event, rumors about the night of the long knives spread rapidly. Many Germans heard the official news, led by Goebbels, with great skepticism. At the same time, however, many others accepted the words of the regime and believed that Hitler had saved Germany from chaos. 59 Luise Solmitz, a teacher from Hamburg , reflected the sentiments of many Germans when she wrote in her diary about Hitler’s courage, determination, and effectiveness, even compared her to Frederick II the Great , the legendary King of Prussia. 5 Others were appalled by the escalation of executions and the relative permissiveness of many of their compatriots. It did not escape many that most of the victims had played a major role in Hitler’s rise to power. 60 The importance of the massacre and the ubiquity of the Gestapo led all those who did not approve of the purge to remain silent about it.

Hitler named Victor Lutze as substitute for Röhm at the head of the SA. The chancellor ordered him to put an end to homosexuality, debauchery and drunkenness in the organization. 61 Hitler expressly told him to end the use of SA economic resources in limos and banquets , which he considered to be evidence of the extravagance of the body. 61 Lutze, a weak man, did little to gain independence from the SA, which gradually lost power in Nazi Germany. The regime removed the name of Röhm from all the leaves of the decorative daggers of the SA and replace it with the words Blut und Ehre (“Blood and Honor” in German). The number of members decreased from three million in 1934 to 1.2 million in 1938. 62

The night of the long knives represented the triumph of Hitler and a turning point in the German government, establishing the figure of the chancellor like “supreme judge of the German town”. Later, in 1942, Hitler formally adopted this title. Legislation prohibiting extrajudicial killings was abolished. Despite some initial efforts by some prosecutors to take legal action against those who carried out the killings, which were quickly canceled, it seemed that no law could limit the use of power Hitler. 63 The night of the long knives also served to send a clear message to the public that neither the most prominent Germans were immune from arrest or even execution if the Nazi regime considered them a threat.


  1. Back to top↑ Kershaw (1998) p. 508
  2. Back to top↑ Max Rooster, The Night of Long Knives . Bruguera, 1976. ISBN 84-02-04776-9
  3. Back to top↑ Karl von Vereiter. The night of the long knives . Diana, 1983. ISBN 968-13-1468-9 .
  4. Back to top↑ Ernst Röhm was a former officerthe imperial army and superior Hitler during World War
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b c Evans (2005), p. 39. “It is known that at least eighty-five people were killed without any legal proceedings against them. Göring arrested about a thousand people. “
  6. Back to top↑ Kershaw (1999): Hitler , p. 517. “Of the 85 victims, only fifty of them were SA men. Some estimates, however, raise the total number of deaths to 150 or 200 “.
  7. Back to top↑ Kershaw (1999): Hitler , p. 515.
  8. Back to top↑ «Sites of the King Arthur Myths» . Archived from the original on November 26, 2015.
  9. Back to top↑ “” Röhm-Putsch “”. Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM), German Historical Museum.
  10. Back to top↑ After the establishment of the Nazi regime, Hitler’s policy was oriented to curry favor with industrialists and military in order to consolidate a regime that even enjoying great popular support, he had not obtained the absolute majority in the past Elections of 1932
  11. Back to top↑ Reiche (2002), pp. 120-121.
  12. Back to top↑ Toland (1976), p. 266.
  13. Back to top↑ Shirer (1960), p. 165.
  14. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 2. 3.
  15. Back to top↑ Kershaw (1999): Hitler , p. 501.
  16. Back to top↑ Kershaw (1999): Hitler , p. 435
  17. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. twenty.
  18. Back to top↑ Schoenbaum, (1997) pp. 35-42. “The more general theory, which claims that National Socialism was a low-middle-class revolution, is defensible but inadequate.”
  19. Back to top↑ Bullock (1958), p. 80. “But originally the Nazi was an anti-capitalist party, and this part of the National Socialist program was not taken seriously by many members of the party but was of great importance during the economic depression. Theseriousnesswith which Himmler tookthe socialist character of National Socialism was one of the main causes of disagreement and division within the Nazi party until the summer of 1934 ».
  20. Back to top↑ Frei (1987), p. 126. The appointment is attributed to the head of the SA of Breslau, Edmund Heines.
  21. Back to top↑ Frei (1987), p. 13.
  22. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 24.
  23. Back to top↑ Wheeler-Bennett (2005), pp. 712-739.
  24. Back to top↑ Bessel (1984), p. 97.
  25. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 22.
  26. Back to top↑ Wheeler-Bennett (2005), p. 726.
  27. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 26.
  28. Back to top↑ Martin and Pedley (2005), p. 33
  29. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 29.
  30. Back to top↑ Papen (1953), pp. 308-312.
  31. Back to top↑ Papen (1953), p. 309.
  32. Back to top↑ Wheeler-Bennett (2005), pp. 319-320.
  33. ↑ Jump to:a b Evans (2005), p. 31.
  34. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 30.
  35. Back to top↑ O’Neill (1967), p. 72-80.
  36. Back to top↑ Bullock (1958) p. 165.
  37. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e Shirer (1960), p. 221.
  38. Back to top↑ Bullock (1958), p. 166.
  39. Back to top↑ Interview with Kempka
  40. ↑ Jump to:a b c Kershaw (1999): Hitler , p. 514.
  41. ↑ Jump to:a b Evans (2005), p. 32.
  42. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 3. 4.
  43. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), pp. 33-34.
  44. Back to top↑ Spielvogel (2005) pp. 78-79.
  45. ↑ Skip to:a b Evans (2005), p. 36.
  46. Back to top↑ Fest, Joachim (1974). Hitler. Harcourt, 458.
  47. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 33
  48. Back to top↑ Years later, in 1957 , the German authorities tried Lippert in Munich for the murder of Röhm. He was one of the few participants in the purge that did not escape justice, as Eicke had died in combat in Russia during World War II .
  49. Back to top↑ Kershaw (1999): Hitler , p. 517.
  50. Back to top↑ Fest (1974), p. 469.
  51. Back to top↑ Translated from the German text:

    In dieser Stunde war ich verantwortlich für das Schicksal der deutschen Nation und damit des deutschen Volkes oberster Gerichtsherr. Meuternde Divisionen hat man zu allen Zeiten durch Dezimierung wieder zur Ordnung gerufen. Ich habe den Befehl gegeben, die Hauptschuldigen an diesem Verrat zu erschießen, und ich gab weiter den Befehl, die Geschwüre unserer inneren Brunnenvergiftung und der Vergiftung des Auslandes auszubrennen bis auf das rohe Fleisch. Die Nation muss wissen, dass ihre Existenz von niemandem ungestraft bedroht wird. Und is soll jeder für alle Zukunft wissen, dass, wenn er die Hand zum Schlag gegen den Staat erhebt, der sichere Tod sein The ist.

  52. Back to top↑ Fest (1974), p. 468.
  53. Return to top↑ Evans, Richard (2005). The Third Reich in Power. Penguin Group, 72.
  54. Back to top↑ Kershaw (1999): Hitler , p. 519.
  55. Back to top↑ Fest (1974), p. 470.
  56. Back to top↑ Martin and Pedley (2005), p. 33-34.
  57. Back to top↑ Höhne (1970), pp. 113-118).
  58. Back to top↑ Schwarzmüller, 299-306.
  59. Back to top↑ Kershaw (2001): Myth , p. 87. It was clear that there was widespread acceptance of the regime’s misleading propaganda.
  60. Back to top↑ Klemperer (1998), p.74. A chancellor sentences and shoots the members of his private army!
  61. ↑ Jump to:a b Kershaw (1999): Hitler , p. 520.
  62. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 40.
  63. Back to top↑ Evans (2005), p. 72. After the Long Knives Night, Justice Minister Franz Gürtner cut short the attempts by some local prosecutors to start proceedings against the killers.