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How significant was The Night of the Long Knives in the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship?

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Introduction

How significant was The Night of the Long Knives in the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship? The Night of the Long Knives was extremely significant in the establishment because for the past year and a half, the Sturm Abteilung (SA) had been causing huge problems for Hitler and the removal of the SA also gave Hitler the backing of the army which he need for both the creation of a totalitarian state and his future foreign policy and big businesses. However, The Night of the Long Knives was also proceeded by many other events which could be described as equally as important, such as the Enabling Act and the Reichstag Fire. The SS (body guard) were formed as a small and elite bodyguard for Hitler. They were commanded by Heinrich Himmler who was supposed to be supervised by Rohm. In 1933 the SS numbered 52,000 men compared to nearly 3,000,000 SA commanded by Rohm. The SA was more than ten times the size of the regular army. On 30th June 1934, the Schutzstaffel or bodyguard (SS) shot around 400 enemies of the Nazi party including leaders of the SA claiming they were preventing civil war. ...read more.

Middle

Such talk threatened the army generals which led to an increased dislike of the SA with the army already seeing the SA as nothing more than street thugs. It was also a threat to Hitler whose power could have threatened by Roehm if the second revolution from below had taken place. This meant a dilemma for Hitler because he would have to support one of the two sides and with Hindenburg's death imminent, the decision would have to be made soon. On the one side he had the SA who were ten times the size of the army and were led by Hitler's oldest political friend. However, the SA was despised by much of the established German society and was in danger of losing Hitler his support. In comparison the army were well disciplined and highly trained. The Night of the Long Knives removed this problem for Hitler and strengthened his position as the SA were eliminated which meant the established German society backed Hitler and upon Hindenburg's death on August 2nd 1945, the army swore a loath of loyalty to Hitler. ...read more.

Conclusion

In my opinion the Act was more important than the Night of the Long Knives because it gave the Hitler near dictatorial powers and removed many organised oppositions whereas the Night of the Long Knives only removed one possible opposition and gained the support of the army. Another vital event in the establishment of the dictatorship was the Reichstag Fire on 27th February 1933 which paved the way for the Enabling Act. The fire was blamed on a communist plot and the following day the "Decree for the Protection of People and State" was drawn up and signed by Hindenburg. This suspended most civil and political liberties allowing Hitler to ban the Communists from the Reichstag and intimidate other political opponents with the SA in the upcoming March elections. The Night of the Long Knives was a turning point in the history of Hitler's Germany. It was the first organised purge of the party, years before the start of the final solution. Hitler had made it clear that he was the supreme ruler of Germany who had the right to be judge and jury, and had the power to decide whether people lived or died. Nick Clarke - 1 - ...read more.

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