June 30 - 1934 - The Night of the Long Knives

Ernst Röhm was one of Adolf Hitler's closest and oldest associates, having founded the Sturmabteilung and been arrested with Hitler in 1923 for the Beer Hall Putsch. Yet once Hitler took power in 1933, Röhm began to be seen as a threat. He wanted a much more socialist form of National Socialism and believed he deserved to subsume the German Army, the Reichswehr, under his authority. He also was known to have homosexual affairs with junior officers, which highly bothered other Nazis like Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, and Hermann Goring. Röhm still wielded immense authority, but throughout 1934, political maneuverings took place to strip him of power. So Hitler told Röhm that he wanted a meeting of the senior leadership of the SA. Instead, he arrested or shot most of the leadership of the SA. The Nazis also went after prominent anti-Nazi conservatives such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher, killing over 85 people. Röhm was arrested and asked to commit suicide the next day. He said he wanted "Adolf to do it." Instead, two other Nazis shot him. In the aftermath of the purge, Hitler took full power and justified his actions by claiming Röhm and Schleicher were about to undertake a coup.

William Floyd