Night of the Long Knives

purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2, 1934

The Night of the Long Knives (German: audio speaker iconNacht der langen Messer ) or "Operation Hummingbird" (Kolibri) was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany. It happened between 30 June and 2 July 1934 when the Nazi regime executed at least 90 people and an estimated 200 for political reasons. Most of those killed were members of the "Storm Troopers" (SA) (German: Sturmabteilung).

Franz von Papen and Kurt von Schleicher helped the Nazis. They were not SA, but Hitler disliked them and the SS killed them.

Adolf Hitler moved against the SA and its leader, Ernst Röhm, because he saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his power. Hitler also wanted to forestall any move by leaders of the Reichswehr, the German military, who both feared and despised the SA, to curtail his rule, especially since Röhm made no secret of his ambition to absorb the Reichswehr with himself at its head. Adolf Hitler also killed them because the were becoming difficult to control and he was worried that they would branch off and want independence to carry out more radical ideas.

Finally, Hitler used the purge to go against conservative critics of his regime, especially those loyal to Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, and to settle scores with old enemies, such as Kurt von Schleicher. Ernst Röhm was arrested on June 30 by the SS (lead by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and deputy SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich) and was killed by General Josef Sepp Dietrich,Theodor Eicke and Michael Lippert .

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