28 April 2023

What is the night of the long knives? – Victims, explanation and causes and consequences of Operation Hummingbird

By Donald

The Night of the Long Knives it was a political purge carried out by the Nazi regime in Germany in June 1934. During this night, members of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the movement’s paramilitary organization, were assassinated on the orders of Adolf Hitler and other leaders of the faction.

This event had a significant impact in the consolidation of Hitler’s power and in the elimination of any internal opposition in the Nazi party.

What was the night of the long knives?

It was a historical event that took place in the republic of Germany on the night of June 30 to July 1, 1934. During this event, the Nazi paramilitary organization, the SA (Sturmabteilung), was subjected to a brutal purge by order of Adolf Hitler and other leaders of the movement.

The SA, led by Ernst Röhm, had been instrumental in consolidating Hitler’s control in Germany. However, after the Nazis came to power in 1933, Röhm began to push for the SA to become the country’s main military force, to the detriment of the regular army. This position haunted Hitler’s rule over military power and she was seen as a threat to his leadership.

In addition, SA members also were increasingly critical of the Nazi regime and they were pushing for a socialist revolution. Hitler saw Röhm and the SA as a threat to his authority and decided to act. The result of the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ was a strengthening of Hitler’s power in Germany and the removal of a potential threat to his leadership.

the purge also consolidated SS control on security in the country and paved the way for the rise of Heinrich Himmler as a top Nazi leader. Although the purge was carried out in a violent and brutal manner, it was seen by many Germans as a necessary measure to ensure stability and control of the Nazi regime.

What were the causes of the long knives?

The reasons are multiple and complex. First of all, mention should be made of the internal rivalry between the two main paramilitary organizations of the Nazi movement: the Sturmabteilung (SA) and the Schutzstaffel (SS).

The SA, led by Ernst Röhm, had great influence within the party and was considered an important force in building the image of the German nation. However, the SS leaders saw the SA as a threat to their own power and prestige. In addition, Röhm was pressuring Hitler to appoint him Germany’s Defense Minister, a position that Hitler promised him, but which he could not fulfill.

Another important cause of the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ was the growing concern of Nazi leaders about the possibility of a coup or a communist revolution in Germany. The political and economic situation in the country was unstable at the time, and Hitler feared that the SA, with its more than 2 million members, might take advantage of the situation to try to take control of Germany.

Finally, the influence of Hitler’s allies within the government and the party must be mentioned. In particular, Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, leaders of the SS, were increasingly concerned about the growing influence of Röhm and the SA. They saw the organization as a threat to their own power and prestige, and feared that it might undermine Hitler’s position as the undisputed leader of the party and the country.

Therefore, we can conclude that the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ It is a combination of factors, including intra-party rivalries, national security concerns, and the influence of Hitler’s allies within the government. The purge was a brutal measure that further consolidated the power of Hitler and his followers, and established an increasingly bloody dictatorship in Germany.

How long did the night of the long knives last?

Although it is known as a ‘night’, the events were not limited to a few hours. The plan for the purge had been in the works for several days before the night in question.

Hitler had ordered a list of people to be eliminated, including Röhm and other SA leaders. In addition, plans were made to ensure that the SS, Gestapo, and Nazi secret police were prepared to move quickly to eliminate targets.

During the night of June 30, the SS and Gestapo detained members of the SA whom they had identified as a threat. The arrests continued for the next few days. and spread throughout the country. Most of the SA leaders and other important targets were imprisoned or executed in the days following the operation.

Although the events of the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ itself lasted only a few hours, the purge lasted several days and it affected the entire power structure of the Nazi party.

What happened the night of the long knives?

During this event, on June 30, 1934, Adolf Hitler ordered the removal of Sturmabteilung (SA) leaders and other political opponents within the Nazi party, including Ernst Röhm. The purge was carried out by the Schutzstaffel (SS) and other forces loyal to Hitler.

Main Victims of Operation Hummingbird

The Night of the Long Knives, also known as Operation Hummingbird, had a large number of people affected in this event. During this mission, Adolf Hitler and his team carried out the systematic assassination of members of the Sturmabteilung (SA). In addition, Nazi Germany’s paramilitary militia and other opponents deemed a threat to them were also eliminated.

It is estimated that between 85 and 200 people died. during the Night of the Long Knives. Among the victims were SA leaders such as Ernst Röhm. Who was the head of the faction and had been a close friend of Hitler. Other prominent members of the organization, as well as politicians and German Army officers, were also killed.

Some of the most prominent victims of the Night of the Long Knives were Former Chancellor of Germany Kurt von Schleicher and his wife, who shot them to death in their own home. Gregor Strasser, one of the leaders of the Nazi party and an influential figure in the early years of the regime, also died.

The Night of the Long Knives was a turning point in the consolidation of Nazi power in Germany and paved the way for the creation of a totalitarian state.

What were the consequences of the night of the long knives?

The repercussions were significant in the internal politics as well as for the foreign relations of Germany. Some of the main consequences include:

  • Consolidation of Hitler’s power: After the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler became the undisputed leader of Germany. The removal of SA leaders and other opponents allowed Adolf to consolidate his control over the party and state, and carry out his agenda unhindered.
  • Changes in Nazi leadership: Removal of SA leaders, including Ernst Röhm, gave changes in the direction of movement. Heinrich Himmler, who commanded the SS, became a key figure in the Nazi hierarchy, while other SA leaders were replaced by SS members.
  • Rising Fear and Repression: The Night of the Long Knives sent a clear message to the opposition and to anyone who opposed the Nazi regime. Fear and repression intensified, and people began to be more careful about what they said and did.
  • Public Approval: The Night of the Long Knives was seen by many Germans as a necessary act to maintain the stability and unity of the Nazi party. Regime propaganda portrayed the SA rulers as traitors and conspirators, helping to justify the assassination of their leaders and win support for the operation.
  • International reaction: The Night of the Long Knives had a significant impact on Germany’s foreign relations. Many foreign leaders condemned the violence and repression that took place in the nation, which led to further isolation from the Nazi regime in the international community.