Third Reich Day by Day: August 1934

The tensions between the SA leadership and Hitler exploded in 1934. Ernst Röhm, believing that the Nazi revolution should be taken a step further, began to talk of the SA replacing the army. Hitler, however, now firmly in power, did not want to alienate the army or the conservative élites that were backing him. Egged on by other senior Nazis, the Führer decided to eradicate the SA threat. The result was the Night of the Long Knives, during which the senior leadership of the SA, including Röhm, was killed.

August 2

Germany, Personalities

Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg dies at Neudeck; the only barrier between Hitler and unrestrained power disappears with Hindenburg’s demise. Within three hours Goebbels announces that the office of president is abolished, and the fusing of the two roles of chancellor and president. The Führer of the NSDAP is now the Führer of Germany. Hitler also becomes commander of the armed forces.