By the summer of 1934 Adolf Hitler, appointed chancellor by the moribund President von Hindenburg, had amassed considerable political power, but hardline elements in his own Party that were instrumental to his rise now accused him of betraying the National Socialist agenda. A zealous Nazi and notorious homosexual, Ernst Roehm was the leader of the Party's paramilitary force, the Sturmabteilung (SA) or "Brown Shirts," which at its peak was over four million strong. He had once been Hitler's close friend but had become his most vehement critic. Hitler's response was the “Night of Long Knives,” the term coined by him to describe the well-planned orgy of arrest, assassination, and execution that he personally led against his former comrades during the weekend of June 29, 1934. Step by step, our by hour, Max Gallo reconstructs the events that caused Himmler, Heydrich, Göring, and the Germany Army itself to convince Hitler to eliminate their rivals. Here in vivid detail is the epic clash between the brutal fanaticism of Roehm's SA and the cold-blooded cynicism of the SS, and how Hitler used it to augment his power and cement his position.
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