On This Day, June 30, 1934 – Hitler Launches the Night of the Long Knives
1934 – Adolf Hitler purged the Nazi Party by destroying the SA and bringing to power the SS in the “Night of the Long Knives.”
By 1934 Adolf Hitler appeared to have complete control over Nazi Germany, but like most dictators, he constantly feared that he might be ousted by others who wanted his power. To protect himself from a possible coup, Hitler used the tactic of divide and rule and encouraged other leaders such as Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler and Ernst Röhm to compete with each other for senior positions.
One of the consequences of this policy was that these men developed a dislike for each other. Röhm was particularly hated because as leader of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) he had tremendous power and had the potential to remove any one of his competitors. Goering and Himmler asked Reinhard Heydrich to assemble a dossier on Röhm. Heydrich, who also feared him, manufactured evidence that suggested that Röhm had been paid 12 million marks by the French to overthrow Hitler.
Hitler liked Ernst Röhm and initially refused to believe the dossier provided by Heydrich.
However, Adolf Hitler had his own reasons for wanting Röhm removed. Powerful supporters of Hitler had been complaining about Roehm for some time. Generals were afraid that the Sturm Abteilung (SA), a force of over 3 million men, would absorb the much smaller German Army into its ranks and Roehm would become its overall leader.
Industrialists such as Albert Voegler, Gustav and Alfred Krupp, Fritz Thyssen and Emile Kirdorf, who had provided the funds for the Nazi victory, were unhappy with Röhm’s socialistic views on the economy and his claims that the real revolution had still to take place. Many people in the party also disapproved of the fact that Roehm and many other leaders of the SA were homosexuals.
On 29th June, 1934. Hitler, accompanied by Theodor Eicke and selected members of the Schutzstaffel (SS), arrived at Bad Wiesse, where he personally arrested Ernst Röhm. During the next 24 hours 200 other senior SA officers were arrested on the way to the meeting.
A large number of the SA officers were shot as soon as they were captured butAdolf Hitler decided to pardon Röhm because of his past services to the movement. However, after much pressure from Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler, Hitler agreed that Röhm should die. Himmler ordered Theodor Eicke to carry out the task. eEick and his adjutant, Michael Lipppert, travelled to Stadelheim Prison in Munich where Röhm was being held. Eicke placed a pistol on a table in Röhm’s cell and told him that he had 10 minutes in which to use the weapon to kill himself. Röhm replied: “If Adolf wants to kill me, let him do the dirty work.”
1841 – The Erie Railroad rolled out its first passenger train.
1859 – Charles Blondin became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
1894 – Korea declared independence from China and asked for Japanese aid.
1908 – A meteor explosion in Siberia knocked down trees in a 40-mile radius and struck people unconscious some 40 miles away.
1912 – Belgian workers went on strike to demand universal suffrage.
1922 – Irish rebels in London assassinate Sir Henry Wilson, the British deputy for Northern Ireland.
1935 – Fascists caused an uproar at the League of Nations when Haile Selassie of Ethiopia speaks.
1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s book, “Gone with the Wind,” was published.
1950 – U.S. President Harry Truman ordered U.S. troops into Korea and authorizes the draft.
1953 – The first Corvette rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI. It sold for $3,250.
1955 – The U.S. began funding West Germany’s rearmament.
1958 – The U.S. Congress passed a law authorizing the admission of Alaska as the 49th state in the Union.
1962 – Los Angeles Dodger Sandy Koufax pitched his first no-hitter in a game with the New York Mets.
1971 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government could not prevent The Washington Post or The New York Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers.
1971 – The Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 11 returned to Earth. The three cosmonauts were found dead inside.
1971 – The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified when Ohio became the 38th state to approve it. The amendment lowered the minimum voting age to 18.
1984 – The longest professional football game took place in the United States Football League (USFL). The Los Angeles Express beat the Michigan Panthers 27-21 after 93 minutes and 33 seconds.
1986 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states could outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.
1994 – The U.S. Figure Skating Association stripped Tonya Harding of the 1994 national championship and banned her from the organization for life for an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
2000 – U.S. President Clinton signed the E-Signature bill to give the same legal validity to an electronic signature as a signature in pen and ink.
Source: On-This-Day.com; spartacus-educational.com