Tensions between the armed forces and state

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  • The tensions between the armed forces and the state!
    • Many Generals welcomed Hitler's denunciations of the Treaty of Versailles and his promise to restore the army to it former political and military status.
      • However, aristocratic Generals disliked him; seeing him as an upstart.
        • BUT: they believed, like Hindenburg, that the Nazis could be tamed and harnessed by a conservative dominated coalition.
          • Consequently, they agreed with the arming of the SS in 1930 and stood aside when Hitler was appointed Chancellor.
        • Many doubters were calmed by the apparent legality of Hitler's revolution as well as his flattery in his speech to top generals in February.
          • Further collaboration was encouraged by the commemoration day at Potsdam on 21st March 1933.
    • Much of Nazi propaganda was spoken in terms of: The Nazi Revolution!
      • To Hitler, this meant the acquisition and consolidation of power to bring about cultural change based on the concept of race.
      • Hitler believed the 'Revolution' involved the destruction of democratic institutions, Gleichschaltung and the adherence to the central points of his world view.
        • Even within the Nazi Party, Hitler was a radical, but this was tampered by pragmatism and the dominant instinct of most politicians to hold onto power, even if this meant by making short-term compromises.
    • Rohm and his brown-shirted supporters!
      • They were not so prepared to make such sacrifices; they agitated for a 'Second Revolution: no compromises with business and the establishment and the immediate purging of those considered 'enemies of the nation'.
      • Rohm was fundamentally different from Hitler over the idea of a social revolution set out in the Programme of 1920.
        • The problem for many within the SA rank and file was that the recent changes in Germany hadn't challenged the economic power of the middle classes or establishment.
      • In an article published in June 1933, Rohm threatened that the 'struggle' for a Nationalist Socialist Revolution would continue with or without the support of the establishment.
        • Despite this challenge to his leadership of the movement and party, Hitler was not prepared to face up to Rohm.
          • Instead, he formally called for an end to the revolution in a speech to the revolution on July 6th 1933.
            • At the end of 1933, Rohm was brought into the cabinet with the post of Reich Minister Without Portfolio.
    • The SA threat to the Nazi consensus!
      • Appointing Rohm to the cabinet did little to dispel the growing sense of unease of the establishment about the seemingly growing influence of the SA.
        • In some regions, it acted virtually as a law onto itself; even having a police force (the Feldjager) which acted independently from the Gestapo.
      • Increasing in size: by 1934 there were 2.5 million members.
        • The army mistrusted the SA because of Rohm's ability to turn it into a militia.
          • In February 1934 he contacted the Defence Minister General Werner von Blomberg demanding that the SA be allowed to take over national defence.
            • This mean that Hitler had to choose between the support of the armed forces or the SA!
              • In January 1934 he made a speech stressing the importance of the armed forces in the National Socialists' state.
                • On the 28th February 1934, at a meeting Hitler told Rohm the SA's function was political, not military.
      • The Security Service of the SS (formed 1931).
        • Headed by Reinhard Heydrich, the SD was in increasing competition with the SA to run state security.
        • Although the SS had also been enjoyu
      • Hitler suspended SA military exercises in May 1934.


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