How Significant Was the Night of the Long Knives in the Development of the Nazi State? 24 Marks

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The Night Of the Long Knives is significant to the political development of the Nazi state and cementing Hitlers power. By purging the SA and others, Hitler aimed to make concessions to groups in German society to gain their support. The German army, for example, were highly respected by the public and were much better trained than the SA. They also remained the only institution which had the power to remove Hitler from office so Hitler needed them on his side. The ambitions of the SA and Rohm however, were regarded as serious by the army leaders, the more so when SA units began stopping army convoys and confiscating weapons and supplies in the summer of 1934. Martial law was threatened to control the SA by Blomberg after this. The army also hated Rohm for his alcoholic and homosexual lifestyle. This of course reflected badly on Hitler and if martial law was put into place to control the SA Hitler would lose his power. Therefore by having Rohm killed in the Night of Long Knives, Hitler gained the support of the army as the army had gotten what they wanted. The support of the army helped cement Hitlers political power. By eliminating certain people Hitler could gain safety as some posed a threat to his life. Without Hitler of course the development of the Nazi state may well have ceased so it was important to eliminate threats. Not only did Rohm cause problems for Hitler in ganing the support of the army, he also was a threat to Hitlers life. Himmler, Heydrich and Göring used Röhm's published anti-Hitler rhetoric to support a claim that the SA was plotting to overthrow Hitler. Himmler and his deputy Heydrich, chief of the SS Security Service, assembled a dossier of manufactured evidence to suggest that Röhm had been paid twelve million marks by France to overthrow Hitler. It was rumoured that when drunk in beer halls, Rohm would speak of a second revolution. Rohm
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