Sturmabteilung
Overview
The Sturmabteilung (ˈʃtʊʁmʔapˌtaɪlʊŋ; Storm Detachment; or Stormtrooper
Stormtrooper
Stormtroopers were specialist soldiers of the German Army in World War I. In the last years of the war, Stoßtruppen were trained to fight with "infiltration tactics", part of the Germans' new method of attack on enemy trenches...

s) functioned as a paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 organization
Organization
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

 of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (or Nazi Party). It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. SA men were often called "brownshirts" for the colour of their uniform
Uniform
A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. Modern uniforms are worn by armed forces and paramilitary organizations such as police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates...

s (similar to Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's blackshirts
Blackshirts
The Blackshirts were Fascist paramilitary groups in Italy during the period immediately following World War I and until the end of World War II...

).

The SA was the first Nazi paramilitary group to develop pseudo-military titles for bestowal upon its members.
Encyclopedia
The Sturmabteilung (ˈʃtʊʁmʔapˌtaɪlʊŋ; Storm Detachment; or Stormtrooper
Stormtrooper
Stormtroopers were specialist soldiers of the German Army in World War I. In the last years of the war, Stoßtruppen were trained to fight with "infiltration tactics", part of the Germans' new method of attack on enemy trenches...

s) functioned as a paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 organization
Organization
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

 of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (or Nazi Party). It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. SA men were often called "brownshirts" for the colour of their uniform
Uniform
A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. Modern uniforms are worn by armed forces and paramilitary organizations such as police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates...

s (similar to Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's blackshirts
Blackshirts
The Blackshirts were Fascist paramilitary groups in Italy during the period immediately following World War I and until the end of World War II...

).

The SA was the first Nazi paramilitary group to develop pseudo-military titles for bestowal upon its members. The SA ranks
Ranks and insignia of the Sturmabteilung
The uniforms and insignia of the Sturmabteilung were Nazi party paramilitary ranks and uniforms used by SA stormtroopers from 1921 until the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945. The titles and phrases used by the SA were the basis for paramilitary titles used by several other Nazi paramilitary groups,...

 were adopted by several other Nazi Party groups, chief amongst them the SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

, itself originally a branch of the SA. Brown-coloured shirts were chosen as the SA uniform because a large batch of them were cheaply available after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, having originally been ordered during the war for colonial troops
Schutztruppe
Schutztruppe was the African colonial armed force of Imperial Germany from the late 19th century to 1918, when Germany lost its colonies. Similar to other colonial forces, the Schutztruppe consisted of volunteer European commissioned and non-commissioned officers, medical and veterinary officers. ...

 posted to Germany's former African colonies
German colonial empire
The German colonial empire was an overseas domain formed in the late 19th century as part of the German Empire. Short-lived colonial efforts by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but Imperial Germany's colonial efforts began in 1884...

.

The SA became largely irrelevant after Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 ordered the "Blood Purge" of 1934. This event became known as the Night of the Long Knives
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

. The SA was effectively superseded by the SS, though never formally dissolved.

Rise

The term Sturmabteilung predates the founding of the Nazi Party in 1919. It originally was applied to the specialized assault troops of Imperial Germany in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 who used Hutier
Oskar von Hutier
Oskar von Hutier was one of Imperial Germany's most successful and innovative generals of World War I.-Biography:Hutier was born in Erfurt, in the Prussian Province of Saxony...

 infiltration tactics
Infiltration tactics
In warfare, infiltration tactics involve small, lightly equipped infantry forces attacking enemy rear areas while bypassing enemy front line strongpoints and isolating them for attack by follow-up troops with heavier weapons.-Development during World War I:...

. Instead of large mass assaults, the Sturmabteilung were organised into small squad
Squad
In military terminology, a squad is a small military unit led by a non-commissioned officer that is subordinate to an infantry platoon. In countries following the British Army tradition this organization is referred to as a section...

s of a few soldiers each. The first official German stormtroop
Stormtrooper
Stormtroopers were specialist soldiers of the German Army in World War I. In the last years of the war, Stoßtruppen were trained to fight with "infiltration tactics", part of the Germans' new method of attack on enemy trenches...

 unit was authorized on 2 March 1915; the German high command ordered the VIII Corps to form a detachment to test experimental weapons and develop tactics which could break the deadlock on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

. On 2 October 1916, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff
Erich Ludendorff
Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff was a German general, victor of Liège and of the Battle of Tannenberg...

 ordered all German armies in the west to form a battalion of stormtroops. They were first used during the German Eighth Army's siege of Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

, and again at the Battle of Caporetto
Battle of Caporetto
The Battle of Caporetto , took place from 24 October to 19 November 1917, near the town of Kobarid , on the Austro-Italian front of World War I...

. Wider use followed on the Western Front in March 1918, where Allied lines were successfully pushed back tens of kilometers.

The DAP (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or German Workers' Party
German Workers' Party
The German Workers' Party was the short-lived predecessor of the Nazi Party .-Origins:The DAP was founded in Munich in the hotel "Fürstenfelder Hof" on January 5, 1919 by Anton Drexler, a member of the occultist Thule Society. It developed out of the "Freien Arbeiterausschuss für einen guten...

) was formed in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 in January 1919 and Adolf Hitler joined it in September of that year. His talents for speaking, publicity and propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 were quickly recognized, and by early 1920 he had gained some authority in the party, which changed its name to the NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or National Socialist German Workers' Party) in April 1920.

The precursor to the SA had acted informally and on an ad hoc basis for some time before this. Hitler, with an eye always to helping the party to grow through propaganda, convinced the leadership committee to invest in an advertisement in the Munchener Beobachter (later renamed the Volkischer Beobachter
Völkischer Beobachter
The Völkischer Beobachter was the newspaper of the National Socialist German Workers' Party from 1920. It first appeared weekly, then daily from February 8, 1923...

) for a mass meeting in the Hofbräuhaus
Hofbräuhaus
The Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München is a brewery in Munich, Germany, owned by the Bavarian state government...

, to be held on 16 October 1919. Some 70 people attended, and a second such meeting was advertised for 13 November in the Eberlbrau beer hall. Some 130 people attended; there were hecklers, but Hitler's military friends promptly ejected them by force, and the agitators "flew down the stairs with gashed heads." The next year, on 24 February, he announced the party's Twenty-Five Point program
National Socialist Program
The National Socialist Programme , was first, the political program of the German National Socialist Party in 1918, and later, in the 1920s, of the National Socialist German Workers' Party headed by Adolf...

 at a mass meeting of some 2000 persons at the Hofbrauhaus. Protesters tried to shout Hitler down, but his army friends, armed with rubber truncheons, ejected the dissenters. The basis for the SA had been formed.

A permanent group of party members who would serve as the Saalschutz Abteilung (hall defense detachment) for the DAP gathered around Emil Maurice
Emil Maurice
Emil Maurice was an early member of the Nazi Party and is regarded by historians as the founder of the SS. A watchmaker by trade, Maurice was a close associate of Adolf Hitler with a personal friendship dating back to at least 1919...

 after the February 1920 incident at the Hofbräuhaus. There was little organization or structure to this group, however. The group was also called the Ordnertruppen around this time. More than a year later, on 3 August 1921, Hitler redefined the group as the "Gymnastic and Sports Division" of the party (Turn- und Sportabteilung), perhaps to avoid trouble with the government. It was by now well recognized as an appropriate, even necessary, function or organ of the party. The future SA developed by organizing and formalizing the groups of ex-soldiers and beer hall brawlers who were to protect gatherings of the Nazi Party from disruptions from Social Democrats
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 and Communists
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

. By September 1921 the name Sturmabteilung was being used informally for the group. Hitler, it should be noted, was the official head of the Nazi Party by this time.

On 4 November 1921 the Nazi party held a large public meeting in the Munich Hofbräuhaus. After Hitler had spoken for some time the meeting erupted into a melee in which a small company of SA distinguished itself by thrashing the opposition. The Nazis called this event "Saalschlacht" (meeting hall battle) and it assumed legendary proportions in SA lore with the passage of time. Thereafter, the group was officially known as the Sturmabteilung.

The leadership of the SA passed from Maurice to the young Hans Ulrich Klintzsch
Hans Ulrich Klintzsch
Hans Ulrich Klintzsch was an ex-naval lieutenant from the Erhardt Brigade who served as leader of the Oberste SA-Führer from 1921 until 11 May 1923, when he returned to his former unit and ceded control to Hermann Göring. After his career as SA-leader, he went back to the Luftwaffe...

 in this period. He had been a naval officer and a member of the Ehrhardt Brigade of Kapp Putsch
Kapp Putsch
The Kapp Putsch — or more accurately the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch — was a 1920 coup attempt during the German Revolution of 1918–1919 aimed at overthrowing the Weimar Republic...

 fame and was, at the time of his assumption of SA command, a member of the notorious Organisation Consul
Organisation Consul
Organisation Consul was an ultra-nationalist force operating in Germany in 1921 and 1922. It was formed by members of the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, a Freikorps unit which disbanded after the Kapp Putsch failed to overthrow the German Weimar Republic...

 (OC). The Nazis under Hitler were taking advantage of the more professional management techniques of the military.

Under their popular leader, Stabschef Ernst Röhm
Ernst Röhm
Ernst Julius Röhm, was a German officer in the Bavarian Army and later an early Nazi leader. He was a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung , the Nazi Party militia, and later was its commander...

, the SA grew in importance within the Nazi power structure, initially growing in size to thousands of members. In 1922, the Nazi Party created a youth section, the Jugendbund
Jugendbund
The Jugendbund der NSDAP was a group similar to the Hitler Youth, and was indeed its predecessor. It was effectively the youth section of the Sturmabteilung and it existed between 1922 and 1923 when the NSDAP was banned following the failed Munich Putsch...

, for young men between the ages of 14 and 18 years. Its successor, the Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...

, remained under SA command until May 1932.

From April 1924 until late February 1925 the SA was known as the Frontbann
Frontbann
The term Frontbann refers to a reorganized and renamed version of the Sturmabteilung or SA. It was created in April 1924 in an effort to rebuild the Nazi party in the aftermath of the failed Munich Putsch. The Nazi party including the SA was outlawed by the German government following the Putsch...

 to try to circumvent Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

's ban on the Nazi Party and its organs (instituted after the abortive Beer Hall putsch
Beer Hall Putsch
The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed attempt at revolution that occurred between the evening of 8 November and the early afternoon of 9 November 1923, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff, and other heads of the Kampfbund unsuccessfully tried to seize power...

 of November 1923). The SA carried out numerous acts of violence against competing socialist groups throughout the 1920s, typically in minor street-fights called Zusammenstöße ('collisions'). As the Nazis evolved from an extremist political party to the unquestioned leaders of the government, the SA was no longer needed for its original purpose: the acquisition of political power. An organization that could inflict more subtle terror and obedience was needed, and the SA (which had been born out of street violence and beer hall brawls) was simply not capable of doing so. The SA also posed a threat to the Nazi leadership and to Hitler's goal of co-opting the Reichswehr
Reichswehr
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was renamed the Wehrmacht ....

 to his ends, as Röhm's ideal was to incorporate the "antiquated" German army into a new "people's army": the SA. The younger SS was more suited to this task and began to take over the previously held roles of the SA.

Fall

After Hitler took power in 1933, the SA became increasingly eager for power and saw themselves as the replacement for the German army, then limited by law to no more than 100,000 men. This angered the regular army (Reichswehr
Reichswehr
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was renamed the Wehrmacht ....

), which already resented the Nazis. It also led to tension with other leaders within the party, who saw Röhm's increasingly powerful SA as a threat to their own personal ambitions. Originally an adjunct to the SA, the Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 (SS) was placed under the direct control of Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 in part to restrict the power of the SA and their leaders.

Although some of these conflicts were based on personal rivalries, there were also key socioeconomic conflicts between the SS and SA. SS members generally came from the middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

, while the SA had its base among the unemployed and working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

. Politically speaking, the SA were more radical than the SS, with its leaders arguing the Nazi revolution had not ended when Hitler achieved power, but rather needed to implement socialism in Germany (see Strasserism). Furthermore, the defiant and rebellious culture encouraged prior to the seizure of power had to give way to a community organization approach such as canvassing and fundraising, which was resented by the SA as Kleinarbeit, "little work," which had normally been performed by women prior to the seizure of power.

In 1933, General Werner von Blomberg
Werner von Blomberg
Werner Eduard Fritz von Blomberg was a German Generalfeldmarschall, Minister of War and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces until January 1938.-Early life:...

, the Minister of Defence, and General Walther von Reichenau
Walther von Reichenau
Walter von Reichenau was a German Generalfeldmarschall during World War II.-History:Reichenau was born in Karlsruhe to a Prussian general and joined the German Army in 1903. During World War I he served on the Western Front...

, the chief of the Reichswehrs Ministerial Department, became increasingly concerned about the growing power of the SA. Ernst Röhm had been given a seat on the National Defence Council and began to demand more say over military matters. On 2nd October 1933, Röhm sent a letter to Reichenau that said: "I regard the Reichswehr now only as a training school for the German people. The conduct of war, and therefore of mobilization as well, in the future is the task of the SA.

Blomberg and von Reichenau began to conspire with Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 and Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 against Röhm and the SA. Himmler asked Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

 to assemble a dossier on Röhm. Heydrich recognized that in order for the SS to fully gain national power the SA had to be broken. He 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. Röhm had been one of his first supporters and, without his ability to obtain army funds in the early days of the movement, it is unlikely that the Nazis would have ever become established. The SA under Röhm's leadership had also played a vital role in destroying the opposition during the elections of 1932 and 1933.

However, Adolf Hitler had his own reasons for wanting Röhm removed. Powerful supporters of Hitler had been complaining about Röhm for some time. The generals were fearful due to knowing Röhm's desire to have the SA, a force of over 3 million men, absorb the much smaller German Army into its ranks under his leadership. Further, reports of a huge cache of weapons in the hands of SA members, gave the army commanders even more concern. Industrialists, 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. Matters came to a head in June 1934 when President von Hindenburg, who had the complete loyalty of the Army, informed Hitler that if he didn't move to curb the SA then Hindenburg would dissolve the Government and declare martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

.

Adolf Hitler was also concerned that Röhm and the SA had the power to remove him as leader. Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler played on this fear by constantly feeding him with new information on Röhm's proposed coup. A masterstroke was to claim that Gregor Strasser
Gregor Strasser
Gregor Strasser was a politician of the National Socialist German Workers Party...

, whom Hitler hated, was part of the planned conspiracy against him. With this news Hitler ordered all the SA leaders to attend a meeting in the Hanselbauer Hotel in Bad Wiessee
Bad Wiessee
Bad Wiessee is a spa town on Lake Tegernsee, Bavaria, Germany. The name "Bad" means for "spa" or "baths", while "Wiessee" derives from "West See", meaning "western part of the lake"....

.

On 29 June 1934, Hitler, accompanied by the Schutzstaffel (SS), arrived at Bad Wiessee
Bad Wiessee
Bad Wiessee is a spa town on Lake Tegernsee, Bavaria, Germany. The name "Bad" means for "spa" or "baths", while "Wiessee" derives from "West See", meaning "western part of the lake"....

, where he personally placed Ernst Röhm and other high-ranking SA leaders under arrest. During the next 24 hours 200 other senior SA officers were arrested on the way to Wiessee. Many were shot as soon as they were captured but Hitler decided to pardon Röhm because of his past services to the movement. On 1 July after much pressure from Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, Hitler agreed that Röhm should die. Hitler insisted that Röhm should first be allowed to commit suicide. However, when Röhm refused, he was killed by two SS officers, Theodor Eicke
Theodor Eicke
Theodor Eicke was a SS Obergruppenführer , commander of the SS-Division Totenkopf of the Waffen-SS and one of the key figures in the establishment of concentration camps in Nazi Germany. His Nazi Party number was 114,901 and his SS number was 2,921...

 and Michael Lippert
Michael Lippert
Michel Hans Lippert or Michael Lippert was an SS Standartenführer, Police officer and a German soldier who served in both World War I and World War II. During World War II. Lippert commanded several concentration camps, including Sachsenhausen, before becoming a commander of the SS-Freiwilligen...

. The names of eighty-five victims are known, however, estimates place the total number killed at between 150 and 200 persons. While some Germans were shocked by the killing, many others saw Hitler as the one who restored "order" to the country. Goebbels's propaganda highlighted the "Röhm-Putsch" in the days that followed. The homosexuality of Röhm and other SA leaders was made public to add "shock value" even though the sexuality of Röhm and other named SA leaders had actually been known by Hitler and other Nazi leaders for years.

Post-purge

After the Night of the Long Knives
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

, the SA continued to exist under the leadership of Victor Lutze, but the group was largely placated and significantly downsized. The SA became overshadowed by other Nazi groups in the coming years, chiefly the SS, and by 1938 had little remaining significance in the Nazi organization. With the start of World War II in 1939, the SA lost most of its remaining members to the draft, although an attempt was made to form an SA division on similar lines to the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

, the result being the creation of the Feldherrnhalle SA-Panzer Division.

In 1943, Victor Lutze was killed in an automobile accident and leadership of the group was assumed by Wilhelm Schepmann
Wilhelm Schepmann
Wilhelm Schepmann was an SA officer in Nazi Germany and the last Stabschef of the Nazi Stormtroopers.-Biography:...

. Schepmann did his best to run the SA for the remainder of the war, attempting to restore the group as a predominant force within the Nazi Party and to mend years of distrust and bad feelings between the SA and SS.

The SA officially ceased to exist in May 1945 when Nazi Germany collapsed. In the modern age, several Neo-Nazi groups claim to be continued extensions of the SA, with terms such as "stormtrooper" and "brown shirt" common in Neo-Nazi vocabulary, although these groups are often loosely organized with separate agendas.

Leaders

The leader of the SA
Leadership ranks of the Sturmabteilung
Leadership ranks of the Sturmabteilung were the titles and positions held by the commanders of the Sturmabteilung of the Nazi Party between the years of 1920 and 1945....

 was known as the Oberster SA-Führer, translated as Supreme SA-Leader. The following men held this position:
  • Emil Maurice
    Emil Maurice
    Emil Maurice was an early member of the Nazi Party and is regarded by historians as the founder of the SS. A watchmaker by trade, Maurice was a close associate of Adolf Hitler with a personal friendship dating back to at least 1919...

     (1920–1921)
  • Hans Ulrich Klintzsche (1921–1923)
  • Hermann Göring
    Hermann Göring
    Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

     (1923)
  • None (1923–1925)
  • Franz Pfeffer von Salomon
    Franz Pfeffer von Salomon
    Franz Pfeffer von Salomon was the first commander of the SA after its 1925 restoration, which followed its temporary abolition in 1923 after the abortive Beer Hall Putsch....

     (1926–1930)
  • Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

     (1930–1945)


In September 1930, to quell the Stennes Revolt
Stennes Revolt
The Stennes Revolt, led by Walter Stennes , the Berlin commandant of the Sturmabteilung , erupted in the summer of 1930 and again in the spring of 1931...

 and to try to ensure the personal loyalty of the SA to himself, Hitler assumed command of the entire organization and remained Oberster SA-Führer for the remainder of the group's existence to 1945. The day to day running of the SA was conducted by the Stabschef-SA
Stabschef (SA)
For other uses of the term "Stabschef" please refer to Chief of StaffStabschef was an office and paramilitary rank in the Sturmabteilung , the paramilitary stormtroopers associated with the Nazi movement...

 (SA Chief of Staff). After Hitler's assumption of the supreme command of the SA, it was the Stabschef-SA who was generally accepted as the Commander of the SA, acting in Hitler's name.
The following personnel held the position of Stabschef-SA:
  • Otto Wagener
    Otto Wagener
    Otto Wagener was a German major general and, for a period, Adolf Hitler's economic advisor.- Biography :An industrialist's son, Wagener was born in Durlach, graduated from Gymnasium and then became an army officer...

      (1929–1931)
  • Ernst Röhm
    Ernst Röhm
    Ernst Julius Röhm, was a German officer in the Bavarian Army and later an early Nazi leader. He was a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung , the Nazi Party militia, and later was its commander...

     (1931–1934)
  • Viktor Lutze
    Viktor Lutze
    Viktor Lutze was the commander of the Sturmabteilung  succeeding Ernst Röhm as Stabschef.-Early life:...

     (1934–1943)
  • Wilhelm Scheppmann (1943–1945)

Organization

The SA was organized throughout Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 into several large formations known as Gruppen. Within each Gruppe, there existed subordinate Brigaden and in turn existed regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 sized Standarten. SA-Standarten operated out of every major German city and were split into even smaller units, known as Sturmbanne and Stürme.

The command nexus for the entire SA operated out of Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 and was known as the Oberste SA-Führung. The SA supreme command had many sub-offices to handle supply, finance, and recruiting. Unlike the SS, however, the SA did not have a medical corps nor did it establish itself outside of Germany, in occupied territories, once World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 began.

The SA also had several military training units, the largest of which was the SA-Marine which served as an auxiliary to the Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

 and performed search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 operations as well as harbor defense.

Similar to the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

 wing of the SS, the SA also had an armed military wing, known as Feldherrnhalle. These formations expanded from regimental size in 1940 to a fully-fledged armored corps Panzerkorps Feldherrnhalle
Panzer Corps Feldherrnhalle
The Panzerkorps Feldherrnhalle was a German panzer corps formed in October 1944 from the remaining troops of the IV. Armeekorps, the Storm Division Rhodos and Panzer-Grenadier-Brigade 17 formed mostly of SA recruits....

 in 1945.

Film and media

  • The SA were prominent in Nazi propaganda
    Nazi propaganda
    Propaganda, the coordinated attempt to influence public opinion through the use of media, was skillfully used by the NSDAP in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany...

     newsreels of the late 1920s and early 1930s.
    • The SA were the subject of two 1933 Nazi propaganda films: S.A.-Mann Brand and Hans Westmar. Einer von vielen. Ein deutsches Schicksal aus dem Jahre 1929
      Hans Westmar. Einer von vielen. Ein deutsches Schicksal aus dem Jahre 1929
      Hans Westmar. Einer von vielen. Ein deutsches Schicksal aus dem Jahre 1929 was the last of an unofficial trilogy of films commissioned by the Nazis shortly after coming to power in January 1933, celebrating their Kampfzeit - a mythologized history of their period in opposition, struggling to gain...

      .
  • The SA make an appearance in several films depicting the end of the Weimar Republic
    Weimar Republic
    The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

    :
    • scenes in the 1972 film Cabaret
      Cabaret (film)
      Cabaret is a 1972 musical film directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Grey. The film is set in Berlin during the Weimar Republic in 1931, under the ominous presence of the growing National Socialist Party....

       depict the savage beating of a nightclub bouncer
      Bouncer (doorman)
      A bouncer is an informal term for a type of security guard employed at venues such as bars, nightclubs or concerts to provide security, check legal age, and refuse entry to a venue based on criteria such as intoxication, aggressive behavior, or attractiveness...

       by a group of SA men
    • a member of the industrialist Essenbeck family is a member of the SA in the 1969 Luchino Visconti
      Luchino Visconti
      Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo was an Italian theatre, opera and cinema director, as well as a screenwriter. He is best known for his films The Leopard and Death in Venice .-Life:...

       film The Damned, in which one sequence luridly depicts the Night of the Long Knives.
    • in the play and film Bent
      Bent (play)
      Bent is a 1979 play by Martin Sherman. It revolves around the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany, and takes place during and after the Night of the Long Knives....

       by Martin Sherman
      Martin Sherman
      Martin Sherman is an American dramatist and screenwriter, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play Bent , which explores the persecution of homosexuals during the Holocaust...

      , the hero has the misfortune to spend the night with a storm trooper on the Night of the Long Knives, and is caught up in the arrests and sent to a concentration camp.
  • Fictionalized American Brownshirts are one of a group of "villains" who oppose Jake and Elwood in The Blues Brothers
    The Blues Brothers
    The Blues Brothers are an American blues and soul revivalist band founded in 1978 by comedy actors Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as part of a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live...

    .
  • In the musical and film The Producers
    The Producers (1968 film)
    The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop...

    , Franz Liebkind, the neo-Nazi writer of Springtime for Hitler, sings in the number "In Old Bavaria", "Oh, the mountains und the meadows und the sky/ not to mention hordes of brownshirts passing by."
  • P. G. Wodehouse
    P. G. Wodehouse
    Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE was an English humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics, and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years and his many writings continue to be...

     satirises the Brown Shirts in his Jeeves and Wooster
    Jeeves and Wooster
    -External links:*—An episode guide to the series, including information about which episodes were adapted from which Wodehouse stories.*—Episode guides, screenshots and quotes from the four series....

     books with Roderick Spode
    Roderick Spode
    Roderick Spode, Bt, 7th Earl of Sidcup, often known as Spode or Lord Sidcup, is a recurring fictional character from the Jeeves novels of British comic writer P. G. Wodehouse, being an "amateur Dictator" and the leader of a fictional fascist group in London called The Black Shorts...

    , 8th Earl of Sidcup and his 'Black Shorts'.
  • In the American television drama, Hitler: The Rise of Evil
    Hitler: The Rise of Evil
    Hitler: The Rise of Evil is a Canadian TV miniseries in two parts, directed by Christian Duguay and produced by Alliance Atlantis. It explores Adolf Hitler's rise and his early consolidation of power during the years after World War I and focuses on how the embittered, politically fragmented and...

    , the SA are heavily featured in events portrayed, including the Night of the Long Knives
    Night of the Long Knives
    The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

    . In the miniseries, Peter Stormare
    Peter Stormare
    is a Swedish film, stage, voice and television actor as well as a theatrical director, playwright and musician.- Early life :...

     plays the SA leader Ernst Röhm
    Ernst Röhm
    Ernst Julius Röhm, was a German officer in the Bavarian Army and later an early Nazi leader. He was a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung , the Nazi Party militia, and later was its commander...

    .
  • The Neo-Nazis that appeared in episodes five and six of the anime
    Anime
    is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

     Black Lagoon
    Black Lagoon
    is a manga series written and illustrated by Rei Hiroe, and published in Shogakukan's Sunday GX since 2002. An animated television series based on the manga aired in Japan from April 8, 2006, to June 24, 2006, totaling twelve episodes. A second season, subtitled "The Second Barrage", ran for twelve...

     performed under the SA insignia.

See also

  • Uniforms and insignia of the Sturmabteilung
  • Militia
    Militia
    The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

  • Paramilitary
    Paramilitary
    A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

  • Political color
  • Political uniform
    Political uniform
    A number of political movements have involved their members wearing uniforms, typically as a way of showing their identity in marches and demonstrations...

  • Stormtrooper
    Stormtrooper
    Stormtroopers were specialist soldiers of the German Army in World War I. In the last years of the war, Stoßtruppen were trained to fight with "infiltration tactics", part of the Germans' new method of attack on enemy trenches...

  • Glossary of Nazi Germany
  • List of Nazi Party leaders and officials


Affiliated organisations
  • Blackshirts
    British Union of Fascists
    The British Union was a political party in the United Kingdom formed in 1932 by Sir Oswald Mosley as the British Union of Fascists, in 1936 it changed its name to the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists and then in 1937 to simply the British Union...

  • Blackshirts
    Albanian Fascist Party
    The Albanian Fascist Party was a fascist movement which held nominal power in Albania from 1939, when the country was conquered by Italy, until 1943, when Italy capitulated to the Allies...

     - Albania
  • Blueshirts
    Parti national social chrétien
    The Parti National Social Chrétien was a Canadian political party formed by Adrien Arcand in February 1934. The party identified with anti-semitism, and German leader Adolf Hitler's Nazism. The party was later known, in English, as the Canadian National Socialist Unity Party or National Unity...

     - Canada
  • Brownshirts - Germany
  • Blackshirts
    Blackshirts (India)
    Blackshirts are members of the anti-religious atheist quasi-political organization Dravidar Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu, founded by "Periyar" E V Ramasamy. The members wear black shirts to mock and protest the saffron vestments of Hindu religious leaders, and sadhus as black is generally associated with...

     - India
  • Blueshirts - Ireland
  • Greenshirts
    Greenshirts
    .The Greenshirts was the name used for followers of Eoin O'Duffy's openly fascist National Corporate Party following the split from Fine Gael. In 1936 O'Duffy led a volunteer Irish Brigade for Franco in the Spanish Civil War and retired on his return. Without him both the Greenshirts and National...

     - Ireland
  • Gestapo
    Gestapo
    The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

     - Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

  • Redshirts - Italy
  • Goldshirts
    Gold shirts
    The Revolutionary Mexicanist Action , better known as the Gold shirts , was a Mexican fascist paramilitary organization in the 1930s.The group was founded by general Nicolás Rodríguez Carrasco in 1933 with the official title of Acción Revolucionaria Mexicana...

     - Mexico
  • Greyshirts
    Greyshirts
    Greyshirts or Gryshemde is the common short-form name given to the South African Gentile National Socialist Movement, a South African Nazi movement that existed during the 1930s and 1940s...

     - ethnically Dutch South Africans
  • Greenshirts
    Iron Guard
    The Iron Guard is the name most commonly given to a far-right movement and political party in Romania in the period from 1927 into the early part of World War II. The Iron Guard was ultra-nationalist, fascist, anti-communist, and promoted the Orthodox Christian faith...

     - Romania
  • Blackshirts
    British Union of Fascists
    The British Union was a political party in the United Kingdom formed in 1932 by Sir Oswald Mosley as the British Union of Fascists, in 1936 it changed its name to the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists and then in 1937 to simply the British Union...

     - United Kingdom
  • Silvershirts
    Silver Legion of America
    The Silver Legion of America, commonly known as the Silver Shirts, was an American fascist organization founded by William Dudley Pelley on January 30, 1933, coincidentally, the same day Adolf Hitler, whom Pelley admired, seized power in Germany....

     - United States
  • Black Brigades
    Black Brigades
    Black Brigades were one of the Fascist paramilitary groups operating in the Italian Social Republic , during the final years of World War II, and after the signing of the Italian Armistice in 1943...

  • Blue Shirts Society
    Blue Shirts Society
    The Blue Shirts Society also known as the Society of Practice of the Three Principles of the People , the Spirit Encouragement Society and the China Reconstruction Society , was a secret clique in the...

     - Taiwan (Kuomintang
    Kuomintang
    The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

    )
  • Italian Social Republic
    Italian Social Republic
    The Italian Social Republic was a puppet state of Nazi Germany led by the "Duce of the Nation" and "Minister of Foreign Affairs" Benito Mussolini and his Republican Fascist Party. The RSI exercised nominal sovereignty in northern Italy but was largely dependent on the Wehrmacht to maintain control...

     - Blackshirts
    Blackshirts
    The Blackshirts were Fascist paramilitary groups in Italy during the period immediately following World War I and until the end of World War II...

  • Squadrismo
    Squadrismo
    Squadrismo was the use of violence by Italian Fascist gangs from 1918 - 1922. Squadrismo consisted of fascist squads who were led by the Ras...

  • Integralismo
  • Black Shorts parody of the blackshirts in the writings of P.G. Wodehouse
  • Black Brigades
    Black Brigades
    Black Brigades were one of the Fascist paramilitary groups operating in the Italian Social Republic , during the final years of World War II, and after the signing of the Italian Armistice in 1943...

  • Freikorps
    Freikorps
    Freikorps are German volunteer military or paramilitary units. The term was originally applied to voluntary armies formed in German lands from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Between World War I and World War II the term was also used for the paramilitary organizations that arose during...

  • National Socialist Motor Corps
    National Socialist Motor Corps
    The National Socialist Motor Corps , also known as the National Socialist Drivers Corps, was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that existed from 1931 to 1945. The group was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps, which had existed since the beginning...

  • Panzer Corps Feldherrnhalle
    Panzer Corps Feldherrnhalle
    The Panzerkorps Feldherrnhalle was a German panzer corps formed in October 1944 from the remaining troops of the IV. Armeekorps, the Storm Division Rhodos and Panzer-Grenadier-Brigade 17 formed mostly of SA recruits....

  • Weimar paramilitary groups
    Weimar paramilitary groups
    Paramilitary groups were formed throughout the Weimar Republic in the wake of Germany's defeat in World War I and the ensuing German Revolution. Some were created by political parties to help in recruiting, discipline and in preparation for seizing power. Some were created before World War I....


External links

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