The Night of the Long Knives (German: Nacht der langen Messer (help·info)), sometimes called Operation Hummingbird or, mistakenly, sometimes 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. Leading figures of the left-wing Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party, along with its figurehead, Gregor Strasser, were murdered, as were prominent conservative anti-Nazis (such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Gustav Ritter von Kahr, who had suppressed Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923). Many of those killed were leaders of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary brownshirts.
Adolf Hitler moved against the SA and its leader, Ernst Röhm, because he saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his newly gained political power. Hitler also wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr, the official German military who feared and despised the SA—in particular Röhm's ambition to absorb the Reichswehr into the SA under Röhm's leadership. Additionally, Hitler was uncomfortable with Röhm's outspoken support for a "second revolution" to redistribute wealth. (In Röhm's view Hitler's election had accomplished the "nationalistic" revolution but had left unfulfilled the "socialistic" motive in National Socialism.) Finally, Hitler used the purge to attack or eliminate critics of his new regime, especially those loyal to Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, as well as to settle scores with old enemies.
Eberhard Jäckel (born June 29, 1929) is a Social Democratic German historian, noted for his studies of Adolf Hitler's role in German history. Jäckel sees Hitler as being the historical equivalent to the Chernobyl disaster.
Nazi Germany and the Third Reich are common names for Germany during the period from 1933 to 1945, when its government was controlled by Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly known as the Nazi Party. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the state. Nazi Germany ceased to exist after the Allied Forces defeated the Wehrmacht in May 1945, thus ending World War II in Europe.
After Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933, the Nazi Party began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate their power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany when the powers and offices of the Chancellery and Presidency were merged. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer (leader) of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitler's hands, and his word was above all laws. The government was not a coordinated, cooperating body, but rather a collection of factions struggling to amass power and gain Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahns (high speed highways). The return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity.
Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] ( listen); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP); National Socialist German Workers Party). He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany (as Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. Hitler was at the centre of Nazi Germany, World War II in Europe, and the Holocaust.
Hitler was a decorated veteran of World War I. He joined the German Workers' Party (precursor of the NSDAP) in 1919, and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted a coup d'état in Munich, known as the Beer Hall Putsch. The failed coup resulted in Hitler's imprisonment, during which time he wrote his memoir, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, antisemitism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. After his appointment as chancellor in 1933, he transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of Nazism.