- Christogenea Saturdays
The Night of the Long Knives, Part 1
Here I am going to present a series of articles by General Leon Degrelle which explain the strife within the National Socialist German Workers Party which culminated in the infamous Night of the Long Knives, which was a purge of prominent dissidents and loose cannons within the Party which took place from June 30th to July 2nd, 1934. There is a lot of extant misinformation and propaganda concerning this purge, because there are few take the time to understand what events had led to it, and what events transpired in its aftermath. Only weeks after the purge was completed, Hitler’s leadership of both the Party and of Germany was confirmed in a landslide election victory, on August 19th of 1934.
After the death of Paul von Hindenburg on August 2nd, a referendum was held to merge the offices of Chancellor and President, making Adolf Hitler the undisputed leader of Germany. In order to judge the scope of the victory and the perception of Hitler by the German public at this time, we should take a brief look at the German federal elections which were held just prior to 1934. In 1925, Hindenburg won the office of President with less than 49% of the vote, and in again in 1932 with 53%. That same year, opponent Adolf Hitler received nearly 37% of the vote. Hitler was soon appointed Chancellor, which was the second position in the government, by an aged and ailing von Hindenburg. He had only run for reelection in fear of a National Socialist victory, to keep Hitler out of the office of President.
Once Hitler became Chancellor, he called for new elections which were held in March of 1933, where he had hoped to gain a sound majority. He was again victorious but received only about 44% of the vote, so any legislation he sought would still require the assistance of a coalition of parties in order to succeed. Hitler remained Chancellor and Hindenburg remained as President until his death. Then on August 19th of 1934, barely seven weeks after the purge of several major figures within his own Party, Hitler finally prevailed as the vacant office of President was merged with the office of Chancellor with nearly 89% of the vote. In this election, Hitler had no actual opponent. Either the offices would be merged and Hitler would assume the new office, or the people would reject the merger, and that would have necessitated a new election for President. So while it was not truly a direct election, the people nevertheless gave Adolf Hitler a sound vote of confidence only a short time after the Night of the Long Knives.
Originally a journalist, Walloon Belgian Leon Degrelle was also a soldier and politician, and the founder and leader of the Rexist Party in Belgium. Joining the Waffen SS after the start of the war, he worked his way up the ranks to Standartenführer, roughly equivalent to an American colonel. After the war, he made his way to Spain, from where he wrote about his experiences at great length until his death in 1994. Degrelle is called by the title of General, however that is apparently disputed. It is said that he was promoted by Himmler on May 2nd, 1945, but the promotion apparently did not occur until after Himmler was removed from the authority to make such a promotion by Hitler on April 28th. However Hitler died on April 30th, so whether Himmler had the authority or not on May 2nd may be uncertain, and further research is required for us to make a determination. But we probably will not conduct such research to resolve such an insignificant problem.
We had initially thought to present only Degrelle’s article on the Night of the Long Knives, but quickly realized that we could not start there, and that we had to go back to an earlier article titled The Civil War Within The German National Socialist Party. This article was published in The Barnes Review for the issue of November-December, 2001. Following this, we will present three other shorter articles which focus on Ernst Röhm, and then the article describing the purge itself. Together these articles formulate a narrative which is crucial in understanding the purge, and why it was considered a necessity.
We receive frequent inquires concerning this event, which is why we are treating it here. We are not going to pass moral judgment on the purge, but rather we only seek to offer an honest and informative historical view of the event from the perspective of one expert witness, Leon Degrelle, a man who personally knew many of the individuals involved with the purge, and who had intimate knowledge of the political maneuvering ongoing behind the scenes. Politics is a worldly business, so to make moral judgments of political actions is often to join in politics by taking a political position. To put any man to death without the opportunity for a proper Biblical trial, and for charges other than capital offenses under the laws of our God, is of course wrong, but when men become involved in worldly politics they can only expect an ungodly result.
Degrelle opens this first article with a quotation at the heading of the chapter from one Hans Bernd Gisevius, who was a German diplomat and intelligence officer and a member of the inner circle of the Abwehr commander Wilhelm Canaris, who himself was a traitor and opponent of Hitler. Gisevius fled Germany for Switzerland after the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler at the Wolf's Lair in 1944, and he later testified at Nuremberg after the war. He was yet another author of the near-typical post-war anti-Nazi biography, his being titled To the Bitter End and published in 1946. He lived until 1974, where he died in Baden-Württemberg.
In spite of his background, Degrelle cites Gisevius several times here, and therefore must consider him reliable, at least in these aspects. So opening his article, Degrelle quotes Gisevius as saying that “In just a few years Adolf Hitler has brought forth out of nowhere one of the most powerful organizations in the world. Victorious and eager for action, it now stands behind him, impelled by an irresistible dynamism.” This quote is attributed to Gisevius, but under the English title “To the Very Dregs”, (from volume I page 112), which is not the name of his biography. So we are uncertain whether this was another work written by Gisevius, a section of his biography, or even some other compilation. However Degrelle continues to cite Gisevius as he begins his article.
With this we shall present:
The Civil War Within The German National Socialist Party, by Gen. Leon Degrelle.
By the beginning of 1933, the millions of members of the SA were coming almost as often from the left as from the old right-wing organizations that were better regarded by the army chiefs. Gisevius continues:
The SA membership, whose numbers have greatly increased in the past few months, is made up at least a third of former members of the parties of the left. It is known with certainty that in the months of June and July of 1933 there were assault detachments formed almost entirely of communists. They were popularly known as beefsteak detachments," brown on the outside and red on the inside. (Ibid. 115.)
Before victory, these SA men bursting with optimism and courage were absolutely indispensable. Several times a week they were called on to maintain order at meetings. As the strong arm of the party's propaganda, they gave a sound drubbing to opponents in the audience who got too obstreperous [noisy and hard to control]. They had been recruited from among the ardently patriotic youth of the nation. Also, in very large numbers, from the ranks of the unemployed. And likewise, in some instances, authentic no-goods were recruited.
The disenchanted and disenfranchised are always among the first to join any new revolutionary movement, and National Socialism certainly did represent a revolution in Germany. These were ostensibly good people who were only downtrodden and oppressed by the Jewish Weimar Republic. But as we also should be aware, authentic cretins often attach themselves to revolutionary movements at the earliest opportunity. Continuing with Degrelle:
Some over-ambitious go-getters had the appetites of ogres. [These the media now frequently set up as opposition ‘leaders’.] As for the good-for-nothings, they meant to force their way into the middle class with clubs. Some leaders driven by ambition had been interested only in swelling the number of their contingents, since their own importance was thus automatically also increased, and brought hasty promotion to colonel or even general.
Their swift rise understandably scandalized the colonels and generals of the Reichswehr who had undergone half a century of toil in the old army.
Once the revolution had come to power, what indeed was Hitler going to do with these millions of idealists – including the reckless undesirables – when he already had six million unemployed workers on his hands?… Over and over again he had protested against the excessive increase in the number of SA members. But the SA leaders had turned a deaf ear to his orders because they were too interested personally in holding on to the additional members. In short, here camped out on the fringes of the constitutional government under Hitler's control were 3 million semi-soldiers, some of them unassuming, devoted and disciplined, others brawlers or fanatics who were little inclined to return to dull legality.
Hitler had needed them. He felt great affection for them because many of them were old and valiant companions. He often forgave them their escapades. From time to time he would say in their justification: “The SA is not a school for young ladies.” But he began to get annoyed when he heard disturbing tales of the unpleasant things some of them were doing.
The chief of these 3 million latter-day lansquenets (mercenary foot soldiers) was a former captain named Ernst Röhm. Had he created Hitler, as some have said? Hitler was a member of the DAP [German Workers Party] in 1919, before he had ever met Röhm. The latter was a heroic, badly disabled war veteran, very much the swashbuckler, who couldn't find his place in a defeated Germany. He drank hard and often. After November of 1919 he had continued his army service as the officer in charge in Munich of a military intelligence section. As an officer attached to the Second Infantry Brigade, he had secret funds at his disposal which he doled out to various rightist movements.
This role did not satisfy his dynamic nature. He progressed from nationalist organizations that were too peaceable to more turbulent nationalist movements. He organized secret stores of rifles, machine guns and munitions, and had even salvaged a few old cannons. Thus it was that Hitler had become acquainted with Röhm in the course of the year 1919, and he had then induced him to enroll in the DAP as number 623.
Rohm was hearty and communicative. A familiar camaraderie was established between Hitler and himself. They used the familiar du with one another, but it had gone no further than that. Hitler had genius and had no need of Röhm to inspire him. If all Röhm had needed was for a man of his choosing to become a brilliant leader, he could have thought up 50 of them better able to achieve success in the immediate future (Gen. Ludendorff, for example) than the unknown and virtual ragamuffin that Hitler was in 1919.
So Degrelle’s argument that Röhm did not “create” Hitler is logical. As he continues, it becomes convincing:
It was thanks to his exceptional personality – and not because Röhm had manufactured a marionette – that Hitler, on July 21, 1921, had become the unquestioned master of the NSDAP [National Socialist German Worker's Party], successor to the original DAP, by 553 out of 554 votes. Röhm's vote had been just one among 553 votes. And then there was Hitler's eloquence: without that, there would never have been a National Socialist Germany. That was not a gift made by Röhm to the young “Führer” either.
Röhm was nonetheless a useful collaborator. Well known in Munich military circles, he was particularly fitted for resolving difficulties when the authorities tried to pick a quarrel with the first National Socialists, and he had been effective.
When the Marxists had used violence in an attempt to terrorize the meetings of Hitler's party, it was Hitler, not Röhm, who had formed the first group of battlers – 80 of them in all – that he himself led to the attack when the Reds broke into his meetings. And it was Göring, the famous commander of the Richthofen squadron – wearing the insignia of the Order of Merit round his neck, and far more celebrated than Röhm – who had received from Hitler the command of that first Sturmabteilung and the mission to step up its recruitment.
Goring being busy with 10 other missions, Röhm had succeeded him. He was a valorous group leader. He kept his men firmly in hand, was endowed with an instinct for combat, and he was at the same time a capable organizer. On the night of the Munich putsch in November of 1923, he had seized the premises of the Military Command, and he held out there for some hours after the putsch had failed.
While Hitler was spending 12 months in prison in 1924, Röhm's career had taken wings, benefiting, as in Ludendorff's case, from the wave of popularity brought about by the putsch and then by the sensation of Adolf Hitler's trial. [So it is evident that Hitler “created” Röhm.]
Röhm had been elected a National Socialist deputy, and for a time he played a lone hand. He had delayed for several weeks before throwing in his lot with Hitler again after the latter had been set free. He had not even attended the reunion meeting. The success Hitler had met with there and the growing strength of the renewed NSDAP brought Röhm back into the fold. But an important difference was quickly going to arise between Hitler and Röhm, involving two radically different conceptions of the aims assigned to the combat formations of the party. Röhm wanted to turn the SA into a military organization that would be virtually independent of the National Socialist movement.
For Hitler, on the other hand, the SA was to have the sole mission of enforcing National Socialism's rights in meeting-halls and in the streets. [So we see that things like we witnessed in Charlottesville this summer are only a repeat of what happened a century ago in Weimar Germany, but we have known that for a long time now.] In 1925, this conflict, which had been latent for a long time, came to a head. Hitler dismissed Röhm, who withdrew without any scandal, and faithful but disconsolate, he left Europe and went off to become a lieutenant colonel in Bolivia, where he would remain for five years. The SA in the meantime had grown considerably larger without Röhm. In August of 1927, 20,000 of its members had marched in parade at the NSDAP Third Congress. Year by year it continued to expand and become more strongly structured. On September 14, 1930, Hitler's first great electoral victory had burst like a bomb: 107 deputies. The SA was prominently to be seen everywhere in the streets and was vigorously opening the way to the future.
Unable to direct everything himself, Hitler remembered Röhm, told himself that he must have calmed down in La Paz, and that perhaps he could recall him from his faraway Bolivia now that millions of Germans followed him, Hitler, personally. On October 1, 1930, Hitler summoned him. In La Paz, Röhm, his mind still vibrant with the Munich saga, immediately cast aside his stars and promotions. He had scarcely arrived in Munich when Hitler, who was also much moved by his return, named Röhm chief of staff of the SA, as well as of its privileged contingent, the SS, an elite corps created to form a defensive square around the Führer wherever he went.
In the bitterness of the great struggle from January 1931 to January 1933, the problem of the SA, whether political shock troops or future new army, had become blurred. It was not discussed. They were fighting. All the same, Hitler had never concealed from Röhm that he intended to maintain his basic position. In his eyes, the Reichswehr was the only army; the SA was the physical and political support of the movement. Inwardly, Röhm had not changed his opinion either. He had nothing but insults for the heads of the Reichswehr, even though they were the only ones at the time with the technical training without which no army is effective. Hitler was completely aware of that need. Gisevius writes:
Hitler wished to make the SA into the legal troops of the party as it were.… It was necessary to meet terror with terror, first in the meetings, then in the streets when necessary. But that wasn't enough for officer Röhm. Since 1918 his one dream had been the new national army. No amount of success seemed fast enough for him. No increase in the manpower of the SA seemed to him sufficient. (H.B. Gisevius, op. cit., vol I, 121 ff.)
Röhm had his plan: “In the first momentum of the seizure of power, the sooner he forced his way through the impenetrable thicket of juridical prescriptions and the obligations of foreign policy, the sooner his army of the revolution would become the national army of the future.” (Ibid.) Despite everything, Hitler treated Röhm considerately.
Hitler’s treatment of Röhm is characteristic of the leniency and allowance for innovation he afforded to all of his general staff throughout the war. This aspect of Hitler’s method of leadership was in the end, perhaps, the one which most precipitated his defeat. Of course, there are spiritual issues which transcend this worldly assessment, which we may discuss at a later time. Continuing with Degrelle, who continues to cite Gisevius:
Gisevius once again explains: “Hitler must take precautions on every side. He is still only the chancellor of a coalition government. He still has to consider decisions of the Council of Ministers, diplomatic protests, and even at times open resistance. Moreover the old marshal is always there." (Ibid.) [The reference, of course, is to von Hindenburg. Degrelle continues:]
Röhm paid no heed to such considerations. If he accepted for the moment the commanders of the old army, he considered them old fogies: mummified skeletons with no social comprehension and an absolute lack of feeling for the common people. For them, a soldier was an instrument that took orders, and that was all. In their view, he was in essence an inferior being. When someone like Gen. Reichenau, a convert to National Socialism, allowed himself to talk to a soldier in a friendly way after drill, or when he took part in competitive sports with the men – where the best man wins, not the one with the most dazzling gold braid – it shocked his fellow officers, who treated him as a demagogue.
The people's army that Röhm wanted to give Germany was a nation in arms, as in the time of the French Revolution. Moreover, he often whistled the Marseillaise, alluded to Carnot, and would have liked to give the SA the spirit of the sansculottes.
So Röhm was apparently a Marxist, or at least something close. Marie François Sadi Carnot, president of France until his assassination in 1894, was said to be a moderate politician. The Jewish looting of the treasury in the Panama Canal scandals occurred during his administration. Continuing with Degrelle:
He went too far. He evoked the Red Army. Driven as he was by an essentially revolutionary spirit, he would have liked to create a German Red Army; for as he himself said, he was more socialist than nationalist. He still agreed to tolerate maintenance of the army for the time being, on condition that it be taken over without delay. In truth, he would have much preferred to create his Red Army from scratch, thus making a clean break with a past of landed squires, which seemed to him terribly old-fashioned. He also blamed the army – and, he was not entirely wrong – for not having understood the imperatives of modern warfare during World War I, and in particular for rejecting the massive use of tanks. The blindness of the German general staff on that subject had unquestionably been one of the decisive factors in the defeat of the German Empire.
Since then those generals, like their French counterparts, had grown still more set on outmoded techniques, taking no interest in plans aimed at the formation of large armored units, nor in the creation of an air force designed for massive military actions. Röhm's diatribe was valid per se and would remain so right up to the end of World War II. In 1939, many of those generals enmeshed in the past would still deny the tactical possibilities of armored divisions and take no more than a passing interest in Göring's air fleet.
Yet how would Röhm have been able to modernize a new army from top to bottom? A soldier of fortune who had never received the training that might have fitted him for the job? Who didn't have the genius to invent it and was ignorant even of the possibilities of a war industry? Hitler would prove to be the one man capable of inventing a theory of modern warfare from start to finish, one centered around the tactical collaboration of large and powerful air and armored ground forces. He would have the iron will to impose that strategic revolution. He would create the tank divisions and the thousands of aircraft. He would have the flair for discovering the imaginative young officers like Guderian and Rommel who would apply his doctrine.
Some years ago we made a series of presentations discussing Operation Barbarossa, in which we gave much credit to Adolf Hitler’s military genius, and blamed his defeat on the Eastern Front to the stubbornness and insubordination of his generals, which was compounded by Hitler’s willingness to give those generals a great amount of leeway in and even independence from following his orders. They may have been successful if only they had followed Hitler’s original plan of action. We stand by those assessments today, and our understanding of Leon Degrelle’s experience is one source from which we drew those conclusions. Here we see that Degrelle certainly did have confidence in Hitler’s strategic military ability. Continuing with Degrelle, after he summarized Röhm’s lack of technical military training and knowledge:
Hitler knew as well as Röhm that such a military revolution was indispensable, but, aware of the obstacles, he didn't want to rush things. He believed there was some possibility that the experienced commanders of the Reichswehr would understand. He was mistaken about a number of them. Bound up in their prejudices, and behind the times, they would not only completely fail to understand the new doctrine but would sabotage it. In order to succeed in transforming the military machine in spite of the obstacles and lack of comprehension, Hitler counted on a transfusion of new blood into the army, thanks to the National Socialist youth, that would change minds and create thousands of officers who understood and who would impart a true social cohesion to an army become part of the greater German community. Alas, the time given him – the six years from 1933 to 1939 – would not be quite enough.
Hitler, even before 1933, had the long considered prudence of a responsible future head of state. Röhm, on the other hand, was impetuosity personified and too violent in his talk when he had been drinking, which was often the case. An army of the people? Both of them wanted it, Hitler just as much as Röhm. But how to create it?
On that their plans differed totally. Sooner or later they were bound to clash. Röhm proclaimed, "I am the Scharnhorst of the new army. The stock itself must be revolutionary. It is impossible to graft onto dead wood." The problem was much more complex than that.
The Scharnhorst reference must be to the early 19th century Prussian military reformer and General Gerhard von Scharnhorst. There were also at least two German battleships which bore the name, one launched in 1907 was sunk in 1914, the other launched in 1936 was sunk in 1943. Degrelle continues in conclusion:
Hitler saw far beyond Röhm's mugs of beer. The army he was thinking of would require something other than match sticks on a cafe table to be invincible. In addition to the willingness, the strength and the faith of the people, there would have to be cadres and brains, plans and a strategy. The army and the SA were not to be in opposition to each other but to form a double team. The problem to be solved lay there, not in a crazy duel. The collision between Röhm and Hitler was inevitable.
This ends our first article, The Civil War Within The German National Socialist Party, by Leon Degrelle. The next segment of Degrelle’s series of articles in the development of his description of the Night of the Long Knives was titled Röhm Continues to Push, and it was published in The Barnes Review issue of January-February, 2002. It is prefaced with the words:
Unsatisfied with the Junker-dominated Reichswehr (as the German army was called at the end of World War I), both Adolf Hitler and Ernst Röhm wanted Germany to have a “popular army,” wherein all the commanders would be holders of the faith (i.e., National Socialists), and in which every man would be a warrior for a doctrine. That goal would be realized, after years of caution, in the Waffen SS. However, this common goal did nothing to prevent the two German leaders from eventually suffering a fatal collision. Röhm, according to Leon Degrelle, was really the one who provoked that drastic turn of events.
Junker in modern Prussia was a term for the landed nobility, to which we have seen that Röhm had stood in opposition. Now we shall present Degrelle’s second article:
Röhm Continues to Push, by Leon Degrelle.
Hitler would be able to build a true “popular army” only on a very small scale at first, because the Reichswehr, terribly jealous of its monopoly, would set up many obstacles to its recruitment until 1941. In contrast to the recruitment of the throngs of the SA that Röhm, the adventurous latter-day condottiere [or leader of a troop of mercenaries], had swept in after him much too fast and without sufficient control, recruitment to the Waffen SS would be physically, politically and morally the result of a long and rigid selection process. It would be formed of the best built, the most convinced and the most disciplined young men of the Reich, of those with the strongest character, who had a crusader's faith in National Socialism, in Hitler, their leader, in the mission of Teutonism and, after 1940, of the Europe of the 20 comrade peoples who would be found in its ranks. The schools of the Waffen SS for training and for the forming of their cadres would be of a Spartan severity. Discipline was the first of its laws. A Trappist monk did not live more soberly. An officer candidate would sometimes lose a dozen kilograms [over 26 pounds] during his 10 months of instruction.
Thus in 10 years a million young volunteers would be trained in a Spartan manner: volunteers at first from Germany and then from the whole of Europe, all fanatic believers in a revolutionary faith and all builders, as comrades in arms, of a continent that was at last to be one politically, socially, economically, spiritually. Never before had anyone ever seen – nor, beyond doubt, will anyone ever again see – a European army of a million young volunteers inspired by such an ideal, or representing such physical and moral worth.
But that Waffen SS would be the materialization of long years of progressive toil, passing from a battalion to a regiment, then to three divisions not very well armed, then to divisions quite formidably equipped, then to army corps and to armies. Time would permit – as under Napoleon – the selection one by one, for their bravery and for their competence, of thousands of young officers of the very first order. A good many of them for all that were ex-servicemen from 1918, become young again among the young, like the unforgettable Zepp Dietrich, commander-in-chief of the Sixth SS Armored Army; like Gen. Gilles, commander of the glorious Viking; like Félix Steiner, commanding general of the Fourth Armored Corps; or like the grandfather of the Waffen SS, whom everyone affectionately called Papa Hauser.
But the majority, who had come up from the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth), or from similar organizations all over Europe, were magnificent young men, like Kurt Meyer, the legendary “Panzermeyer,” commander at the age of 34 years of the 18,000 young lads of the Waffen SS Division Hitlerjugend; or like the dazzling Lohengrin, Joaquin Peiper, commander of a tank regiment in the same division at the age of 29.
Lohengrin was a character in Medieval German Arthurian literature, a knight of the Holy Grail. Back to Degrelle, who obviously has a strong emotional connection to his former and beloved SS comrades:
All of them without distinction had to submit preliminarily to the same iron discipline, and to the same ideological education, earning each of their promotions by their courage in combat and by their decisiveness. I myself, commander at the age of 37 of the Waffen SS division Wallonia, then of the Army Corps Occident, had been a simple soldier on the Russian front for eight months, then corporal, then noncommissioned officer, then second lieutenant, and so on, earning each new rank “for an act of valor in combat." That was the hard and fast rule in the Waffen SS.
You went to the Tölz War School only after you had first given repeated proofs of your gift for command in becoming a noncom at the front, and had displayed bravery there by earning the Iron Cross. It was comrades with the souls of leaders and heroes that were placed at the head of the troops and not just those good at schoolwork, who were the usual ones at the old military academies of the past. The soldiers of the Waffen SS also had to be morally men of a high standard. 402,000 of them died in combat. They were the first everywhere, always at the hardest positions. The least fault, in the Waffen SS, was stringently punished. Stealing a knife would get you five months in prison. A Waffen SS man had to be clean and healthy. A revealed homosexual was shot before the entire troop.
Forming an army like that suddenly was not possible. The human material available to Röhm was good for street fighting and for propaganda. But it was worthless for forming a coherent army rapidly and completely, an army modern and exemplary in every way and commanded by leaders of irreproachable moral fiber.
Röhm himself was a pack leader. Incapable of carrying out an arduous mission requiring creativity, at the first test on the border, by some ill-considered and tumultuous action, he would have turned the old Reichswehr into a chaotic army heading ineluctably [unavoidably] for disaster. Hitler was farseeing, and he would one day have his “Red Army” thanks to the Waffen SS. But that would come only after years of cleverly sidestepping a thousand traps without falling into one.
Röhm, the mercenary, was too much in a hurry. He was becoming annoyed at the cleverness of the statesman. In 1933 and 1934 his irritation would become progressively more and more fraught with menace. Their differences grew still more serious from the fact that in the socioeconomic sphere, too, Röhm was totally reckless, a revolutionary with an unstable brain.
And there, too, Hitler would be a realist. He had understood perfectly that a synthesis of the economic interests of the Reich could be accomplished only by respecting all the various components of the nation. Capitalism was one of them. Röhm wanted to crush it. Hitler did not. He intended to base his revolution not on a vast social uproar by disorderly masses, but on elites: political elites, social elites, cultural elites, and the elites that constantly renew the industrial world when it is free.
Hitler actually believed in a society based on merit, either of intellect or of labor, which is Christian, and not in a society based on welfare or economic egalitarianism, which is Marxist. Hitler also had a respect for property rights, which is also Christian. This is expressed in various ways throughout Mein Kampf, and Hitler never changed from the general philosophy which he expressed in that book. Adolf Hitler was the antithesis to Marxism in his time. Continuing with Degrelle:
A business leader is the product of a long selection. The rich man's son, if he is intellectually limited, will be a failure in the modern world. Industrialists and economists who can control the development of markets, rationalize production, coordinate their management and labor teams, and open new paths for the production of goods are also elite human beings, their minds always alert, aware of the risks they run but possessing the force of character necessary to surmount them.
Hitler was bent on giving these very different elites a reasoned and sincere social spirit and leading them to an effective conception of society based on a hierarchy of merit. But he had no foolish wish to set off charges of dynamite under employers of labor and creators of wealth who were as much a part of the working world as a bricklayer or a welder. Persecuting the creators of employment, crushing them under an unjust and irrational state control, economically torpedoing their labors – that would weaken the Reich rather than cure it.
These things were indeed done by the Bolsheviks, and the only way the Bolsheviks managed to keep their regime afloat was through collusion with the West. Here we must also note, that Degrelle shows an intimate understanding of the precepts which Hitler explains in Mein Kampf. To continue:
It would also make it impossible to eliminate unemployment. It would end all possibility of strengthening and restoring the Reichswehr, which was still, in 1934, the sole bulwark of the nation. There was no other solution for the moment but to maintain that bulwark, the Reichswehr, however imperfect, however full of preconceived notions, however little prepared mentally to transform itself strategically and technically, if only so that it might be joined, after years of difficult preparation, to an ideological army more dynamic and more reliable, the Waffen SS, the true “Grand Army” of Hitlerism.
There would be evolution, not a blind smashing of everything. Hitler had hardly become chancellor when he declared: “I am resolved to suppress severely any endeavor which would tend to disturb the present order. I shall oppose a second revolutionary wave with all my might, because that would end in veritable chaos. Whosoever shall rise up against the authority of the state will be arrested without regard to his rank or his position in the Party.” (Benoist-Méchin, vol. III, 171.) [It seems that the citation is from the multi-volume French-language History of the German Army by Jacques Benoist-Méchin. Degrelle continues and says:]
Revolution by violence was thus a closed chapter. “Revolution,” Hitler had said, “is not a permanent state, and it must not become a permanent state.” “We have the task of attaining one position after another and little by little occupying each position in an exemplary fashion.”
And again: “The victorious German revolution has entered the evolutionary stage, that is to say, the work of normal and legal reconstruction.” He was fundamentally a pragmatist.
Others, like Röhm, bent upon reaching for the moon, were not. Hitler tried once more to warn them: “From now on any action that is not in harmony with the laws of the State will be suppressed severely and without mercy, for the National Socialist state cannot tolerate any private intervention in its sovereign domain, particularly in its public jurisdiction.” (Brissaud, 159.) [The citation seems to be from the French-language book Hitler and his time, by André Brissaud and published in 1975.]
Röhm had bluntly taken a stand in direct opposition to the affirmations of his leader: “We are not a bourgeois club but an association of resolute political combatants. The revolutionary line will be maintained. I want to lead revolutionaries, not men who are pleasing to the shopkeepers.”
So we see that Röhm was making public statements in direct defiance to Hitler, who was the leader of the Party and the elected second-in-command of the Nation at this time.
Hitler was determined to be very patient in this instance as well. He had always been patient. Röhm was a comrade of the early days. His SA men for years had sacrificed themselves in his behalf. Despite their excesses, he could not deny them his gratitude. Röhm's social threats did not disturb him. There wasn't much he [Röhm] could do in that area.
It was Hitler who was establishing relations with the industrial leaders. On the military plane, however, it was a different story. A conflict between the Reichswehr and the SA could be catastrophic for Germany. And it was that conflict that Röhm was seeking with his series of provocations.
By Leon Degrelle’s estimation, we can conclude that Hitler and Röhm certainly had irreconcilable differences in spite of their common cause. Hitler was a Christian, and Röhm was a Marxist. Hitler understood excellence through merit, and Röhm wanted to strip the middle class of its wealth – the good along with the wicked – in the same fashion which the Bolsheviks had employed in Russia. Here it should be evident, that Adolf Hitler and Ernst Röhm were indeed on a collision course, and if Germany was to be rebuilt in the manner in which Hitler envisioned, then Röhm had to be removed. But Hitler created a monster in Röhm, and without the threat of a Civil War that would certainly result in the destruction of the beloved SA, there would only be one way left to resolve the conflict.
Yahweh willing, we will soon return to the second half of this chapter, from an article titled The Röhm Crisis Worsens, and the balance of Leon Degrelle’s prelude to the Night of the Long Knives.