As Hitler's fascist party was beginning to earn some respect from the upper class society of Germany, he decided that he would have to control his rabble rousers, who were too eager to take control of the country.
The leader of this militant group of Storm Troopers (SA) was Walter Stennes, who had already caused trouble from within. It was important to Adolf to control this man and his followers, or he might find them removing him as leader.
The final confrontation occurred in April of 1931, when President Paul von Hindenburg's toughened laws to reduce violence, and Hitler agreed to the new measures:
They were dealt with soundly. Stennes was dismissed and Hitler named himself head of the SA. His actions were viewed favourably by many and helped to convince them that he had the ability to rein in his extremists and assume the position of a moderate leader.
Abruptly last week he [Hitler] ordered the Gang to make no resistance of any kind to President Paul von Hindenburg's decree suppressing freedom of assembly, Freedom of the press and free speech. When this order, telegraphed from Weimar, reached Storm Captain Walter Stennes in Berlin he passionately told his men: "This Hitler is a dishrag!" *
Not long after, "Silver Tongued" Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbles, Hitler's political representative in Berlin, communicated to Storm Captain Stennes an order to dissolve his Praetorian Guard. Furious, the Captain remonstrated to Weimar, received this reply:
YOURS NOT TO REASON WHY. YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN A COMMAND. CARRY OUT ORDERS. THEN COME TO WEIMAR. ADOLF HITLER
Instead of obeying, Storm Captain Stennes and his "brown shirts" seized the only Hitler newsorgan in Berlin, Der Angriff, filled an entire edition with abuse of the owner, sent it out headlined TRAITOR HITLER! (1)
Chapter Nineteen Continued: Leo and Carl
* Between June 30 and July 2, 1934, the Nazi Regime purged many members of the SA, an event that became known as the Night of the Long Knives. Hitler was concerned that the penchant by some for street violence was a direct threat to his power. Hundreds were killed and more than a thousand arrested.
1. Traitor Hitler! Time Magazine, April 13, 1931