THE WESTERN MAIL &
SOUTH WALES NEWS, July 2nd 1934
BEHIND THE DRAMA OF GERMANY
By GARETH JONES
intricacies of German politics and Hitler’s ruthless revenge against revolters
are to most people a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.
are these Storm Troopers who rise against their leader? What is the
Reichswehr? Who is this General Schleicher who suddenly looms out of the
mists of the past to flit for one tragic moment across the stage and to returns
to an obscurity which will be eternal?
Storm Troopers are the three and a half million army of Hitler’s supporters
who were clothed in a brown uniform and were primarily political. They
were led by Capt. Roehm until Hitler entered Roehm’s house early on Saturday
morning and arrested the startled plotter. Roehm was a military adventurer
of low moral standard, but a brilliant organiser.
Storm Troopers (Brownshirts), known also as the “S.A.” men (not for their
“Sex Appeal,” but because S.A. stood for “Storm Department”) were
composed of the lower middle-class and unemployed supporters of Hitler.
there has been a wave of discontent among their ranks because the Socialist era
to which they had looked forward has seemed further away than ever, and because
the big capitalists, the financiers, the proprietors of the large stores, and
the aristocratic landowners are as firmly in the saddle as they were before
Hitler came. The Communistically inclined Brownshirts well deserved their
nickname of “Beefsteaks” (brown outside but red within).
the leaders of the Brownshirts were thousands of military swash-bucklers who
since the War had wandered in search of adventure, had crushed the workers in
1919, had marched upon Berlin in 1920 had volunteered to slaughter Poles in
1921, and had blown up bridges with bombs when the French marched into the
men, it appears, cast longing eyes at the Reichswehr, the regular army of
100,000 men, and, led by Roehm, longed to amalgamate the Brownshirts with that
magnificently trained body.
the Brownshirts could be absorbed into a great army, what jobs there would be
for these officers! What power there would be for Roehm! But Hitler
rejected their plan and took the advice of his War Minister.
worse blow for Roehm was to come, for Hitler was contemplating a reduction of
the Brownshirts, the cost of which was causing much nodding of heads at the
I lose my job? Will I lose my power?” Such are probably the
questions which Roehm and his Brownshirt leaders asked themselves.
fear that the Brownshirt Army would be thrown aside led Roehm to ally himself
with the other discontented element-namely, the left wing-and probably led him
to associate himself with General Schleicher.
Schleicher? This general was not the reactionary he is sometimes reputed
to have been. He was definitely a Left Wing man who during his
Chancellorship flirted with the trade unions, had a vision of a “socially
ruled” empire, and was preparing to deal a smashing blow at the big landowners
when he was cast out of power.
were probably the three ingredients in the plot which has failed-the baulked
ambitions of Storm Troop leaders, the bitter disillusion of the “National
Bolsheviks” and the Left Wing intrigue of the “Socialist General.”
plotters are dead. Roehm’s place has been taken by a man with whom I
lunched a year ago in the train between Berlin and Hanover
- Victor Lutze. I
have rarely met a man who impressed me so much by his ruthlessness, grim-ness,
lack of humour and fanaticism.
told me how he had started. Storm Troop in the Ruhr 10 years earlier and
how he had a religious faith the ultimate triumph of Hitler. He had a
profound contempt for anything intellectual, a characteristic which was also
obvious from the unacademic tone of his language and the naiveté of his
will certainly help Hitler in the effort to crush the opposition which will one
day again raise its head in Germany.