The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/nca/nca-02//nca-02-15-criminality-04-01

Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-15-criminality-04-01
Last-Modified: 1996/12/28

     Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Vol. II, Chapter 15

                                                  [Page 133]
                 4. THE STURMABTEILUNG (SA)

The Sturmabteilung, or SA, is the organization which the
world remembers as the "Brown Shirts" or Storm Troops -- the
gangsters of the early days of Nazi terrorism. Since it was
first of the organizations created by the Nazis as instru-

                                                  [Page 134]
ments to effectuate their illegal objectives, the SA
occupied a place of peculiar importance in the scheme of the
conspirators. Unlike some of the other organizations, the
functions of the SA were not fixed or static. The SA was an
agency adapted to many designs and purposes, and its role in
the conspiracy changed from time to time various phases
toward the final objective abrogation of the Versailles
Treaty and acquisition of the territory of other peoples and
nations. If the conspiracy is likened to a pattern, with its
various parts fitting together like the pieces of a jig-saw
puzzle, the piece representing the SA would be found to
constitute the essential link in the pattern.

The SA participated in the conspiracy as a distinct and
separate unit, having a legal character of its own. An
ordinance passed in March, 1935, provided that the SA and
certain other agencies were thereafter to be considered
"components" of the Nazi Party (1725-PS). This
Ordinance further provided, in Article 5, that:

     "***The affiliated organizations can possess their own
     legal character." (1725-PS)

Similarly, the 1943 Organization Book of the Nazi Party
which characterizes the SA as an "entity," declares:

     "The Fuehrer prescribes the law of conduct,' he
     commands its use. The Chief of Staff represents the SA
     as a complete entity on the mandate of the Fuehrer."

While the SA was composed of many individual members, they
acted as a unit. They were closely bound together by many
common factors, including uniform membership standards and
disciplinary regulations; a common and distinctive uniform;
common aims and objectives; common activities, duties, and
responsibilities; and a fanatical adherence to the
ideologies conceived by the Nazis. Although membership in
the SA was voluntary, the SA man was expected to withdraw if

     "he can no longer agree with SA views or if he is not
     in a position to fulfill completely the duties imposed
     upon him as a member of the SA." (2354-PS)

The SA man was well schooled in the philosophies and
activities which he was required to adopt in his daily life.
Uniformity of action and thought in such matters was in part
obtained by the publication and distribution of a weekly
periodical entitled "Der SA-Mann." This publication was
principally devoted to fostering various aspects of Nazi
ideology. In addition, "Der SA-Mann" reported upon the
activities of the SA and its constituent groups.

The SA developed from scattered bands of street ruffians

                                                  [Page 135]
cohesive unit organized on a military basis, with military
training and military functions, and with an aggressive
spirit and philosophy The organization extended throughout
the entire Reich and was organized vertically into local
subdivisions. Horizontally, there were special units
including military, cavalry, communications engineer, and
medical units. These various groups and branches were
coordinated by the SA Headquarters and operational offices,
located in Munich.

A. The Relationship Between The SA and The Nazi Party.

The affiliation between the SA and the Nazi leaders was
closely maintained, for the purpose of enabling the
conspirators to employ the SA for any activity necessary in
effectuating the objectives of the conspiracy. The SA was
conceived and created by Hitler, in 1921, at the very
inception of the conspiracy. Hitler retained the direction
of the SA throughout the conspiracy, delegating
responsibility for its leadership to a Chief of Staff.
Goering was an early leader of the SA, and maintained close
connection with it throughout the conspiracy. Hess
participated in many of the early battles of the SA and was
leader of an SA group in Munich. Frank, Streicher, von
Schirach, and Sauckel each held the position of
Obergruppenfuehrer in the SA, a position corresponding to
the rank of Lieutenant General; and Bormann was a member of
the Staff of the SA High Command.

The close relationship between the SA and leaders of the
Nazi Party is demonstrated by the fact that the
Hoheitstraeger (Bearers of Sovereignty) of the Nazi
Leadership Corps were authorized to call upon the SA for
assistance in carrying out particular phases of the Party
program. For example, at page 71 of the Organization Book of
the Nazi Party (1943 edition) the following statement is
made (1893-PS):

     "The Hoheitstraeger is responsible for the entire
     political appearance of the Movement within this zone.
     The SA leader of that zone is tied to the directives of
     the Hoheitstraeger in that respect.
     "The Hoheitstraeger is the ranking representative of
     the Party to include all organizations within his zone.
     He may requisition the SA located within his zone for
     the respective SA leader if they are needed for the
     execution of a political mission. The Hoheitstraeger
     will then assign the mission to the SA ***.
     "Should the Hoheitstraeger need more SA for the
     execution of political mission than is locally
     available, he then applies to
                                                  [Page 136]
     the next higher office of sovereignty which, in turn,
     requests the SA from the SA office in his sector."

This close relationship is further shown by an ordinance for
the execution of a Hitler decree (2383-PS):

     "The leader of affiliated organizations, as well as the
     leaders of the party women's organization, are
     subordinate to the sovereign bearer (Hoheitstraeger)
     politically, functionally, disciplinarily, and
     "The formations of the NSDAP, with exception of the SS,
     for whom special provisions apply, are subordinated to
     the sovereign bearer (Hoheitstraeger) politically and
     in respect to commitment. Responsibility for the
     leadership of the units rests in the hands of the unit
     leader." (2383-PS)

It was in compliance with the authority of the Leadership
Corps that the SA was used in the seizure of trade union

In addition, the SA demonstrated its close affiliation to
the Nazi Party by participating in various ways in election
proceedings. A pamphlet entitled "The SA," depicting the
history and general activities of the SA, written by an SA
Sturmfuehrer upon orders from SA Headquarters, declares that
the SA stood

     "at the foremost front of election fights." (2168-PS)

Further evidence of the close relationship between the SA
and Nazi leaders is found in the distribution list of the
confidential publication of the Nazi Leadership Corps, which
show that this strictly confidential magazine was
distributed to Lieutenant-Generals and Major-Generals of the
SA. (2660-PS)

The interest and participation of Nazi leaders in the
activities of the SA is clearly shown in the issues of "Der
SA-Mann" for the period from 1934 to March 1939 (3050-A-E-
PS). Throughout these volumes there appear photographs of
Nazi leaders participating in SA activities. The following
are descriptions of a few of these photographs, together
with the page numbers upon which they appear:

     Photograph of Himmler, Huhnlein (Fuehrer of NSKK) and
     Lutze, bearing caption: "They lead the soldiers of
     National Socialism," 15 June 1935, p. 1.
     Photograph of Hitler at SA Ceremony, carrying SA Battle
     Flag. The picture bears the caption: "As in the
     fighting years the Fuehrer, on Party Day of Freedom,
     dedicates the new regiments with the Blood Banner," 21
     September 1935, p. 4.
     Photograph of Lutze and Hitler, 19 September 1936, p.
                                                  [Page 137]
     Photograph of Hitler and SA officers, 1 January 1938,
     p. 3.
     Photograph of Streicher with SA men, and reviewing SA
     Troops, 25 November 1938, p. 1.
     Photograph of Goering in SA uniform reviewing SA
     marching troops under the caption: "Honor Day of the
     SA," 21 September 1935, p. 3.
     Photographs of Goering, Hess, and Hitler in SA uniform
     at the ceremonies dedicated to SA men killed in the
     Munich Putsch, 16 November 1935, p. 3.
     Photograph of Goering marching in SA uniform, 19
     September 1936, p. 3.
     Photographs of Goering at ceremonies held upon occasion
     of his being made Obergruppenfuehrer of the
     Feldherrnhalle Regiment of the SA, 23 January 1937, p.
     Photograph of Goering leading Feldherrnhalle Regiment
     of SA in parade, 18 September 1937, p. 3.

The work of the SA did not end with the seizure of the
German government by the Nazis, but affiliation between the
SA and Nazi leaders continued thereafter. The importance of
the SA in connection with the Nazi Government and control of
Germany is shown by the law of 1 December 1933 entitled,
"The Law on Securing the Unity of Party and State" (1395-

     "*** The Deputy of the Fuehrer and the Chief of Staff
     of SA become members of the Reich Government in order
     to insure close cooperation of the offices of the Party
     and SA with the public authorities."

Similarly, a decree promulgated by Hitler providing for
supervision of premilitary training by the SA declares:

     "The offices of the Party and State are to support the
     SA in this training program and to value the possession
     of the certificate for the SA military insignia." (2383-

The complete control of the SA by the Nazis at all times is
shown by the so-called "Roehm Purge" of June 1934 (see
2407). Roehm had been Chief of Staff of the SA for several
years, and was responsible for the development of SA into a
powerful organization. SA members were required to take a
personal oath of fidelity to Roehm. But when his policies
conflicted with those the Nazi leaders, he was removed,
murdered, and replaced by Victor Lutze. This drastic action
was accomplished without revolt or dissension in the ranks
of the SA, and with no change in objectives or program. The
SA remained "a reliable and strong part of the National
Socialist Movement *** full
                                                  [Page 138]
of obedience and blind discipline," whose function was to
"create and form the new German citizens." (2407-PS)

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.