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                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office
                                                   [Page 79]
                           THE SA

Structure and Component Parts: The Prosecution has named Die
Sturmabteilungen der Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen
Arbeiterpartei (commonly known as the SA) as an organisation
which should be declared criminal. The SA was founded in
1921 for political purposes. It was organized on military
lines. Its members wore their own uniforms and had their own
discipline and regulations. After the Nazis had obtained
power the SA greatly increased in membership due to the
incorporation within it of certain veterans organisations.
In April 1933, the Stahlhelm, an organisation of 1.5 million
members, was transferred into the SA, with the exception of
its members over 45 years of age and some others, pursuant
to an agreement between their leader Seldte and Hitler.
Another veterans organisation, the so-called Kyffhauserbund,
was transferred in the same manner, together with a number
of rural riding organisations.

Until 1933, there is no question but that membership in the
SA was voluntary. After 1933 civil servants were under
certain political and economic pressure to join the SA.
Members of the Stahlhelm, the Kyffhauserbund, and the rural
riding associations were transferred into the SA without
their knowledge, but the Tribunal is not satisfied that the
members in general endeavored to protest against this
transfer or that there was any evidence, except in isolated
cases, of the consequences of refusal. The Tribunal
therefore finds that membership in the SA was generally

                                                   [Page 80]
By the end of 1933 the SA was composed of 4.5 million men.
As a result of changes made after 1934, in 1939 the SA
numbered 2 million men.

Activities: In the early days of the Nazi movement the storm
troopers of the SA acted as the "strong arm of the Party".
They took part in the beer hall feuds and were used for
street fighting in battles against political opponents. The
SA was also used to disseminate Nazi ideology and propaganda
and placed particular emphasis on anti-Semitic propaganda,
the doctrine of "Lebensraum", the revision of the Versailles
Treaty, and the return of Germany's colonies.

After the Nazi advent to power, and particularly after the
elections of 5th March, 1933, the SA played an important
role in establishing a Nazi reign of terror over Germany.
The SA was involved in outbreaks of violence against the
Jews and was used to arrest political opponents and to guard
concentration camps, where they subjected their prisoners to
brutal mistreatment.

On 30th June and 1st and 2nd July, 1934, a purge of SA
leaders occurred. The pretext which was given for this
purge, which involved the killing of Roehm, the Chief of
Staff of the SA, and many other SA leaders, was the
existence of a plot against Hitler. This purge resulted in a
great reduction in the influence and power of the SA. After
1934, it rapidly declined in political significance.

After 1934 the SA engaged in certain forms of military or
paramilitary training. The SA continued to engage in the
dissemination of Nazi propaganda. Isolated units of the SA
were even involved in the steps leading up to aggressive war
and in the commission of War crimes and Crimes against
humanity. SA units were among the first in the occupation of
Austria in March, 1938. The SA supplied many of the men and
a large part of the equipment which composed the Sudeten
Free Corps of Henlein, although it appears that the corps
was under the jurisdiction of SS during its operation in

After the occupation of Poland, the SA group Sudeten was
used for transporting prisoners of war. Units of the SA were
employed in the guarding of prisoners in Danzig, Posen,
Silesia, and the Baltic States.

Some SA units were used to blow up synagogues in the Jewish
pogrom of 10th and 11th of November, 1938. Groups of the SA
were concerned in the ill-treatment of Jews in the ghettos
of Vilna and Kaunas.


Until the purge beginning on 30th June, 1934, the SA was a
group composed in large part of ruffians and bullies who
participated in the Nazi outrages of that period. It has not
been shown, however, that these atrocities were part of a
specific plan to wage aggressive war, and the Tribunal
therefore cannot hold that these activities were criminal
under the Charter. After the purge, the SA was reduced to
the status of a group of unimportant Nazi hangers-on.
Although in specific instances some units of the SA were
used for the commission of War Crimes and Crimes against
humanity, it cannot be said that its members generally
participated in or even knew of the criminal acts. For these
reasons the Tribunal does not declare the SA to be a
criminal organisation within the meaning of Article 9 of the

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