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by Lily Emmet,Max Gallo

By the summer of 1934 Adolf Hitler, appointed chancellor by the moribund President von Hindenburg, had amassed considerable political power, but hardline elements in his own Party that were instrumental to his rise now accused him of betraying the National Socialist agenda. A zealous Nazi and notorious homosexual, Ernst Roehm was the leader of the Party's paramilitary force, the Sturmabteilung (SA) or "Brown Shirts," which at its peak was over four million strong. He had once been Hitler's close friend but had become his most vehement critic. Hitler's response was the ?Night of Long Knives,? the term coined by him to describe the well-planned orgy of arrest, assassination, and execution that he personally led against his former comrades during the weekend of June 29, 1934. Step by step, our by hour, Max Gallo reconstructs the events that caused Himmler, Heydrich, Göring, and the Germany Army itself to convince Hitler to eliminate their rivals. Here in vivid detail is the epic clash between the brutal fanaticism of Roehm's SA and the cold-blooded cynicism of the SS, and how Hitler used it to augment his power and cement his position.
Download The Night of Long Knives epub
ISBN: 0060113979
ISBN13: 978-0060113971
Category: History
Subcategory: Europe
Author: Lily Emmet,Max Gallo
Language: English
Publisher: Harper & Row; [1st U.S. ed.] edition (1972)
Pages: 310 pages
ePUB size: 1317 kb
FB2 size: 1818 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 839
Other Formats: rtf lrf txt azw

there are two many details contradicted by other sources for me to buy this one wholesale. Still, the story is presented in an intriguing manor.
awesome condition
This was a subject I had heard often mentioned during several of my college courses but it was never dealt with to any degree of depth. Max Gallo's book does a good job putting the pieces together and explaining not only the events of the day (okay, of the "night") but also the events leading up to it and how it changed Germany and the Nazi party.

The format used to convey the info is a little difficult to follow at times because the author begins each chapter with a short section covering part of the events of June 29 - July 2, 1934 when Hitler made his move against the SA then ends each chapter with a longer section of the events leading up to the those few days in 1934. For me it would have been better if the events of the 29th through the 2nd would have been collected in a chapter of their own at the end of the book. Maybe the author felt the book would move too slow if he led too long with the background and didn't provide some of the "more exciting" info up front? Regardless of his motives, the discontunity is a bit distracting.

If you are at all interested in this topic, it is worth your time to read this book. It is probably too specific a book for someone just interested in basic history.
Max Gallo is a French journalist who wrote this historical narrative to recreate the events of June 29 to July 2, 1934. He used public documents, newspapers, memoirs, historical studies, and some of the participants (`Foreword'). Hitler ordered the murders of those who were once his friends and closest allies. This was done over a weekend when government offices and businesses were dormant (`Prologue'). People were murdered all over Germany without an explanation (p.4). Foreign observers were perplexed at this sudden purge. Hitler explained the murders as needed to save the German people (p.10). Gallo reports the events as a historical record, as if `you are there'. The description of those four days brings in historical facts as the background.

After revolutions broke out across 1918 Germany the Armistice allowed the Army to suppress them. The Freikorps continued to oppress Revolutionaries and was joined by the Storm Troopers (SA), which became a very large organization that attacked any enemy of the Nazis (p.23). The SA was recruited from the unemployed (p.24). They used torture in their prison camps (p.25) and operated beyond the law (p.26). Many had police records (p.34). Was Roehm plotting a putsch (p.35)? Or Karl Ernst (p.39)? Goering created the Gestapo to counter the SA (p.45). The SA wanted to take over the Army even if unqualified (p.76). Conservatives and the business world hated the SA and so did the Army (p.94). But could Hitler survive without the SA (p.95)? Rumors of an SA putsch caused Hitler to eliminate the leaders of the SA (p.107). The Night of Long Knives became operational (p.110).

Part Two is about the events of June 30, 1934. A Bishop warned against the "atheists who fight against the Christian faith" (p.116) or "violence and excess" (p.115). There were brawls between Army officers and SA men (p.122). The SA attacked the Minister of Labor (p.127). Would Germany pursue rearmament or a domestic consumer's market (p.158)? Were groups drawing away from the regime (p.162)? Part Three tells of the elimination of the SA leaders. The landowners, corporations, and the Army feared the social policies of the SA. Many others were killed "resisting arrest" (p.230). So too General Schleicher and his wife (p.237). Old enemies and friends as well (pp.238-239). Even wrong with the wrong name (p.240)! Rivals were killed (p.251). These events were broadcast on Sunday morning (p.264). That afternoon Roehm was shot (p.270). The SA was no longer an autonomous force (p.271), the killings stopped (p.272).

The `Epilogue' says the newspapers carried the official bulletins. Records were destroyed (p.275). Life went on without the disappeared (p.277). The SS was victorious (p.279). The generals and aristocrats approved (p.282). Hitler boasted that he eliminated former allies and enemies (p.284). The Army was now in charge of the SA (p.289). Hitler became the new Chief of State (p.291). The Army swore a personal oath to obey Hitler. What will happen next? But on July 20, 1944 a group of Army officers tried to assassinate Hitler but failed. [What if it succeeded?] Appendix I and II have speeches by Roehm and Hitler. This book has no index or a historical background of the 1920s. The author intermixes the events of that day with earlier events, they are not in chronological order.
After little over a year in power, Hitler was plagued by some dominant enemies. There was the SA on the left, which wanted to start a second German Revolution. Then there was the conservative polical base represented by Papen and Schleiter that posed a risk to his regime. Hitler through the intrigues of Goering, Himmiler, and his sidekick Heydrich managed to be persuaded that Roehm and his cohorts in the SA were plotting a putsch, when in fact they were planning a well deserved vacation. Goering, Himmiler, and Heydrich composed a list of all those who were obstacles in their way, along with the main opponents in the conservatives and SA. On the night of June 30-July 1, 1934 the SS struck with the cooperation of the army and other elements. Hundreds were killed, including a music critic, two German generals, and a Catholic politician. Hitler justified his action because of the threat of a coup and the population believed it. This early killing spree showed the way to what the Third Reich became, a killing empire.

Although the writing style took some getting used to, I found this a practical and informative book about this famous event. Other books I have read about this event were not nearly as informative. This was an easy and enjoyable read about a distasteful event.