What happened to the S.A. (Sturmabteilung; “Stormtroopers”) after The Night of the Long Knives?

What happened to the S.A. (Sturmabteilung; “Stormtroopers”) after The Night of the Long Knives?

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I'm reading The Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany by Warren B. Marris, Jr. (Nelson-Hall, Chicago), 1982 for an eassay. It outlines the power that the Sturmabteilung (abbreviated S.A., trans Stormtroopers, also known as The Brown Shirts) had in 1934: It had its own "private air force, medical service, engineers corps, and intelligence service." (pg 201)

What happened to these divisions after Hitler had the leaders murdered on June 30th, 1934, "The Night of the Long Knives"? Were they taken over by the military, the S.S. or kept by the weakened S.A.? It seems unlikely that such valuable forces would be disbanded while Hitler was re-arming Germany, but given the greatly decreased importance of the S.A. it also seems unlikely they remained under S.A. command.

If answers could include citations I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

The S.A. was "downsized" in several ways.

1) Many of their leaders were killed by other Nazis in the night of the Long Knives.

2) After this "purge," of their leaders, many S.A. members simply "retired" or found new jobs. This was because the S.A. was largely composed of older men recruited in the 1920s, who were no longer "military age" by 1934. (It was also a reason why there were calls for the disbanding of the S.A.)

3) Some of the younger elements (a minority in the S.A.) were absorbed by the S.S. This was particularly true of the HitlerJugend (Hitler Youth).

After all this, "a remnant remained under a colorless servile leader," [Victor Lutze] Source: William L. Shirer, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich."

I gave a general outline, but don't know what happened to individual elements.

Raymond H. Geist, former American Counsel and First Secretary of the Embassy in Berlin, Germany 1929-1939, has stated:

My vigorous relations with the Gestapo began in March, 1933. In fact I knew the organization of the secret police and dealt with that organization before the Nazis came to power. It was then the Politische Abtailung des Politzeipraesident, i.e., the political division of the Politizeipraesidium, which was charged with supervisory and preventive functions with regard to political matters, then chiefly investigating the terror of Communists. It was located in Berlin at the Politozeipraesidium. On March 6, 1933, it was moved from the Politizeipraesidium to No. 8 Prinzalbrechtstrasse and became the famous Gestapo [Geheimstaatpolizei], its first chief was Rudolf Diels, who was succeeded by Heinrich Himmler, in May, 1934. I knew well not only Diels but also Himmler, his second in command, Reinhard Heydrich and his administrative officer, Dr. Werner best. The organization at No. 8 was huge with over 1,000 persons employed there. Besides, as rapidly as administrative measures permitted, Gestapo headquarters were established throughout Germany, not only in the cities but in provincial places to such an extent that the smallest hamlet and village fell under direct Gestapo supervision. At the beginning of the Hitler regime, the only organization which had meeting places throughout the country was the S.A. (storm troopers). Until the Gestapo could be organized on a national scale the thousands of local S.A. meeting places became the "arrest points." There were at least fifty of these in Berlin. Communists, Jews, and other known enemies of the Nazi party were taken to these points and, if they were enemies of sufficient importance, they were immediately transferred to the Gestapo headquarters. During 1933 and 1934, when the Gestapo became universally organized, the S.A. were gradually eliminated as arresting agents and the S.S. [Schutzstaffe] were incorporated as administrative and executive officials into the Gestapo. By the end of 1934, the S.A. had been fairly well eliminated and the S.S., the members of which wore elegant black suits and were therefore called Elite Guards, became almost identical as functionaries with the Gestapo.

This statment was also translated for the important german Nuremberg Trials

What happened to these divisions after Hitler had the leaders murdered

Generally, the SA lost power. The following "Tätigkeitsgebiete" (fields of work) were still recognized after 1934, although in lower numbers:

  • Nachrichten-SA (Signal Intelligence)
  • Reiter-SA
  • Pionier-SA
  • SA-Jäger/SA-Schützeneinheiten
  • Sanitäts-SA (medical corps)
  • Marine-SA
  • SA-Fußstandarten
  • SA-Gruppenstäbe
  • Oberste SA-Führung

Two former SA groups were merged into larger organisations of the German state:

  • Motor-SA (motorized) was merged with other non-SA groups to form the Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps

  • Flieger-SA (aviation) was merged with other non-SA groups (notably the SS aviation too, so this was a real merger, not stripping assets from the SA only) into the Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps



For decades, conservative activists and leaders have warned that “jackbooted thugs” from the federal government were going to come to take away Americans’ civil rights with no due process and no recourse. Now they’re here For those wondering who these unidentifiable paramilitary "soldiers" in camouflage without identifying insignias were/are, we now know that they are U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents. The armed federal agents who terrorized Portland, and now will do the same in Chicago, are the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), which is the CBP’s version of SWAT. They were authorized to be deployed under the new special task force called the Protecting American Communities Task Force (PACT), which was created with President Trump’s executive order meant to protect federal monuments.

When his employment of the actual military to terrorize and gas peaceful protestors in his infamous Washington D.C. church photo op went over badly with the military brass--with the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen.Mark A. Milley nearly resigning in protest and many prominent retired generals and admirals criticizing the use of the military on American soil--Trump turned to this in order to establish his own paramilitary force. Trump’s transition of the CBP into his personal police force, which is behaving exactly like Hitler's Sturmabteilung (SA), has been completed.

The strategy here seems frighteningly clear. He has no Reichstag building to burn down and then blame it on dissidents and his political enemies, as Hitler did, so he will incite violence in major cities by sending in these units over the objections of the mayors, governors, and state attorneys general. Once he has reached a critical point, he will declare martial law. There is nothing that can stop him from doing this. After that, matters will move quickly. There will be his version of Hitler's Night of Long Knives, in which he will physically attack, disappear, intimidate, or detain his political opponents, rounding up Biden, Pelosi, perhaps Obama, and members of the press. At that point he will have established an authoritarian state, dissolving Congress and laughing at anything coming out of the Supreme Court. After that will come his version of Hitler's Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in which he will target some group, likely Muslim Americans, round them up, and intern them.

Do I sound like a conspiracy nut? Well, connect the dots. See through the smoke of his diversionary crazy behavior and statements, and look at the nuclei leading to a coup d'etat. He's already undermined our key institutions he's destroyed our alliances with western democracies he's got the blessings of our authoritarian enemies and adversaries he's made a mockery of the rule of law most of his directors are "acting," having never been confirmed by the Senate, and have been chosen only on the criterion of loyalty to him he has his own paramilitary thugs he has the unquestioning support of about one-third of the nation the highest law officer in the land is his personal Himmler he's the Commander in Chief of the military and we're in the middle of a deadly pandemic that he has allowed to spin out of control. So again, who's going to stop him?

Democracies are very fragile. Ours has nearly come apart several times during our relatively short national history. The conversion of a democratic republic into a fascist state works in increments, small steps, things that people protest and the would-be dictator is criticized for, but that, in themselves, are not enough to drive a wedge between him and his Republican Senate. Then, one day, you realize how far we've come, but by that time it is too late. We all think "it can't happen here." But every country where this has happened has thought that. Until it happens. And here we are.