Ernst Röhm

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Ernst Röhm.

Ernst Julius Günther Röhm, also spelled Roehm in English, (28 November 1887 – 1 July 1934) was a German military officer and later leader of the Sturmabteilung, also known as the SA. Röhm was homosexual.

He was an officer during WWI, was severely wounded in the face and carried the scars for the rest of his life. After the war, he was a member of the Freikorps and helped suppress the Munich Soviet Republic.

In 1919, he joined the German Workers' Party (DAP), which the following year became the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). He participated in the Munich Putsch and afterwards was sentenced to a year and three months in prison, but the sentence was suspended. He helped re-build the banned SA, but a disagreement with Hitler on how to organize the SA caused him to resign from all positions and move to Bolivia as a military adviser.

In 1930, Hitler assumed supreme command of the SA, but asked Röhm to return to serve as the SA's Chief of Staff, in effect leading the organization. Röhm reorganized the SA, in effect making it more loyal to him. After the NSDAP gained power in 1933, SA members were appointed auxiliary police and Röhm entered the cabinet as a minister without portfolio. In 1934, he demanded that the Reichswehr should be merged into the SA under his command as Minister of Defence, which was opposed by the Reichswehr and others. With Hitler arguing that Röhm was planning a coup, Röhm and others were killed during the Night of the Long Knives, with there being differing views on what occurred, as discussed in the article on this topic.

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