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The Sturmabteilung (SA), literally meaning "Storm Detachment", was the first paramilitary organization of the NSDAP.

The National Socialists described it as being for defensive purposes, such as for protection of meetings against (Communist) attackers, while opponents described it as attacking others.

The SA were also called the "Brownshirts" from the color of their uniform shirts, similar to Benito Mussolini's Blackshirts.

The SS originated as a branch of the SA and used similar ranks. See SS ranks.

The SA lost power after the Night of the Long Knives in 1934. The SA continued to exist, but was effectively superseded by the SS, although it was not formally dissolved until after Nazi Germany's final capitulation to the Allies in 1945.


In 1930, Hitler assumed command of the entire organization. The day-to-day running of the SA was conducted by the SA Chief of Staff:

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