Ernst Röhm

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Ernst Julius Röhm, (November 28, 1887 – July 2, 1934) was an officer of the Bavarian Army and later a Nazi leader. He was a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung ("Storm Battalion"; SA)[1], the Nazi Party militia and later was the SA commander. In 1934, as part of the Night of the Long Knives, he was executed on Hitler's orders as a potential rival.


Early career

Ernst Röhm was born in Munich, the youngest of three children (older sister and brother). His father, a railway official, was "a harsh man". The family had no military tradition. Röhm entered the Royal Bavarian 10.Infantry Regt. Prinz Ludwig at Ingolstadt on 23 July 1906 as a cadet. He obtained his commission on 12 March 1908. At the outbreak of war in August 1914 he was adjutant to I Batallion, 10th Infantry Regiment König The following month he was seriously wounded in the face at Chanot Wood in Lorraine, and carried the scars for the rest of his life. He was promoted to Senior Lieutenant (Oberleutnant) in April 1915. During an attack on the fortification at Thiaumont, Verdun, on 23 June 1916 he sustained a serious chest wound, as a result of which he spent the remainder of the war out of the line in France and Rumania as a Staff Officer. He received the Iron Cross First Class on 20 June 1916 just before the Verdun injury and achieved his highest service rank of Hauptmann (Captain) in April 1917. In October 1918 while serving on the Staff of the Gardekorps he contracted Spanish influenza and was not expected to survive but recuperated after a long period of convalescence.

After the armistice on 11 November 1918, Röhm continued his military career as an adjutant in the Reichswehr. He was one of the senior members in Colonel von Epp's Bayerisches Freikorps für den Grenzschutz Ost formed at Ohrdruf in April 1919 which finally overturned the Red Republic in Munich by force of arms on 3 May 1919. In 1919, he joined the German Workers' Party, which became the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). In 1920, Röhm had met Adolf Hitler the previous year and they became political allies and close friends.[2]

Röhm's resignation from the Reichswehr was accepted in November 1923 during his remand at Stadelheim prison. As a result of the failed Beer Hall Putsch on 9 November 1923, Röhm, Hitler, General Erich Ludendorff, Lt-Colonel Kriebel and six others were brought to trial in February 1924 on charges of treason. Röhm was found guilty and was sentenced to one year and three months in prison suspended, but granted a conditional discharge.[3] Hitler also was found guilty and was sentenced to five years imprisonment, though he served only nine months.

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