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The Sturmabteilung, or SA, is the organization which the world remembers as the "Brown Shirts" or Storm Troops-the gangsters of the early days of Nazi terrorism. Since it was the first of the organizations created by the Nazis as instru
ments to effectuate their illegal objectives, the SA occupied a place of peculiar importance in the scheme of the conspirators. Unlike some of the other organizations, the functions of the SA were not fixed or static. The SA was an agency adapted to many designs and purposes, and its role in the conspiracy changed from time to time various phases toward the final objective-abrogation of the Versailles Treaty and acquisition of the territory of other peoples and nations. If the conspiracy is likened to a pattern, with its various parts fitting together like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle, the piece representing the SA would be found to constitute the essential link in the pattern.
The SA participated in the conspiracy as a distinct and separate unit, having a legal character of its own. An ordinance passed in March, 1935, provided that the SA and certain other agencies were thereafter to be considered "components" of the Nazi Party (1725-PS). This ordinance further provided, in Article 5, that:
66** * * The affiliated organizations can possess their own legal character." (1725-PS)
Similarly, the 1943 Organization Book of the Nazi Party which characterizes the SA as an "entity," declares:
"The Fuehrer prescribes the law of conduct; he commands its use. The Chief of Staff represents the SA as a complete entity on the mandate of the Fuehrer." (3220-PS)
While the SA was composed of many individual members, they acted as a unit. They were closely bound together by many common factors, including uniform membership standards and disciplinary regulations; a common and distinctive uniform; common aims and objectives; common activities, duties, and responsibilities; and a fanatical adherence to the ideologies conceived by the Nazis. Although membership in the SA was voluntary, the SA man was expected to withdraw if
"he can no longer agree with SA views or if he is not in a position to fulfill completely the duties imposed upon him as a member of the SA." (2354-PS)
The SA man was well schooled in the philosophies and activities which he was required to adopt in his daily life. Uniformity of action and thought in such matters was in part obtained by the publication and distribution of a weekly periodical entitled "Der SA-Mann." This publication was principally devoted to fostering various aspects of Nazi ideology. In addition, "Der SA-Mann" reported upon the activities of the SA and its constituent groups. The SA developed from scattered bands of street ruffians into
a cohesive unit organized on a military basis, with military training and military functions, and with an aggressive spirit and philosophy. The organization extended throughout the entire Reich and was organized vertically into local subdivisions. Horizontally, there were special units including military, cavalry, communications, engineer, and medical units. These various groups and branches were coordinated by the SA Headquarters and operational offices, located in Munich.
A. The Relationship Between The SA and The Nazi Party.
The affiliation between the SA and the Nazi leaders was closely maintained, for the purpose of enabling the conspirators to employ the SA for any activity necessary in effectuating the objectives of the conspiracy. The SA was conceived and created by Hitler, in 1921, at the very inception of the conspiracy. Hitler retained the direction of the SA throughout the conspiracy, delegating responsibility for its leadership to a Chief of Staff. Goering was an early leader of the SA, and maintained close connection with it throughout the conspiracy. Hess participated in many of the early battles of the SA and was leader of an SA group in Munich. Frank, Streicher, von Schirach, and Sauckel each held the position of Obergruppenfuehrer in the SA, a position corresponding to the rank of Lieutenant General; and Bormann was a member of the Staff of the SA High Command.
The close relationship between the SA and leaders of the Nazi Party is demonstrated by the fact that the Hoheitstraeger (Bearers of Sovereignty) of the Nazi Leadership Corps were authorized to call upon the SA for assistance in carrying out particular phases of the Party program. For example, at page 71 of the Organization Book of the Nazi Party (1943 edition) the following statement is made (1893-PS):
"The Hoheitstraeger is responsible for the entire political ap-
"The Hoheitstraeger is the ranking representative of the
"Should the Hoheitstraeger need more SA for the execution
the next higher office of sovereignty which, in turn, requests the SA from the SA office in his sector." (1893-PS)
This close relationship is further shown by an ordinance for the execution of a Hitler decree (2383-PS):
"The leader of affiliated organizations, as well as the leaders of the party women's organization, are subordinate to the sovereign bearer (Hoheitstraeger) politically, functionally, disciplinarily, and personally.”
"The formations of the NSDAP, with exception of the SS, for whom special provisions apply, are subordinated to the sovereign bearer (Hoheitstraeger) politically and in respect to commitment. Responsibility for the leadership of the units rests in the hands of the unit leader." (2383–PS)
It was in compliance with the authority of the Leadership Corps that the SA was used in the seizure of trade union properties.
In addition, the SA demonstrated its close affiliation to the Nazi Party by participating in various ways in election proceedings. A pamphlet entitled."The SA," depicting the history and general activities of the SA, written by an SA Sturmfuehrer upon orders from SA Headquarters, declares that the SA stood
"at the foremost front of election fights." (2168-PS) Further evidence of the close relationship between the SA and Nazi leaders is found in the distribution list of the confidential publication of the Nazi Leadership Corps, which shows that this strictly confidential magazine was distributed to Lieutenant-Generals and Major-Generals of the SA. (2660-PS)
The interest and participation of Nazi leaders in the activities of the SA is clearly shown in the issues of "Der SA-Mann" for the period from 1934 to March 1939 (3050–A-E-PS). Throughout these volumes there appear photographs of Nazi leaders participating in SA activities. The following are descriptions of a few of these photographs, together with the page numbers upon which they appear:
Photograph of Himmler, Huhnlein (Fuehrer of NSKK)
and Lutze, bearing caption: "They lead the soldiers of National Socialism," 15 June, 1935, p. 1.
Photograph of Hitler at SA Ceremony, carrying SA Battle Flag. The picture bears the caption: "As in the fighting years the Fuehrer, on Party Day of Freedom, dedicates the new regiments with the Blood Banner," 21 September, 1935, p. 4.
Photograph of Lutze and Hitler, 19 September, 1936, p. 4.