The Template:Audio (SA, German for "Storm Division" and is usually translated as stormtroops or stormtroopers) functioned as a paramilitary organisation of the NSDAP – the German Nazi party. It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1930s. SA men were often known as brownshirts from the colour of their uniform and to distinguish them from the SS who were known as blackshirts.
The SA was also the first Nazi paramilitary group to develop pseudo-military titles for bestowal upon its members. The SA ranks would be adopted by several other Nazi Party groups, chief among them the SS.
The term Sturmabteilung originally came from the specialized assault troops used by Germany in 1918 in World War I utilising Hutier tactics. Instead of a large mass assault, the Sturmabteilung were organized into small teams of a few soldiers each. First applied during the Battle of Cambrai, the wider use in March 1918 allowed the Germans to push back British and French lines tens of kilometers.
In Munich in the fall of 1920, Hitler himself created the Ordnertruppen; a body of muscular Nazis, ex-soldiers, and beer hall brawlers in order to protect his speeches and Nazi Party gatherings from Communist disruptions. It originally functioned as a group of bodyguards to enforce order at Nazi gatherings. It was shortly changed to Sportabteilung, a cover name meaning "Sports section," and came to be known by the initials SA. In late 1921, the name was changed to the final version: Sturmabteilung. Under their popular leader Ernst Röhm, the SA grew in importance within the Nazi power structure, eventually claiming thousands of members. In 1922, the NSDAP created a youth section, the Jugendbund, for young men between the ages of 14 and 18 years. Its successor, the Hitler Youth, remained under SA command until May 1932. The SA carried out numerous acts of violence against socialist groups throughout the 1920s, typically in minor street-fights called zusammenstösse ('collisions'). The SS eventually took over their original role.
After Hitler took power in 1933, the SA became increasingly anxious for power and saw themselves as the replacement for the German army. This angered the regular army (Reichswehr) who already resented the Nazi party, and commonly regarded the SA as 'brown scum'. It also led to tension with other leaders within the party who saw Röhm's increasingly powerful SA as a threat to their own personal ambitions. The SA was also considered a dangerous and radical organization, especially since common SA practice was to swear loyalty to local SA commanders rather than Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party as a whole.
In order to ally himself with moderate forces within the German Army and to strengthen his position within the Nazi Party, Hitler ordered the execution of the leadership of the SA, which took place on June 30-July 1, 1934, on what is known as the Night of the Long Knives. Victor Lutze became the new leader of the SA, and the organization was soon marginalized in the Nazi power structure.
Leaders of the SA
The leader of the SA was known as the Oberster SA-Führer, translated as Supreme SA Leader. The following men held this position throughout the existence of the SA:
- Emil Maurice (1920–1921)
- Hans Ulrich Klintzsche (1921–1923)
- Hermann Göring (1923)
- None (1923–1925)
- Franz Pfeffer von Salomon (1926–1930)
- Adolf Hitler (1930–1945)
In 1930, to centralize the loyalty of the SA, Adolf Hitler personally assumed command of the entire organization and remained Oberster SA-Führer from the duration of the group's existence until 1945. The day to day running of the SA was conducted by the Stabschef SA (SA Chief of Staff). After 1931, it was the Stabschef who was generally accepted as the Commander of the SA, acting in Hitler's name.
The following personnel held the position of Chief of Staff of the SA:
- "Terror must be broken by terror" (1)
- "All opposition must be stamped into the ground" (1)
Today, the term "Brown Shirts" has been used to disparage the extreme rank and file of right wing and left wing organizations. It can also mean an individual of a political organization who is seen as very narrow-minded and excessively loyal.
The term "Digital Brownshirts," a controversial phrase coined by former Vice-President Al Gore, is used by Gore to disparage the right-leaning weblogs that criticize (what they perceive as) a liberal agenda in the mainstream media.
- Weimar paramilitary groups
- Blackshirts-Italian fascist militia
- Black Brigades
- National Socialist Motor Corps
- Panzer Corps Feldherrnhalle
- Stormtrooper (disambiguation)
- Why Hitler?: The Genesis of the Nazi Reich by Samuel W. Mitcham (pg 139; Praeger, 1996, ISBN 0275954854).
- Political Violence and The Rise of Nazism : The Storm Troopers in Eastern Germany, 1925-1934 by Richard Bessel (Yale University Press, 1984, ISBN 0300031718).
- The Brown Battalions: Hilter's SA in Words and Pictures translated and edited by Nicholas H. Hatch (Turner, 2000, ISBN 1563115956).
- The SA Generals and The Rise of Nazism by Bruce Campbell (University Press of Kentucky, 1998, ISBN 0813120470).
- Stormtroopers: A Social, Economic, and Ideological Analysis, 1929-35 by Conan Fischer (Allen & Unwin, 1983, ISBN 0049430289).
- Collectors Guide to SA Insignia by James David Fuller (Matthäus Publishers, Postal Instant Press, 1985, ISBN 0931065046).
- The SA: A Historical Perspective by Jill Halcomb (Crown/Agincourt Publishers, 1985, ISBN 0934870136).
- The Making of a Stormtrooper by Peter H. Merkl (Princeton University Press, 1980, ISBN 0691076200).
- The Development of the SA in Nürnberg, 1922-1934 by Eric G. Reiche (Cambridge University Press, 1986, ISBN 0521306388).
de:SA es:Sturmabteilung fr:Sturmabteilung it:Sturmabteilung he:אס אה nl:Sturmabteilung ja:突撃隊 no:Sturmabteilung pl:SA pt:Sturmabteilung sl:SA sr:Штурмабтајлунг fi:Sturmabteilung sv:Sturmabteilung zh:冲锋队