The creation of the SS


Whatever steps Hitler took, however, the S.A. continued to follow its own independent course. Pfeffer held as obstinately as Rohm to the view that the military leadership should be on equal terms with, not subordinate to, the political leadership. He refused to admit Hitler’s right to give orders to his Stormtroops. So long as the S.A. was recruited from the ex-service and ex-Freikorps men who had so far provided both its officers and rank and file, Hitler had to tolerate this state of affairs. These men were not interested in politics; what they lived for was precisely this ‘playing at soldiers’ Hitler condemned – going on manoeuvres, marching in uniform, brawling, sitting up half the night singing camp songs and drinking themselves into a stupor, trying to recapture the lost comradeship and exhilaration of 1914-18. In time Hitler was to find an answer in the black-shirted S.S., a hand-picked corps d’elite (sworn to absolute obedience) very different from the ill-disciplined S.A. mob of camp followers. But it was not until 1929 that Hitler found the right man in Heinrich Himmler, who had been Gregor Strasser’s adjutant at Landshut and later his secretary. In 1928 Himmler, who had beea trained as an agriculturalist, was running a small poultry farm at the village of Waldtrudering, near Munich. When he took over the S.S. from Erhard Heiden, the troop numbered no more than two hundred men, and it took Himmler some years before he could provide Hitler with what he wanted, an instrument of complete reliability with which to exercise his domination over the Party and eventually over the German nation.


  1. Bullock, Alan. Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. New York: Harper & Row, 1964. Print. 140-141.

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Filed under History, Notes on History, Politics

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