CIE History Component-1: Specimen Questions 2 - 2 of 2

Question number: 2

Essay Question▾

Describe in Detail

Study the sources, and then answer the questions, which follow: “Without telling me, Rohm made a plan with General von Schleicher that the present regime in Germany could not be continued; that the army and navy must be combined and that Rohm was the man for this post. I decided to put an end to this plan. Therefore, I decided to dismiss Rohm, to arrest him and a number of SA leaders. I gave orders to shoot those that were guilty of treason. Everyone will know in future that treachery towards the state will end in certain death. ” -Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag, 13 July 1934

How far does this source explain opposition to Hitler? Explain your answer.


The source reveals that Hitler had large opposition but he suppressed them. And most of these people who were against him were those whom he trusted the most and they turned out his rivals. When he realized that plans were made against him inside his own regime by his own people he took it as a case of treachery and punished all of them who were guilty or were suspected to be guilty of standing against him. For instance according to the above source following conclusions can be made:

  • By the summer of 1934, the SA’s numbers had swollen to 2 million men. They were under the control of Ernst Rohm, a loyal follower of Hitler since the early days of the Nazi Party. The SA had given the Nazi’s an iron fist with which to disrupt other political parties meetings before January 1933. The SA was also used to enforce law after Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933. To all intents, they were the enforcers of the Nazi Party and there is no evidence that Rohm was ever planning anything against Hitler.
  • However, Rohm had made enemies within the Nazi Party – Himmler, Goering and Goebbels were angered by the power he had gained and convinced Hitler that this was a threat to his position.
  • By June 1934, the regular army hierarchy also saw the SA as a threat to their authority. The SA outnumbered the army by 1934 and Rohm had openly spoken about taking over the regular army by absorbing it into the SA. Such talk alarmed the army’s leaders.
  • By the summer of 1934, Hitler had decided that Rohm was a ‘threat’ and he made a pact with the army. If Rohm and the other SA leaders were removed, the rank and file SA men would come under the control of the army but the army would have to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler. The army agreed and Rohm’s fate was sealed.
  • On the night of June 29th – June 30th 1934, units of the SS arrested the leaders of the SA and other political opponents. Men such as Gregor Strasser, von Schleicher and von Bredow were arrested and none of them had any connection with Rohm. The arrests carried on for 2 more nights.
  • Seventy seven men were executed on charges of treason though historians tend to think the figure is higher. The SA was brought to heel and placed under the command of the army. Hitler received an oath of allegiance from all those who served in the army. Rohm was shot. Others were bludgeoned to death.