Commissioned thereto by the Government the President of the Reichstag, Hermann Goering, has called you together today to give me the possibility of explaining before this best qualified Forum of the National events which may well remain for all time in our history as a memory alike of sorrow and of warning. Out of a sum of material causes and personal guilt, from human inadequacy and human defects, there arose for our young Reich a crisis which only too easily might for an incalculable period have produced consequences completely disastrous. To make clear to you and thereby to the nation how this crisis arose and how it was overcome is the aim of this speech. The content of this speech will be ruthless frankness. Only in its scope do I fell bound to impose upon myself some limitation, and the limitations is on the ones side conditioned by the interests of the Reich and on the other side by bounds which are set by the sentiment of shame.
When on 30 January 1933 Field Marshall and President of the Reich von Hindenburg entrusted me with the leadership of the newly formed German Government the National Socialist Party took over a State which both politically and economically was in complete decline. All political forces of the former state of affairs which had just been brought to a close had their share in this decline and consequently a share in the guilt. Since the abdication of the Kaiser and the German princes the German people had been delivered into the hands of men whose as the representatives of out past world of parties, had either consciously induced this decline or had weakly suffered it to continue. Beginning with the Marxist revolutionaries and proceeding by way of the Centrum till one reached Boutgeois Nationalists--all parties and their leaders were given an opportunity to prove their capacity to govern Germany. Endless coalitions allowed then to put to the test their political arts and their economic skill. They have all failed miserably, January 30  was therefore not the day when our Government formally took over responsibility from the hands of another Government, it was rather the final liquidation, long desired by the nation, of an intolerable state of affairs.
It is essential that this should be clearly stated since, as subsequent events have proved, some individuals would seem to have forgotten that previously they were given full opportunity for demonstrating their political capacities. There is no one in Germany who could have any ground, even did he wish so, to charge the National Socialist Movement with having obstructed or even blocked the way to political forces which offered any hope of success. Fate, for reasons which we cannot fathom, condemned our people for fifteen years to serve as the field on which these politicians could make their experiments as the rabbi in the hands of the vivi-sector.
It may have been interesting and pleasurable for the outside world, especially for the world that is ill-disposed towards us, to follow these experiments; for the German people they were as painful as they were humiliating. Look back on this period and before your eyes let all those figures pass who succeeded each other as Chancellors of the Reich. In what land were the scales of Providence more often brought into use, and where more frequently was the verdict passed that the object weighed had fallen short of the due weight? No! We National Socialists have the right to refuse to be counted as members of this line. On 30 January 1933 it was not a case of a new German Government being formed as had happened times without number before, but a new regime had superseded an old and sick age.
This historic act of the liquidation of that most melancholy period in our nation's life which now lies behind us was legalized by the German people itself. For we have not seized possession of power as usurpers, as did the men of November 1918; we have received power constitutionally and legally. We have not made a revolution as uprooted anarchists, but, a as executing the nation's will, we have set aside a regime born of rebellion and we have seen our task to lie not in maintaining power at the point of the bayonet, but in finding that power in the heart of out people and anchoring it there.
When today I read in a certain foreign newspaper that at the present time I am filled with profound anxieties, and at this moment in particular with economic anxieties, I have only one answer for these scribblers: assuredly that is true, but it is not merely today that anxiety tortures me; it has done so for a long time past. If it was formerly the anxiety for our people which led us to protect our people in the war which, despite its innocence, had been forced upon it, after the collapse it was the far greater anxiety for the future which turned us into revolutionaries. And when after fifteen years of struggle at least we received the leadership of the nation this torturing anxiety not only didn't loosen its hold upon us, but on the contrary did not embrace us the more closely. I may be believed when I assure you that never yet in my life have I allowed myself to be anxious for my own personal fate, But I confess that from the day when the confidence of the Field Marshal appointed for me my place I do bear the burden of that heavy anxiety which the present and the future of our people lay upon us all. For on 30 January we did not take over a State which was in good order politically and in a healthy economic condition: we took a politically and economic chaos, which at that time precisely by those who are my critics today was regarded as completely irreparable and was so described by them.
We however, have the courage to accept battle in all spheres against these evidences of decline. From days and nights filled with anxieties we have always gained fresh strength for new decisions. For however much hostile critics may harp upon points of detail, even they cannot deny that we have not capitulated before problems, but that we have always striven manfully to solve them and that in numberless cases we have solved them. The result of one and a half years of National Socialist Government lies clear and indisputable before us. Its significance cannot be estimated by comparisons with the conditions with which we were faced on 30 January 1933. No! He who would be just must judge our success by comparing it with that which would have happened if we had not conquered. Only he who in his thought carries on farther the line of development which led up to the 30th of January last year--only he can measure the greatness of the National Socialist achievement, for we have not only stayed the course of destiny as it was running at that time, but we have in all spheres put destiny on the road to good fortune.
When I as Chancellor of the Reich came into the Wilhelmstrasse, the authority of the Reich had become a worthless phantom. The spirit of revolt and insubordination dominated the German States and communes. The shadows of the most melancholy political past of the German people rose alarmingly before us. Particularism and Separatism insolently proclaimed themselves as the new German conception of the State. From the internal weakness of the reich sprang its undignified attitude towards the world without. It ahd once more become a humiliation to confess publicly that one was a German. The spirit of insubordination and of internal revolt within a few months we exterminated and destroyed. While fully respecting the essential character of our German tribes we have strengthened the authority of the Reich as the expression of the common will of our people's life and have made it supreme. The German Reich is today no longer merely geographical conception: it has become a political unity. We have directed our people's development on ot lines which only two years ago were regarded as unattainable. And just as within the Reich we firmly secured the unity and therewith the future of the german people, so in the sphere of foreign policy we have resolutely championed the rights of our people.
It was not enough, however to overcome the constitutional disunion of the German people, but it appeared to us almost more important to prevent the threatening dissolution in the political life of the people itself. Hardly six months of National Socialist government had passed before the course of our former political life, our party disunion, was overcome. More and more from month to month the German people separated itself from this period which already today appears to us almost incomprehensible, and grew more and mme alienated form its characteristic features. There was no need for me to give expression to that fact, for every German feels and knows it to be true; even the bare thought of any return to this confused party-world is ridiculous and absurd.
This great process of the cleansing of the nation's political life was followed by no less great economic change. What has been achieved in this sphere during the last eighteen months is shown by the incontestable fact that four and a half million unemployed have been brought back to useful productive work in a period of not quite one and a half years. This is a very simple fact, bu the measure of its simplicity is matched only by the greatness of the anxieties which had and still have their roots in this struggle against unemployment. It is an embittered fight which we have been waging for more than one and a half years. If you would judge it, you must not start from that which was wrongly dine, but rather from the fact of the result which today has been achieved a result which was precisely that which our critics held to be impossible. And further I would here make one general statement: we have been faced by questions to which those who preceded us have found no answer. In many cases we were quite unable to appeal tot eh former experience of others. We had to discover our own ways so often that it is naturally easy afterwards to pillory this of that mistake. But I regard it as a greater service to have the courage at least to seek for a way out of misery. We all know that for a Government that is truly anxious to do its duty there can never be a time when it is free from anxieties. Always there are new problems to master, new questions to solve, new tasks to fulfill. While we liberated four and a had million men from unemployment and once more mad possible for them a different standard of living, we were at the same time increasing their power of consumption: that means that foreign raw materials are consumed to a greater extent. We see difficulties such as these and I can assume the german people of one thing only; We shall solve them!
If our trade balance is unfavorable owing to our exclusion from foreign markets either by economic barriers or by a political boycott, then thanks to the genius of our inventors and chemists and through our own energy we shall find ways to make ourselves independant of the import of those materials which er are in a position ourselves to produce or for which we can discover substitutes. All these problems we shall solve with indomitable resolution, and in that resolution we shall always be inspired by our anxiety to help our people in its struggle for existence. There is hardly a sphere of out national, political, or economic life, hardly a sphere of our life as a whole, in which we have not done pioneering work.
The best proof of the truth of this assertion is the attitude of the german people itself. In all strata of its life it has declared its loyalty to the new regime. The features which marked our former political confusion have been set aside because we destroyed them, but because the German people removed them from its heart. And I must today and in this place confess that assuredly our work would have been utterly vain, and must have been vain, had no the German people given us its confidence and its loyal cooperation is so large a measure. Our success is due to the 411/2 million men and women from all walks of life who gave us no merely superficial 'Yes", but devoted themselves with all their hearts to the new regime.
To them our success is mainly due. Without their confiding trust, without their patient forbearance, without their devotion and readiness for sacrifice the work of German recovery would never have succeeded. They are, as the supporters of the people's rebirth. at the same time the best representatives of the people. They are in truth the german people.
Beginning with the old, true, and unswerving fighters of our movement and going down to the newly won millions of the working classes they form the healthy element in our people's life. They have all remained honorable and decent in character. Millions of them still today in Germany fight a hard and bitter struggle for their scanty daily bread. Hundreds of thousands of miners hardly earn bare necessities of life. Hundreds of thousands of others were ready to share their job with their still poorer fellow countrymen. And yet they all live looking to the new State with confidence and faith. From millions of hard working men who earn but little we have compelled to demand sacrifices to save Germans in other walks of life, and those sacrifices they have made. The words Community of the German people have found precisely in the poorest sons of our people their most lofty and glorious exemplification. Millions of women love this new State, make sacrifices for it, work and pray for it. They sympathize by natural instinct with its mission of maintaining our people to which in their children they have themselves given a living pledge. Hundreds of thousands of members of our former bourgeois society are anxious to seek and find in the State their way to the German people.
For countless numbers a new life seems to have been opened up, a faireer goal seems to have been set before them for their work and their ceaseless striving and struggling. He who has the good fortune to come amongst this people will himself be seized and carried away by the wave of boundless assurance, of utterly immovable confidence with which they all cling to this new Germany.
And Over against this positive world of the German spirit, the incorporation of the true values of our people, there stands also, it is true, a small negative world. They take no part in their hearts in the work of German recovery and restoration. First there is the small body of those international disintegrators of a people who as apostles of the Weltanschauung of Communism alike in this political and economic sphere systematically incite the peoples, break up established order, and endeavor to produce chaos. We see evidence for the activity of these international conspirators all about us. Up and down the countries the flames of revolt run over the peoples. Street riots, fights at the barricades, mass terrorism, and the individualistic propaganda of disintegration disturb today nearly all the countries of the world. Even in Germany some single fools and criminals of this type still again and again seek to exercise their destructive activity. Since the destruction of the Communist Party we experience one attempt after another, though growing ever weaker as time passes, to found and to sustain the work of Communistic organizations of a more or less anarchistic character. Their method is always the same. While they paint men's present lot as intolerable they praise the Communistic paradise of the future, and thus practically wage a war in Hell's behalf. For the consequences of their victory in a country such as Germany could be nothing but completely destructive. The proof of their capacity and of the effect of their supremacy has by concrete examples already become so clear to the German people that the overwhelming majority even of the German working classes has recognized the true character of the Jewish international benefactors of mankind and is no longer seduced by them. The National Socialist State in its domestic life will exterminate and annihilate even these last remnants of this poisoning and stultification of the people, if necessary at the cost of another Hundred Years War.
The second group of the discontented consists of those political leaders who feel that their political future is closed through the 30th of January, but yet are still unable to accept the irrevocability of this fact. The more time veils with the gracious mantle of forgetfulness their own incapacity, the more do they think themselves entitles gradually to bring themselves back into the peoples memory. But since their incapacity was not formerly limited to any special period but was born in them by nature, they are today,too, unable to prove their value in any positive and useful work, but they see the fulfillment of their life task to lie in a criticism which is as treacherous as it is mendacious With them, too the people has no sympathy. The National Socialist State can neither be seriously threatened by them nor in any way damaged.
A third group of destructive elements is formed of those revolutionaries whose former relation to the state was shattered by the events of 1918; they became uprooted and thereby lost altogether all sympathy with any ordered human society. They became revolutionaries who favored revolution for its own sake and desired to see revolution for its own sake and desired to see revolution established as a permanent condition. We all formerly suffered under frightful tragedy that we, as disciplined and loyal soldiers, were suddenly faced with a revolt of mutineers who managed to seize possession of the state. Each of us ahd been brought up to respect the laws and to reverence authority, we had been trained in obedience to the commands and regulations issued by the authorities, in a subordination of our wills in face of the State's representatives. Now the revolution of deserters and mutineers forced upon us in our thought the abandonment of these conceptions. We could not pay respect to the new usurpers. Our honor, our conscience forced us to withhold our obedience to their orders, our love for the nation and for the Fatherland laid upon us the duty of waging watt against them, the absence of any morality in their laws quenched in us any feeling for the necessity of observing them, thus we became revolutionaries. But even as revolutionaries we had never cut ourselves loose from the obligation of applying to ourselves just as much as to others the natural laws of the sovereign right of our people; these we were bound to respect.
We did not desire to violate the will of the German people or its right of self-determination: we wanted only to drive out the violations of the nation. And when at last we received our legitimation through the trust reposed in us by this people and drew the conclusions resulting our fourteen years of fighting, that did not happen in order that we might allow our instincts free rein to vent themselves buy only that we might establish a new and better order. For us the Revolution which shattered the second Germany was but the mighty act of birth whereby the Third Reich was called into being. Our desire was to create once more a State to which every German may cling with a loving devotion. Our aim was to establish a regime to which everyone might look up with respect, to devise laws which everyone might look up with respect, to devise laws which corresponded with the morality of our people, to make secure an authority to which every man might subject himself in Prussian obedience. For us the Revolution is no permanent condition. When some mortal check is imposed with violence upon the natural development of a people, the the artificially interrupted evolution can rightly by a deed of violence open up the way for itself in order to regain liberty to persue its natural development. But there can be no such thing as a state of permanent revolution: neither can any beneficent development be secured by means of periodically recurrent revolts.
Amongst the numberless documents which during the last week it was my duty to read I have discovered a diary with the notes of a man who, in 1918, was thrown into the path of resistance to the laws and who now lives in a world in which law itself seems to ba a provocation to resistance. It is an unnerving document an unbroken tale of conspiracy and continual plotting: it gives one an insight into the mentality of men who, without realizing it, have found in nihilism their final confession of faith. Incapable of any true co-operation, with a desire to oppose all order, filled with hatred against every authority, their unrest and disquietude can find satisfaction only in some conspiratorial activity of the mind perpetually plotting the disintegration of whatever at any moment may exist. Many of them in the early days of our struggle have together with us charged against the State which is no more, but their inner lack of discipline led most of them, even during the course of the struggle, away from the disciplined National Socialist Movement.
The last remnant appeared to have separated itself from us after the 30th of January. The link with the National Socialist Movement was severed at the moment when the Movement itself, now representing the State, became the object of their pathological aversion. They are on principle enemies of every authority, and therefore there can be no hope at all of their conversion. Achievements which appear to strengthen the new German State do but increase their hatred, for in general one thing is common to these folk who are from principle in permanent opposition; they do not see before them the German people but the institution which guarantees order, and it is that which arouses their hatred. They are not filled with a desire to help the people, but rather by a hope that the Government may fail in its work for the people's salvation. They are for that reason never prepared to admit the benefit resulting from any act; rather they are filled with the determination to deny on principle every success and on every success to trace the failures and the weaknesses which may possibly ensure. This third group of pathological enemies of the state is dangerous because they represent a reservoir of these ready to co-operate in every attempt at a revolt, at least just for so long as a new order does not begin to crystallize out of the state of chaotic confusion.
I must now mention the fourth group, which often perhaps even against its own will does in fact carry on a truly destructive activity. The group is composed of those persons who belong to a comparatively small section (Schicht) of society and who, having nothing to do, find time and opportunity to report orally everything that has happened in order thus to bring some interesting and important variety into their otherwise completely purposeless lives. For whilst the overwhelming majority of the nation has to earn its daily bread in toilsome work, in certain strata of life (Lebensschichten) there are still folk whose sole activity it is to do nothing, only to need afterwards a rest-cure from doing noting. The more paltry is the life of such a drone, the more eagerly will he seize upon anything which may give some interesting content to the vacuity of his mind. Personal and political gossip is eagerly swallowed and even more eagerly handed on. Since these men as a result of doing nothing do not possess any living relation to the millions which form the mass of the nation, their life is confined is its range to the circle reverberates backwards and forwards like figures reflected in two distorting mirrors. Because their whole ego is full of nothingness, and since they find a similar nothingness amongst their like, they look upon the whole world as equally empty: they come to think that the outlook of their own circle is the outlook of everyone. Their anxieties, they imagine, from the cares of the whole nation. In reality this little cloud of drones is but A State within the State; is has no contact with the life, the sentiments, the hopes and cares of the rest of the people. They are, however, dangerous because they are veritable bacillus-carriers of unrest and uncertainty, of rumors, assertions, lies and suspicions, of slanders and fears, and thus they contribute to produce gradually a state of nervousness which spreads amongst the people so that is the end it is hard to find or recognize where its influence stops.
Just as in all other peoples, so in Germany they cry on their mischievous activity. For them the National Socialist Revolution was an interesting subject of conversation, and so, on the other hand, was the fight of our enemies against the National Socialist State. But one thing is clear: the work of reconstruction and indeed the work of our people itself is possible only if the German people in the internal calm, order, and discipline follows its leaders ad above all if it puts its trust in its leaders. For it is only the trust and the faith in the new State which has enabled us to attack and solve the great tasks which have been set us by our predecessors.
Thought it is true that from the outset the National Socialist regime had to take these various groups into account and has in fact taken account of them, yet for some months there has been noticeable a trend of thought which we could not afford lightly to tolerate.
The first idle talk which on heard here and there of a new revolution, of a new upheaval, of a new revolt gradually grew in intensity to such an extent that only an irresponsible statesmanship could afford to ignore it. One could no longer simply dismiss as silly chatter all the information which came to us in hundreds and at last in thousands of reports both orally and in writing. Only three months ago the leaders of the arty were still convinced that is was simply the irresponsible gossip of political reactionaries, of Marxist anarchists, of of all sorts of idlers with which they had to deal - gossip which had no support in fact.
In the middle of March I took steps to have preparations made for a new wave of propaganda which was to render the German people immune from any attempt to spread fresh poison. At the same time I gave orders to certain departments of the Party administration to trace the rumors of a new revolution which were continually cropping up and to find out, if possible, the sources from which they came. The result was that certain tendencies appeared in the ranks was that certain tendencies of the SA which were bound to cause the gravest anxiety. At first it was a case of general symptoms, the inner connections of which were not at once clear.
1. Against my express order, and in despite of declarations made to me through the Chief of Staff, Roehm, there had been such an increase in the numbers of the SA. that the internal homogeneity of this unique organization must be endangered.
2. Education in the National Socialist world view in the above-mentioned sections of individual higher SA. authorities had been more and more neglected.
3. The natural relationship between the Party and the SA. began slowly to be weakened. We were able to establish that efforts were being made, as it seemed systematically, to withdraw the SA. more and more from the mission appointed for it by me and to use it in the service of other tasks or other interests.
4. Promotions to posts of leadership in the SA. when they were tested showed that a completely one sided valuation had been set on purely external skill or often only on a supposed intellectual capacity. The great body of the oldest and most loyal SA. men was always more and more neglected when appointments to the post of leader were made or when vacancies had to be filled, while a quite incomprehensible preference was shown for those who had enlisted in the year 1933 who were not specially highly respected in the Movement. Often only a few months membership of the Party, or even only of the SA., was enough to secure promotion to a higher position in the SA. which the old SA. leader could not reach after years of service.
5. The behavior of these individual SA leaders who had fr the greater part not grown up with the Movement at all was false to National Socialist standards and often positively revolting. It could not be overlooked that it was precisely in these circles that one source of the unrest in the Movement was discovered, in that their incomplete practical National Socialism sought to veil itself in very unseemly demands for a new revolution.
I drew the attention of the Chief of Staff, Roehm, to these abuses and to a number of others without meeting with any appreciable help in their removal, indeed without any recognizable concurrence on his part with my objections.
In the months of April and May there was a constant increase in these complaints, and it was then that I received for the first time reports, confirmed by official documents, of conversations which had been held by individual higher leaders of the SA and which can only be described as 'gross impropriety'. For the first time in some official documents we obtained irrefutable evidence that in these conversations references had been made to the necessity for a new revolution and that leaders received instructions to prepare themselves both materially and in spirit for such a new revolution. The Chief of Staff, Roehm, endeavored to maintain that these conversations had not in fact been held and that the reports were to be explained as veiled attacks upon the SA.
The confirmation of some of these cases through the statements of those who had been present led to the most serious ill treatment of these witnesses who for the most part came from the ranks of the old SA. Already by the end of April the leaders of the Party and a number of State institutions concerned in the matter were convinced that a certain group of the higher SA leaders was consciously contributing towards the alienation of the SA from the Party as well as from the other institutions of the State, or at least was not opposing this alienation. THe attempt to remedy this state of affairs through the normal official channels always remained unsuccessful. The Chief of Staff Roehm, promised, me personally over and over again that he would inquire into these cases and that he would remove or punish the guilty parties. But no visible change in the situation resulted.
In the month of May numerous charges of offenses committed by SA leaders, both those of high rank and of intermediate position, were received by officials of the party and of the state; these offenses were supported by official documents and could not be denied. Provocative speeches led directly to intolerable excesses. The Minister President Goering had already previously endeavored, so far as Prussia was concerned, to maintain the authority of the will of the National Socialist State over the self will of individual elements. In some other German States meanwhile the authorities of the Party and the official had been compelled to oppose single intolerable excesses. SOme of the responsible parties were taken into custody. I have before this always stressed the fact that an authoritarian regime is under special obligations. When one demands of a people that it should put blind confidence in its leaders, then for their part these leaders must deserve their confidence through their achievement and through their achievement and through specially good behavior. Mistakes and errors may in individual cases slip in, but they are to be eradicated. Bad behavior, drunken excesses, the molestation of the peaceful decent folk, these are unworthy of a leader, they are not National Socialist, and they are in the higher degree detestable.
I have for this reason always insisted that in their conduct and behavior higher demands should be made of the National Socialist leaders that of the rest of the people [volksgenossen] He who desires to receive higher respect than others must meet this demand by a higher achievement. The most elementary demand that can be made of him is that in is life he should not give a shameful example to those about him. I do not desire therefore that National Socialist guilty of such offenses should be judged and punished more leniently that are other fellow countrymen of theirs; rather, I expect that a leader who forgets himself in this way should be punished with greater rigor than an unknown man would be in a like case. And here I would make no distinction between leaders of the political organizations and leaders of the formations of our SA, SS, Hitler Youth & etc.
The resolution of the National Socialist Government to put an end to such excesses of individual unworthy elements which did but cover with shame the Party and the SA led to a very violent counter activity on the party of the Chief of Staff. National Socialist fighter of the earliest days, some of whom had striven for nearly fifteen years for the victory of the Movement and now as high State Officials in leading positions in our State represented the Movement, were called to account for the action which they had taken against such unworthy elements: that is to say that through Courts of Honor, composed in part some of the youngest members of the Party or even at times of those who were not members of the Party at all, the Chief of Staff, Rohm, sought to secure the punishment of these oldest Party combatants.
The disagreements led to very serious exchanges of views between Chief of Staff and myself, and it was in these interviews that for the first time doubts of the loyalty of this man began to rise in my mind. Through for many months I had rejected every such idea, though previously through the years I had protected this man with my person in unswerving loyalty and comradeship, now gradually warnings which I received especially from my deputy in the leadership Party, Rudolf Hess began to induce suspicions which even with the best of will I was not able to stifle.
After the month of May there cold be no further doubt that the Chief of staff, Roehm, was busied with ambitious schemes which, if they were realized, could lead only to the most violent disturbances.
If during these months I hesitated again and again before taking a final decision that was due to two considerations:
1. I could not lightly persuade myself to believe that a relation which I thought to be founded on loyalty could be only a lie.
2. I still always cherished the secret hope that I might be able to spare the Movement my SA the shame of such a disagreement and that it might be possible to remove the mischief without severe conflicts. It must be confessed that the last days of May continuously brought to light more and more disquieting facts.
The Chief of Staff now began to alienate himself from the Party not only in spirit but also in his whole external manner of life. All the principles through which he had grown to greatness lost their validity. The life which the Chief of Staff and with a certain circle began to lead was from any National Socialist point of view intolerable. It was not only terrible that he himself and the circle of those of decency and modest behavior, it was still worse that now this poison began to spread in ever wider circles. The worst of all was that gradually out of a common disposition of character there began to form within the SA a party [Sete] which became the kernal of a conspiracy directed not only against the normal views of healthy people but also against the security of the State. The review which took place in the month of May of promotions in certain SA districts led to the horrible realization that men without regard to services rendered to the National Socialist Party or to the SA solely because they belonged tot he circle of those possessing this special disposition. Individual cases with which you are familiar such, for example, as that of the Standard Leader Schmidt in Breslau, disclosed a picture of conditions which could only be regarded as intolerable. My order to proceed against the offenders was followed in theory, but in fact it was sabotaged.
Gradually from amongst the leaders of the SA there emerged three group: a small group of elements which were held together through a like disposition, men who were ready for any action and who had given themselves blindly into the hands of the Chief of Staff, Roehm. The principal members of this group were the SA leaders Ernst from Berlin, Heines in Silesia, Hayn in Saxony, and Heyebreck in Pomerania. Besides these there was a second group of SA leaders who did not belong to the former group in spirit but felt themselves bound to obey the Chief of Staff, Roehm, solely from a simple conception of a soldier's duty. Over against these stood a third group of leaders who made no secret of their inner disgust and reprobation and were in consequence in part removed from responsible posts, in part thrust aside, and in many respects left out of account.
At the head of this group of SA leaders, who because of their fundamental decency had been hardly treated, stood the present Chief of Staff, Roehm, through the agency of an utterly corrupt swindler, a certain Her von A_, entered into relations with General Schleicher. General Schleicher was the man who gave external expression to the secret wish of the Chief of Staff, Roehm. He it was who defined the latter's views in concrete form and maintained that
1. The present regime in Germany cannot be supported.
2. Above all the army and all national associations must be united in a single band.
3. The only man who could be considered for such a position was the Chief of Staff, Roehm.
4. Herr von Papen must be removed and he himself would be ready to take the position of Vice Chancellor, and that in addition further important changes must be made in the Cabinet of the Reich. As always happens in such cases there now began the search after the men of the new Government, always under view that I myself should at least for the present be left in the position which I now hold.
The execution of these proposals of General von Schleicher was bound, as soon as Point 2 was reached, to come up against my unalterable opposition. Both from a consideration of the facts and from a consideration.