Ernst Röhm (left) with his murderer Adolf Hitler
On 20 June 1934, following orders by Adolf Hitler, SS units execute all important leaders of the „Sturmabteilung“, including SA Chief of Staff Ernst Röhm, a close companion of the „Führer“ for many years. Publicly Hitler maintains that Röhm was planning a putsch. However, in reality he means to put an end to the growing power of the SA (4 million members). Besides Röhm's so-called plan differences existed between Hitler and Röhm over the further development of the „National Socialist revolution“ in Germany. In all, 200 people become casualties of the „cleansing action“, including some political opponents of Hitler who did not even belong to the SA. Counted among the dead is former Reich Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher. Along with the SS, the Reich Army benefits from this bloody action. From the viewpoint of the leadership of the Reich Army, the exclusion of the SA eliminates its bitterest rival in the struggle to claim military leadership in the Reich.