After coming to power in the early 1930’s, the greatest challenge to Hitler's survival during the early years of the Third Reich came from his own brown-shirted storm troopers, the SA, or also known as the Sturmabteilung. This paramilitary organization of the Nazi party was led by Ernst Rohm. Rohm was a World War I combat officer who had been with Hitler from the start. Rohm's storm troopers played a massive role in putting Hitler into power. Standing at the head of the Nazi political revolution, the SA fought against the Communists for control of Germany's streets and destroyed anyone who stood in Hitler's way for full control. But by the beginning of 1934, a year after Hitler's seizure of power, things started to changed. The SA's usefulness as a violent revolutionary force had effectively ended. To maintain his position as dictator of Germany, Hitler needed the support of the all-powerful German General Staff with its 100,000-strong Army which had the power to put an end to his dictatorship if they wanted to. The big problem for Hitler was that Rohm and SA saw themselves as the leaders of the new "people's army" that would replace the traditional Germany Army. Many of the German citizens hated the SA for their anarchist way of beating people up, drinking all day, and killing for fun as well as wanting to move away from the values and ways of a "traditional Germany".
Ernst Rohm was known for having Socialistic views as well as being anti-capitalist. However, He knew that if he wanted to keep his power and the power of the SA, he would need to support Hitler. Many of Hitler's close advisors did not like Rohm, mostly because of his views on politics as well as being a known homosexual among the Nazi Party. Still, Hitler respected him for helping him on his quest for power. Rohm also was one who was not afraid of Hitler. If he felt he needed to remove Hitler for the good of what they called the "Revolution," he would have no problem doing it.
Hitler was informed of the strong words Rohm had for him, and while Hitler considered him a close ally, he knew that if he wanted to eliminate everyone who posed a threat to his dictatorship, Rohm and his SA of nearly 3 million had to be dealt with as well as anyone else that could be a problem for him. Because the German people already hated the SA, Hitler's plot to assassinate those who he felt a threat to him came together even easier. To make sure that he had the support of the 100,000 strong German Army, Hitler made a pact to ensure them that if Rohm and other SA leaders were removed, the SA would be under the control of the German army, and they would be able to grow stronger. They agreed, and what was known to be "Operation Hummingbird" was beginning to take hold.
At around 6:30 am on June 30th, Hitler flew to Munich to put down the SA rebellion and confront Rohm and top SA leaders who were gathered at the resort town of Bad Wiessee near Munich near dawn on June 30th.
At 10 a.m, Hitler called one of his top-ranking officers, Goring in Berlin and gave him the code word "Kolibri" (hummingbird) which signaled a full go-ahead for the purge. This unleashed a wave of murderous violence by the SS in Berlin and 20 other cities. SS execution squads along with the Gestapo and Goring's private police roared through the streets hunting down SA leaders and anyone else on the prepared enemies list
Erich Kempka, was Hitler's chauffeur . In 1946 he gave an interview where he described what happened when Hitler arrived at the Hotel Hanselmayer that night. "Hitler entered Rohm's bedroom alone with a whip in his hand. Behind him were two detectives with pistols at the ready. He spat out the words; "Rohm, you are under arrest."
Although the Nazi Party Confirmed the death of about 77 people, who they said were traitors, The real number is not known due to the fact that obituaries were burned, and the Nazi Party was in charge of reporting the death toll. Many people argue that the real death toll of the Night of the long knives is in the hundreds. Hitler sold the story that members of the SA were traitors and that was the reason for their execution.
"If anyone reproaches me and asks why I did not resort to the regular courts of justice, then all I can say is this: In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I became the supreme judge of the German people!...It was no secret that this time the revolution would have to be bloody; when we spoke of it we called it the 'Night of the Long Knives.' Everyone must know for all future time that if he raises his hand to strike the State, then certain death is his lot!"