Ernst Röhm was one of the key architects behind the rise of the Nazi Party. From 1919 until 1923, following the defeat of Germany in the First World War, Röhm served in the Freikorps and then NSDAP – the Nazi Party. He served as the party’s patron, promoter and watchdog, and helped found the SA, the thuggish workforce behind Nazi political activity leading up to 1933. It has been stated that the rise to power of both Hitler and the Nazi Party would not have happened without Röhm’s organisational skill, authority and influence.
He took part in the Beer hall putsch in 1923, but was sufficiently disillusioned by 1925 with the prospects for Nazism that he stood for the Reichtag instead. Röhm wrote and published his memoirs in 1928 – entitled A Traitor’s Story – the year he both resumed working for the Nazis and left to serve in the Bolivian army for two years. Röhm proved to be an eloquent writer and he was candid about his experiences and his relationship with the Führer. He wrote, ‘Hitler and I were linked by ties of sincere friendship.’ Little did Röhm know where that ‘friendship’ would end.