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Hitler Calls off Stahlhelm Fight

June 28, 1934
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Chancellor Adolf Hitler acted today to avert precipitating the crisis expected in the German situation by calling off Nazi storm troop attacks on the conservative, monarchistic Steel Helmet organization which, inspired by the von Papen Marburg speech and subsequent expressions of hostility to the Nazi regime, had openly leaned on the side of the conservative opponents of the radical Nazi wing.

Hitler assured Minister of Labor Seldte, who delivered the Stahlhelm to Hitler’s leadership when he joined the Hitler cabinet, that the organization would not be dissolved but would be permitted to continue as part of the National Socialist structure. The Stahlhelm, technically, has been incorporated in the storm troop army, but actually for the most part has remained distinctly apart and more or less hostile to Nazi command.

Hitler’s assurances to Seldte came only after the Stahlhelm had openly defied the Nazi leaders, whose sentiments were expressed yesterday in the Voelkischer Beobachter, Hitler’s own newspaper. The paper denounced the Stahlhelm as traitors to the Nazi movement and described the stabbing affray in Pomerania in which, a Nazi storm trooper allegedly was stabbed by a Stahlhelm leader as “a stab in the back.”

Embittered by the ordered dissolution of the Stahlhelm organization in the Arnsberg district, the Steel Helmet leaders today reminded the Nazis that-the continuance of the organization had been guaranteed by an agreement bearing the names of President von Hindenberg, Hitler, Seldte and Captain Roehm, storm troop chief. They bitterly assailed storm troop leaders demanding that the Stahlhelm be dissolved.

Hitler’s compromise in and avoidance of a “show-down” with the conservatives was believed here tonight to avert, for a while at least, the open alignment of warring factions. It is not considered, however, that by his action the Nazi leader has done more than obtain a temporary respite before the inevitable break in the curious consolidation of forces which now permit him to rule.


Vernon Bartlett, who recently returned from London, writing in the News Chronicle, warned yesterday that “next year the German people may be engaged in a civil war.”

Describing the latest developments, Bartlett declared that the German crisis has commenced but it is unwise to believe that Nazism is collapsing “even though Berlin is full of rumors of a Reichswehr coup d’etat which probably will be attempted within the next few months unless the more extreme Nazis are cleared out.”


Although the Nazi regime publicly denies that the brown-shirted storm troop army on which Hitler rode to power is to be disbanded, the troops yesterday were ordered to store their uniforms for a month during a “vacation” and not to wear them except on orders from their superiors.

It has been generally conceded that the storm troop army has not only constituted a difficulty for Germany in her foreign relations but has become a potent menace to the Nazi regime because of the extent to which the troops are under the influence of the Nazi radical leaders. Their commander, Captain Ernst Roehm, repeatedly warned the government that dissolution of the troops, or suspension of the pay of the storm troopers would have serious consequences.

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