To a lesser extent, the Sturmabteilung (SA), a Nazi paramilitary organization, remained somewhat autonomous within the party itself. The SA evolved out of the remnants of the Freikorps movement of the post-WWI years. The Freikorps were nationalistic organizations primarily composed of disaffected, disenchanted and angry German combat veterans who believed that their government had betrayed Germany and sold them out by surrendering and submitting to the humiliating terms of the Versailles Treaty. The Freikorps were in opposition to the new Weimar Republic. Ernst Röhm was commander of the Bavarian Freikorps and was given the nickname ‘The Machine Gun King of Bavaria’ because he was responsible for storing and issuing illegal machine guns to Freikorps units in Bavaria. He later became commander of the SA. During the 1920s and 1930s, the SA functioned as a private militia that Hitler used to intimidate rivals and disrupt the meetings of competing political parties, especially those of the Social Democrats and the Communists. Also known as the ‘brownshirts’ or ‘stormtroopers’, the SA became notorious for their street battles with the Communists. The violent confrontations between the two groups contributed to the destabilization of Germany’s inter-war experiment with democracy, the Weimar Republic. In June 1932, one of the worst months of political violence, there were over 400 street battles, resulting in 82 deaths. This very destabilization had been crucial in Hitler’s rise to power, however, not least because it convinced many Germans that once Hitler became chancellor, the endemic street violence would end.
I’ve been guilty of Nazi-based hyperbole versus the right too (and frankly I think they deserved it) but that aside the idea that Nazism was somehow liberalism is the sort of nonsense a phony like Rush Limbaugh traffics in. Limbaugh knows way too much to actually believe this, but he knows his lemming-like audience accepts his word as gospel (trust me, I’ve seen their emails and blog comments, nary an independent thought from that crowd).
Nazism was “National Socialism” in name only. Hitler was interested in raw power via brute force, he was concerned with consolidating power for himself via his party. It began in his own country and spread to his designs on the rest of the world. He didn’t care about anything that could remotely be called liberalism. His was an uber-authoritarian view of the world, the ultimate command and control structure.
Conservatives would really do themselves and our public discourse a great favor by even cracking open an elementary level history book on occasion instead of inflicting us with their verbal diarrhea.