Groener on banning the SA (1932)

In 1932, Reich minister for the interior Wilhelm Groener called for a ban on the SA (the Sturmabteilung, the NSDAP’s brown-shirted paramilitary wing). In this source, he offers his views on why the SA must be banned and the Nazis must be kept from government:

“On Monday or Tuesday, the Ministers of the Interior of the states are coming to a meeting about the SA. I have no doubt that we will master it – one way or the other. I think we have already drawn its poisonous fangs. One can make good tactical use of the endless declarations of legality made by the SA leaders, which they have handed to me in thick volumes. The SA is thereby undermining its credibility.

But there are still difficult weeks of political manoeuvring until the various Landtag elections are over. Then, one will have to start working towards making the Nazis acceptable as participants in a government because the movement, which will certainly grow, can no longer be suppressed by force. Of course, the Nazis must not be allowed to form a government of their own anywhere, let alone in the Reich. But in the states, an attempt will have to be made here and there to harness them in a coalition and to cure them of their utopias by constructive government work.

I can see no better way, for the idea of trying to destroy the Party through an anti-Nazi law on the lines of the old anti-Socialist law I would regard as a very unfortunate undertaking. With the SA, of course, it is different. They must be eliminated in any event, and ideally the so-called Iron Front as well.”