The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/08/27

Preparation for war through the SA training program was
commenced in Germany as early as 1933, but the scope of this
program was not made public because it constituted a
violation of the Treaty of Versailles. The strict secrecy
with which the program was surrounded is shown by an order
from the Chief of Staff of the SA dated 25 July 1933 (D-44):

     "Further to my instruction Z II 1351/33 dated 11 July
     1933, I find cause to ask all SA authorities to
     exercise the greatest caution with regard to any
     publicity given to the SA service not only in the
     press, but also in the information and news sheets of
     the individual SA units.

     "Only during the last few days, the Reich Ministry of
     the Interior, at the request of the Foreign Office, has
     given strict instructions to all Reich authorities
     according to which the most severe control is to be
     exercised on all publications which might give other
     countries an opening to construe German infringements
     of the terms of the Versailles Treaty.

     "As is known from the Geneva negotiations, our
     opponents have piled up material collected in Germany
     and submitted to them, which they use against us on
     every occasion during the conferences.
     "From this point of view, the information sheets
     circulating among the subordinate SA units cause the
     liveliest concern. I hold all higher SA leaders
     responsible that any such internal information sheets
     appearing in the district of their command are
     submitted to the most stringent control before they go
     into print, and I feel compelled to draw attention to
     the threat of a prosecution for treason, pronounced by
     official instructions issued in the last few days, in
     cases where such reports, printed no doubt in good
     faith, are publicized and therefore exposed to the
     danger of falling into the wrong hands.
     "On principle, pictures of the technical specialized
     units of the SA and SS, in particular of the signals,
     motorized and possibly also of the air wings which now
     exist outside these formations, are forbidden, such
     pictures enabling other coun-
                                                  [Page 156]
     tries to prove the alleged formation of technical troop
     units." (D-44)
Secrecy was also required in the order assigning a Wehrmacht
officer to the SA in January, 1934, to assist in the SA
Training Program (2823-PS). A memorandum from SA
Headquarters dated 20 January 1934 designates an officer of
the Wehrmacht to assist in the military training of SA
members and goes on to provide:
     "For the purpose of disguise, Lt. Col. Auleb will wear
     SA uniform with insignia of rank according to more
     detailed regulations of the Supreme SA leaders". (2823-

The military training program of the 3A was for many years
conducted under the guise of a sports program. This plan was
created by Hitler as early as 1920 in founding what he
called the National Socialist Sport Troop (SA). Hitler's
declaration at the time of the creation of this sports
organization was as follows:

     "The Sport Troop *** is but the bearer of the military
     thought of a free people." (3215-PS)

The fact that the so-called Sports Program was in reality
closely associated with and in fact a means of providing
military training for German youth, is shown by the
following characterization of the program by Lutze, the
Chief of Staff of the SA, in an article written in 1939

     "*** This goal setting also served for the decrees of
     the Fuehrer to the SA of 1935 regarding the renewing
     of, in 1936 regarding the evaluation of, in 1937
     regarding the yearly repetitive exercises of the SA
     sport badge. Parallel to this decree of the Fuehrer for
     the physical betterment and military training the
     organizational and development missions within the SA
     were met. Out of the conception that the preservation
     and intensification of the military power of our people
     must especially be requested by military and physical
     exercises, the training vas especially carried out
     systematically in these fields. In 25 schools of the
     troop and in 3 Reichsfuehrer schools of the SA yearly
     22,000 to 25,000 officers and non-coms were trained
     since 1934 in special educational courses until they
     possessed the education and examination certificates.
     In clearly outlined training directives the training
     goals which had to be achieved yearly were given and at
     the same time the yearly Reich competitive contests
     were established. Hand in hand the training of the
     Fuehrer Corps and corresponding organizational measures
     and the training at the front proceeded on the broadest
     basis." (3215-PS)

                                                  [Page 157]
The military nature of the Sports Program is likewise
demonstrated by the tests and standards required to obtain
the sports award. The Organization Book of the Party lists
these tests as follows (2354-PS):

     "The performance test includes three groups of
          Body exercises,
          Military sports,
          Topographical (naval) services.
     "Group I: Body exercises;
          100-meter race,
          Throwing of hand grenades,
          3000-meter race.
     "Group II: Military sports;
          25-Kilometer march with pack,
          Firing of small-caliber arms,
          Aimed throwing of hand grenades,
          200-meter cross-country race with gas masks over 4
          Swimming or bicycle riding,
          Basic knowledge of first aid in case of accidents.
     "Group III: Terrain service;
          Terrain observation,
          Estimate of terrain,
          Estimate of distance,
          Observing and reporting,
          Utilization of terrain and general behavior in
          terrain service." (2354-PS)

In 1939, the SA Sports Program was formally recognized, in a
decree issued by Hitler, as a military training program. At
the same time the SA was openly declared to be an agency for
pre- and post-military training, that is, military training
prior to and following military service in the Wehrmacht

The decree provided in part as follows:

     "Der Fuehrer. In amplification of my decree of 16
     February 1935, and 18 March 1937, regarding the
     acquisition of the SA sport insignia and the yearly
     repetitive exercises I lift the SA sport insignia to
     the SA military insignia and make it as a basis for pre-
     imposed military training.
                                                  [Page 158]
     "I designate the SA as standard bearer of this
     "These soldiers who honorably were discharged out of
     the active military service and who were serviceable
     soldiers are to be placed into the Army ranks for the
     retaining of their spiritual and physical energy and to
     be attached to the SA insofar as no other organization
     of the Party (the SS, NSKK, and SFK) have received them
     for special training." (2383-PS)

The SA military training program was not confined to its
members, but extended to the entire youth of Germany. Thus
the Chief of Staff of the SA, in re-establishing the sports
program in 1935, declared (2354-PS):

"In order to give conscious expression to the fostering of a
valiant spirit in all parts of the German people, I further
decide that this SA Sport Insignia can also be earned and
worn by persons who are not members of the movement, inasfar
as they comply racially and ideologically with the National
Socialist requirements". (2354-PS)

The pamphlet entitled "The SA", shows that responsibility
for conducting this nation-wide program was lodged in the
operational main office of the SA (2168-PS). According to
the pamphlet it was the duty of this office to --

     "Prepare the fighting training of the bodies of all
     Germans capable of bearing arms (Wehrfahig) and as
     preparation therefor must organize the execution of
     corporal exercises (basic physical training) and sports
     achievements, so that the widest stratum of the
     population is laid hold upon and will be kept in
     condition to bear-arms (Wehrtuchtig) both physically
     and spiritually, as well as ideologically in character
     up to greatest old age." (2168-PS)

The extent to which the SA carried the military training
program into the lives of the German people may be seen from
the following excerpt from "Das Archiv" (3215-PS):

     "Next to the companies of the SA were the sport badge
     associations (SAG) in which all the militaristic
     nationals entered who were prepared to voluntarily
     answer the call of the SA for the preservation of
     military proficiency. Up until now around 800,000
     nationals outside of the SA could successfully undergo
     the physical betterment as well as the political
     military training of the SA on the basis of the SA
     sport badge.

     "As pronounced proof heretofore it may be shown that
     alone 13,400 officers and around 30,000 non-coms in the
                                                  [Page 159]
     Corps of the Wehrmacht from its (SA) own ranks stand at
     the disposal of the SA and can be employed at any time
     for the direction of SA military forces ***". (3215-PS)

In 1939, the extension of the SA military program to non-SA
members was officially recognized by Hitler. This occurred
in the ordinance for the execution of the Hitler decree of
16 January 1942:
     "Every German man who has completed his seventeenth
     year and who shows preliminary requirements for
     honorary service with the weapon, has the customary
     duty to win the SA military insignia in preparation for
     military service.
     "During the years in the Hitler Youth following his
     sixteenth year, he is to prepare himself for the
     winning of the SA military insignia." (2383-PS)

The SA, in its military training program, was no mere
marching and drilling society. It embraced every phase of
the technique of modern warfare. This appears clearly from
the articles on military training which appear throughout
the issues of "Der Mann". The titles of these articles
indicate their substance. The following are a few examples:

     Article entitled: "Defense Platoon and the Company in
     Battle" (with diagrams), 27 January 1934, p. 10.
     Article entitled: "Die Luftwaffe" (with diagrams on
     Aircraft Gunnery), 3 February 1934, p. 7.
     Article entitled: "Pistol Shooting," 17 February 1934,
     Article entitled: "Orientation in Terrain," 10 March
     Article entitled: "First Aid -- ABC," 17 March 1934, p.
     Article entitled: "We go into the Terrain" (relating to
     map study and map symbols), 24 March 1934, p. 7.
     Article entitled: "What every SA Man must know about
     Aviation," 21 April 1934, p. 13.
     Article entitled: "Expert firing in German National
     Sport" (relating to small caliber firing), 12 May 1934,
     P. 7.
     Article entitled: "Chemical Warfare," 19 May 1934, p.
     Article entitled: "What every SA Man should know about
     Aviation," 19 May 1934, p. 12.
     Article entitled: "Flame Throwers on the Front," 26 May
     1934, p. 14.
     Article entitled: "Modern Battle Methods in the View of
     the SA Man," 2 June 1934, p. 14.
                                                  [Page 160]
     Article entitled: "The Significance of Tanks and Motors
     in Modern War," 4 August 1934, p. 13.
     Article entitled: "The Rifle 98," 8 September 1934, p.
     Article entitled: "The Combat Battalion" (with
     description of tactical missions and maneuvers of the
     battalion), 15 September 1934, p. 7.
     Article entitled: "Air Strategy and Air Tactics," 29
     September 1934, p. 7.
     Article entitled: "Gas Protection and the Gas Mask," 6
     October 1934, p. 7.
     Article entitled: "The Pistol 08" (with diagram of the
     pistol, its nomenclature and field stripping), 6
     October 1934, p.7.
     Article entitled: "Training the SA in Map and Terrain
     Study," 24 November 1934, p. 4.
     Article entitled: "The Defense," with subheading "What
     does the War of Tomorrow look like?" 1 December 1934,
     Series of articles by a Wehrmacht officer entitled:
     "Training in the Army of the Third Reich," beginning on
     12 January 1935, p. 13.
     Series of articles entitled: "Construction and
     Composition of various units of the Modern Army,"
     written by a Brigadier General in the Wehrmacht --
     beginning 26 January 1935, p. 15, and ending 20 April
     1935, p. 16.
     Article entitled: "Small caliber firing" (with sketches
     of ammunition, rifles, targets, and aiming technique),
     26 January 1935, p. 19.
     Article entitled: "Armies of Tomorrow" (discussion of
     anticipated developments in motorized and mechanized
     warfare. One section of the article is devoted to
     "Plans of foreign countries with respect to motorized
     armies"), 30 March 1935, p. 14.

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