The Night of the Long Knives: Forty-Eight Hours That Changed the History of the World

Overview

Many wonder how an entire nation could allow Adolf Hitler—a mediocre army corporal and failed landscape painter—to become the architect of the most calamitous events of the twentieth century. But few know that Hitler’s fateful transition from ambitious demagogue to Europe’s most vicious tyrant occurred on an ordinary Saturday—June 30, 1934—through a little-known event that would come to be called “The Night of the Long Knives.”
 
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Overview

Many wonder how an entire nation could allow Adolf Hitler—a mediocre army corporal and failed landscape painter—to become the architect of the most calamitous events of the twentieth century. But few know that Hitler’s fateful transition from ambitious demagogue to Europe’s most vicious tyrant occurred on an ordinary Saturday—June 30, 1934—through a little-known event that would come to be called “The Night of the Long Knives.”
 
In The Night of the Long Knives, Paul R. Maracin has painstakingly pieced together the scattered and intentionally obscured elements of this fascinating story of deceit, intrigue, and mass murder that has as yet received little attention from historians.
 
First came the burning of the Reichstag—Germany’s parliament—an event that Hitler’s government blamed on subversives. Hermann Göring appeared on the scene with an arrest list containing the names and addresses of every “enemy of the state,” a list that Hitler and his cronies had been preparing for months.
 
Hitler himself arrested the principal victim at Bad Wiessee when he burst into the hotel room of Ernst Röhm, revolver in hand. Röhm was the head of the brownshirts—the Nazis’ three-million-member private army—and thus one of Hitler’s most dangerous rivals in the Nazi party. Soon after, Reinhard Heydrich—a chief architect of the Final Solution—and Hermann Göring began a massacre in Berlin, while Hitler sat by the phone, checking names off the list as they were killed.
 
This is the story of the events leading up to that awful night and its most horrifying effects.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hitler's June 1934 purge of the Storm Troopers (the SA)-known as the Night of the Long Knives-did indeed change the world, eliminating SA head Ernst Rehm and other "enemies of the party" and consolidating Hitler's power. But the events of that night take up only a few chapters of Maracin's account. Much of the rest of the book describes the background of the Nazi Party's key players-Hitler, Gering, Himmler, for example-whose lives are already well known. The final section of the book details the last days of WWII. Maracin, a freelance writer who relies exclusively on secondary sources, is accurate in his account of events-as he points out, the Nazis were probably responsible for the Reichstag fire that later served as their excuse to launch the purge-but he fails to provide any new information or perspective, and his analysis is too often superficial. For example, the leading Nazis, he writes, "were essentially all losers" none of whom could "satisfactorily earn a living as a civilian for a sustained period of time." B&w photos. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The title refers to the night of Saturday, June 30-Sunday, July 1, 1934, when members of the SS and the Gestapo killed Ernst Roehm and other leaders of his Sturmabteilung (SA) "Brown Shirts," which was the Nazi Party's private army. Other high-ranking officials and civilians were also eliminated during this bloody purge, removing any serious rivals to Adolf Hitler and to the military, which soon pledged itself to the German Chancellor. This event was thus the culmination of Hitler's consolidation of power. Longtime criminal investigator Maracin provides another analysis of this incomprehensibly brutal event that seems somewhat unfocused; more space is given to descriptions of the main protagonists than to the actual operation. Interesting historical bits, such as a near-meeting between Hitler and Churchill in April 1932, seem like filler. A more extensive discussion of the actual event is in Max Gallo's The Night of the Long Knives. Maracin's book is suitable for larger World War II and German history collections.-Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599210704
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2007
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 683,651
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Maracin is a former criminal investigator with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. He lives in San Diego, California.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 22, 2009

    network of Hitler and his malevolent henchmen

    Maracin's popular account of the infamous Night of the Long Knives when Hitler and his henchmen murdered political rivals and numerous private German citizens who had incurred his anger or suspicions for one reason or another; in some cases, something as normal and transient as a news article. In charting the background leading up to the well-coordinated murderous purge of most persons in Germany who would even remotely resist Hitler's seizure of power, Maracin draws profiles of Hitler's top accomplices (e. g., Gobbels, Himmler) and of the major victims too. A retired criminal investigator, Maracin gives a broad view of this few hours during which Hitler laid the ground for his eventual dictatorship, showing how the many actors played their part so as to reveal Hitler's ruthlessness and dementia and the web of evil he wove.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2004

    What is this book really about?

    The book aims to describe the Night of the Long Knives, yet spends the majority of its pages concentrating on background information or the events of WWII that follow. Maracin's book fails in its attempt to bring anything new to the table and relies on outdated and less than scholarly works to build its arguement. No footnotes/endnotes, either. If you know nothing of the Third Reich, this one might be a good place for background, but it's not going to be anything to write home about for any historians. Maracin's probably a good article writer for magazines, but his hanging one liners at the end of each chapter grew tedious after the first or second time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2004

    An Outstanding presentation

    The author drew me into the story as if it was happening right now. He has a wonderful flow and it's a very easy read. I would recommend it to any WWII or history aficionado.

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