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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Introducing the German SA

The Sturmabteilung (SA), also known as Brown Shirts, was the original muscle of the National Socialist Party when it was being formed up in the 1920s and 30s. Made up primarily by unemployed Germans and former soldiers, they took care of beating up and ejecting any hecklers or dissenters at their meetings in the Munich beer halls. As the party grew in power, they took a more offensive paramilitary role, disrupting the meetings of other parties and engaging them in street fights. Their low income background made them more radical in their ideology, favoring full socialism over more centrist economic policies. This eventually became a problem for Hitler who was trying to appeal to the bulk of the country. At its peak in 1934, the SA had about 3 million men, and had become a threat to the German Army as well as other wings of the Party such as the Schutzstaffel (SS) headed by Himmler. All this persuaded Hitler to have its leader Ernst Röhm and about 200 of his associates eliminated in what became know as 'The Night of the Long Knives'. After that, the SA was significantly downsized, with the SS rising in prominence. The SA nonetheless, continued to exist under new leadership. Among its subsequent activities, it harassed and engaged in violence against the Jewish community within Germany, with Kritsallnacht being a prime example of this. On the night of November 9, 1938, the SA destroyed over 7500 Jewish storefronts and 200 synagogues, damaged multiple cemeteries, arrested over 30,000 Jewish men, and killed several more. During the war, many of the SA men were drafted into the Army or were formed into SA-only units such as the 'Feldherrnhalle' Standarte Regiment, featured in Nazi propaganda films. These units began at the Regiment level, but grew to Division-size and even Corps-size. In the course of the war they were destroyed and reformed with new SA recruits several times over.

Atlantic German Brown Shirts - Part I
This is a harder set to find. The complete set includes Hitler as well as a jeep with a driver. If you get enough of these guys you could put together a nice parade scene. I am contemplating combining them with the Marx marching men, perhaps painted all in black. The only problem is that these guys are marching with the right foot forward, as opposed to the Marx men who are one step ahead... BTW, this set could be a bit controversial in some places because of the standard bearers, particularly in Germany, where the Nazi symbols are outlawed. 

Atlantic German Brown Shirts - Part II
Here is the rest of the set with the much harded to find Jeep and the Hitler figure. I must admit that this was one purchase that made me think twice. Not only because it was a bit pricey, but also because Hitler is definitely a character that I do not wish to glorify. In the end I made the purchse as he is certainly a key character in WWII, and also, with every other set I make an effort to find the missing figures so that I can show the complete set, so I decided I should treat this set the same way. 

2 comments:

  1. Hi TSG, back in 1979 I toured Italy and in one toyshop I found dozens of boxes of the Atlantic Mussolini and Lenin sets piled up on the counter but none of the Hitler or Chairman Mao sets. Much later I heard that they never put the Hitler sets on display but kept them behind the counter so that you had to ask for them. I don't think any of the sets were ever on sale in Germany, and the Mao set has always been the hardest to find.

    Best wishes, Brian

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  2. Hey Brian, I can see how that was the case. I would love to go one day to Italy and stock up on Atlantic figures there. Hope you picked up a few Mussolini and Lenin sets when you had the chance!

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