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Nazi paramilitary organization that played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power. The SA was founded by Hitler in Munich in 1921 and drew its early membership from the Freikorps. Outfitted in brown uniforms after the fashion of the Italian Fascist Blackshirts, the SA protected Nazi Party meetings and assaulted political opponents. From 1931 it was headed by Ernst Röhm, and by 1932 it had grown to a force of more than 400,000. Röhm wanted to merge the regular army with the SA under his leadership, but Hitler had become wary of the organization's growing power. In 1934 he ordered a blood purge of the SA, which became known as the Night of the Long Knives. Thereafter the SA was reduced to a minor political role.
Variants of SA
SA in full Sturmabteilung (German: Assault Division) known as Storm Troopers or Brownshirts
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on SA, visit Britannica.com.