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Episode 1764             Episode 1766
Episode 1765

Röhm scandal
Sat, 2022-Mar-05 02:57 UTC
Length - 3:33

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Saturday, 5 March 2022 is Röhm scandal.

The Röhm scandal resulted from the public disclosure of Nazi politician Ernst Röhm's homosexuality by anti-Nazis in 1931 and 1932. According to historian Laurie Marhoefer, Röhm became the world's "first openly gay politician" as a result of the scandal. Röhm was an early member of the Nazi Party and was close to party leader Adolf Hitler. Röhm was homosexual, although he tried to separate his personal and political life. In the late 1920s, he lived in Bolivia where he wrote letters to a friend, Karl-Günther Heimsoth, in which he candidly discussed his sexual orientation. Röhm's double life began to fall apart when he returned to Germany in 1930 and was appointed leader of the Sturmabteilung (SA). Although the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the Communist Party of Germany supported the repeal of Paragraph 175, the German law criminalizing homosexuality, both parties used homophobia to attack their Nazi opponents and inaccurately portrayed the Nazi Party as dominated by homosexuals. Their goal was to prevent or delay the Nazi seizure of power, which ultimately occurred in early 1933.

Beginning in April 1931, the SPD newspaper Münchener Post published a series of front-page stories about alleged homosexuality in the SA, which turned out to be based on forgeries. SPD leaders set out to obtain authentic evidence of Röhm's sexuality and, if possible, convict him under Paragraph 175. Röhm was tried five times, but never convicted. During the German presidential election in March 1932, the SPD released a pamphlet edited by ex-Nazi Helmuth Klotz with Röhm's letters to Heimsoth. This second round of disclosures sparked a plot by some Nazis to murder Röhm, which fell through and resulted in additional negative press for the party.

The scandal came to national attention as a result of the beating of Klotz by Nazi deputies in the Reichstag building on 12 May 1932 as revenge for his publication of Röhm's letters. Many Germans saw this attack on democracy as more important than Röhm's personal life. The Nazis' electoral performance was not affected by the scandal, but it affected their ability to present themselves as the party of moral renewal. Hitler defended Röhm during the scandal. The latter became completely dependent on Hitler due to loss of support in the Nazi Party. Hitler had Röhm and his friends murdered in 1934, citing both his homosexuality and alleged treachery. This purge opened the systematic persecution of homosexual men in Nazi Germany.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 02:57 UTC on Saturday, 5 March 2022.

For the full current version of the article, see Röhm scandal on Wikipedia.

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