The Night of the Long Knives

Hitler was democratically elected as chancellor of Germany in 1932, and began serving in 1933. At the time, most of the power lay with the president, Hindenburg, and Hitler was seen as just another post-WWI chancellor, and not particularly special.

In 1933, the Reichstag, the German parliament, burned to the ground and a Dutch communist was blamed. History cannot say for certain whether the Reichstag fire was started by SS troops or by communist elements, but the next morning Hitler had ready an impassioned plea to president Hindenburg asking for emergency powers, for the power to declare martial law, in order to save Germany from a communist takeover. Hindenburg gave him those powers, and Hitler began his first purge, eliminating many who opposed him.

Fast forward to June 30, 1934, and Hitler is now ready for his second round of mass, premeditated murder: The Night of the Long Knives. Hitler feared that the leadership of the SA -- the street brigade he'd used to terrorize the opposition during his rise to power -- was threatening his legitimacy with its homosexuality and street behavior, and thus decided to eliminate them all in the cover of night. Primarily, he suspected that the leader of the SA, Rohm, was planning a coup against him.

On the night of June 30, Hitler personally oversaw the arrest of the SA leadership, while also simultaneously ordering the extrajudicial assassination of as many as 1,000 individuals who had opposed him or that he suspected could oppose him in the future.

One month after Hitler's second purge, president Hindenburg conveniently died, and Hitler merged the chancellery with the presidency, becoming absolute, unopposed ruler of Germany. Indeed, the formula for fascism has always been the same; it has almost always employed a Hegelian dialectic: thesis, antithesis, synthesis (problem, reaction, solution.) Hitler created a problem, awaited the expected response, and then swept in to emerge as savior.

Since the Benghazi attacks of 9/11, many prominent military servicemen have been forced to resign in disgrace or have been removed from their posts. Petraeus, John Allen, William Ward, Carter Ham, Charles Gaouette, Jeffery Sinclair, Joseph Darlak, and James Mattis have been removed from their high level positions over flimsy allegations.

The questions becomes: Does Obama expect a coup against him during his second term? Or are our top military brass all degenerates?