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Stabschef SA
[[Image:Stabschef SA Version 2.svg Stabschef SA Version 3.svg|120px]]
Earlier (left) and later (right) command flag
Reichsadler der Deutsches Reich (1933–1945).svg
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-15282A, Ernst Röhm.jpg
Best known officeholder
Ernst Röhm
5 January 1931 – 1 July 1934
Sturmabteilung (SA) of Nazi Germany
Status Commanding officer of a paramilitary organization
Member of Oberste SA-Führung
Appointer Adolf Hitler
Formation 5 January 1931
First holder Ernst Röhm
Final holder Wilhelm Schepmann
Abolished 5 May 1945

Stabschef ([ʃtaːps.ʃɛf], "Chief of Staff") was an office and paramilitary rank in the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary stormtroopers associated with the Nazi Party. The rank is equivalent to the rank of Generaloberst in the German Army and to General in the US Army.[1]


The position of SA-Stabschef, not yet a rank, was established in 1929 to assist the Oberste SA-Führer (Supreme SA Leader)[2] with the administration of the fast-growing organization. Otto Wagener held the office under Oberste SA-Führer Franz Pfeffer von Salomon from 1928-1930, and effectively headed the SA from Hitler's assumption of the title Oberste SA-Führer in August until Ernst Röhm replaced him in January 1931.[3]

The actual SA rank of Stabschef was created by Röhm for himself in 1933 after Hitler became Chancellor. Although Hitler became the supreme commander of the stormtroopers in 1930, the day-to-day running of the organization was left to the Chief of Staff. Further, the men who held the rank of Stabschef after 1930 were the actual leaders of the SA.[4]

Office holders

The rank of Stabschef was held by three different people between 1931 and 1945 and was, in each case of succession, inherited due to the death of a predecessor. The following SA officers held the rank of Stabschef:

Stabschef Took office Left office Time in office Party Ref
Ernst Röhm
Röhm, ErnstErnst Röhm
5 January 19311 July 1934[lower-alpha 1] †3 years, 177 daysNSDAP[5]
Viktor Lutze
Lutze, ViktorViktor Lutze
1 July 19342 May 1943[lower-alpha 2] †8 years, 305 daysNSDAP[6]
Wilhelm Schepmann
Schepmann, WilhelmWilhelm Schepmann
2 May 19435 May 19452 years, 3 daysNSDAP[7]


Early insignia for Stabschef consisted of an oak leaf patch worn on the collar of the stormtrooper uniform. Photographic evidence shows Ernst Röhm wearing such an insignia in his early days as the SA Chief of Staff. As Röhm's authority increased, so did his insignia and by mid 1931 photographic evidence shows him wearing wreathed star that was designed after that of a Bolivian General's collar, due to Röhm’s previous military experience as a military adviser in Bolivia.

After 1933, the insignia for Stabschef consisted of a "crossed lances" pattern, wreathed by a half oak leaf circle. After 1934, the insignia was changed to a wreathed tri-foil oak leaf pattern similar to the SS rank insignia of Reichsführer-SS.[8] With the fall of Nazi Germany, the Sturmabteilung ceased to exist and with it the Stabschef.

Junior Rank
SA rank
Senior Rank
Oberster SA-Führer


  1. Executed during the Night of the Long Knives.
  2. Died in a car accident.

See also


  1. Campbell 1998, p. 163.
  2. McNab 2009, p. 15.
  3. McNab 2009, pp. 14, 15.
  4. Zentner & Bedürftig 1991, p. 937.
  5. McNab 2009, pp. 16, 18, 19.
  6. Hamilton 1984, p. 312.
  7. McNab 2009, p. 14.
  8. Flaherty 2004, p. 148.


  • Campbell, Bruce (1998). The SA Generals and The Rise of Nazism. The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0813120478. 
  • Flaherty, T. H. (2004) [1988]. The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life Books, Inc. ISBN 1 84447 073 3. 
  • Hamilton, Charles (1984). Leaders & Personalities of the Third Reich, Vol. 1. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0912138270. 
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-51-8. 
  • Zentner, Christian; Bedürftig, Friedemann (1997) [1991]. The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-3068079-3-0. 

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