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Franz Ritter von Epp (16 Oktober 1868 in München - 31 December 1946) was a regular officer in the Imperial German Army of the early part of the twentieth century, who rose during the First World War to the rank of General-Major
He was a very early member of the Nazi party, and in 1920 was the commanding officer of Ernst Roehm, who would later achieve the supreme command of the SA, the military arm of the party. When it became necessary for the part to purchase a newspaper in order to publicise their political creed, it was von Epp who made available some 60,000 marks from army secret funds to purchase the Volkische Beobachter, which would become the daily mouthpiece of the party.
As the SA expanded, it became an armed band of several hundred thousand men, whose function was to protect and guard Nazi rallies and to disrupt those of other political parties. Some of its leaders, parricularly Roehm, visualised the SA as supplanting the regular army when Hitler cam to power. To this end a department was set up under von Epp, called the Wehrpolitisches Amt (Army political office). Nothing came of this, as the role of the SA was dramatically recast after the Night of the Long Knives.
Ritter von Epp's final notable historical action occurred on March 9, 1933, two weeks before the Reichtag passed the enabling act which granted Hitler dictatorial powers. On the orders of Hitler and Frick he turned out the Government of Bavaria and set up a Nazi regime. He retired before the outbreak of the Second World War.
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