When the Nazi Party was formed after World War I, the Nazis organized a paramilitary unit to protect their rallies. The unit was named the Sturmabteilung, but it was also known as the SA. The SA soldiers were known as the stormtroopers of the Nazi Party. A small branch of the SA, the Schutzstaffel, also known as the SS, was led by Heinrich Himmler.
When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, the SA's power grew. They had their own Special Weapons Division, led by Ernst Kaufmann. The best scientists of Germany, like Arnim Zola, worked in the SA weapons testing facility in Kummersdorf.
In 1934, to gain support from the German Army for his regime, Adolf Hitler ordered the assassinations of all higher officers of the SA. That purge later became known as the Night of the Long Knives. Himmler used the situation to make the SS an independent organization, while Johann Schmidt assassinated Kaufmann and took over his weapons testing program.
- In reality, the SA was never involved in special weapons research. The Weapons Testing Ground at Kummersdorf was controlled by the Wehrmacht.
- In the limited comic book series Red Skull: Incarnate, Johann Schmidt was a member of the Sturmabteilung before he became Adolf Hitler's bodyguard.