I was in Berlin during the Röhm Putsch*. Tension hung over the city. Soldiers in battle array were encamped in the Tiergarten. Trucks full of police holding rifles cruised the streets. There was clearly an air of "something cooking" similar to that of July 20, 1944, which I would likewise experience in Berlin.
The next day Goering was presented as the savior of the situation in Berlin. Late on the morning of July 1, Hitler returned after making a series of arrests in Munich, and I received a telephone call from his adjutant: "Have you any new designs? If so, bring them here!" That suggested that Hitler's entourage was trying to distract him by turning his mind to his architectural interests.
Hitler was extremely excited and, as I believe to this day, inwardly convinced that he had come through a great danger. Again and again he described how he had forced his way into the Hotel Hanselmayer in Wienssee -- not forgetting, in the telling, to make a show of his courage: "We were unarmed, imagine, and didn't know whether or not those swine might have armed guards to use against us." The homosexual atmosphere had disgusted him: "In one room we found two naked boys!" Evidently he believed that his personal action had averted a disaster at the last minute: "I alone was able to solve this problem. No one esle!"
His entourage tried to deepen his distaste for the executed SA leaders by assiduously reporting as many details as possible about the intimate life of Röhm and his following. Brückner showed Hitler the menus of the banquets held by Röhm and his clique, which had purportedly been found in the Berlin SA headquarters. The menus listed a fantastic variety of courses, including foreign delicacies such as frogs' legs, birds' tongues, shark fins, seagulls' eggs, along with vintage French wines and the best champagnes. Hitler commented sarcastically: "So, here, we have those revolutionnaries! And our revolution was too tame for them."
After paying a call on the President, he returned over-joyed. Hindenburg had approved his operation, he said, saying something like: "When circumstances require it, one must not shrink from the most extreme action. One must be able to spill blood also."
*The Blood Purge of June 30, 1934. The official version was that Ernst Röhm, leader of the SA, was planning a putsch; hence the name -- Translator's note.
Source: Inside the Third Reich, Albert Speer, London: The Orion Books, 1970, p. 90
Photo: Hitler and Speer at Obersalzberg looking at a plan for the new Opera of Linz.