Sturm Cigarette Company

An advertisement from January 1932, when the Nazis were trying to win power, showing a uniformed SA member, the Nazi hakenkreuz, the SA logo, and an anti-monopoly political slogan.

The Sturm Cigarette Company (Sturm Zigaretten, Storm Cigarettes or Military Assault Cigarettes) was a cigarette company created by the Nazi Party's Sturmabteilung (SA).[1] The sale of its cigarettes provided the SA with operating funds[2][3] and a channel for political messaging.[4][better source needed] Coercion and violence were used to increase sales.[3][5]

Founding

During the 1920s, many cigarette firms in Germany closed, and the market was increasingly dominated by a few large and highly automated manufacturers. By 1933, the Nazi party was attacking the tobacco industry for having foreign and Jewish connections.[2]

In 1929, Arthur Dressler cut a deal with the SA: together, they would found a cigarette manufacturer, and SA members would smoke its cigarettes, with the SA getting a royalty[6] of 15–20 pfennig for every thousand cigarettes sold[8] (0.45–0.6% of sales price, given most cigarettes sold at 3​13 pfennig).[3][9] At the time, the SA charged no membership fees and was thus financially dependent on donations from the Nazi party leadership; an independent income source would have been very welcome.[2]

Approached through Saxon Nazi party leader Manfred von Killinger, SA-Stabschef Otto Wagener was interested and willing to put money towards an SA cigarette factory. The Nazi party offered 30,000 reichsmarks in start-up money and, as this was nowhere near enough, Nazi party supporter Jacques Bettenhausen invested another 500,000 reichsmarks.[10] The Zigarettenfirma Sturm was founded, and registered as the Cigarettenfabrik Dressler.[7]

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