Nazi Germany – The Munich Putsch

The Munich Putsch was a failed coup by Adolf Hitler in November of 1923. The word putsch in German means to push and it meant use violent force to overthrow a government; a coup. Hitler was encouraged by Benito Mussolini’s march to Rome during October 1922. He wanted to replicate the same in Germany and expected this coup to be as successful as the march to Rome. This coup was against the Weimar Republic.

The Story Behind the Coup

In the early 20th Century there were many beer parlours in the large cities of Germany. Hundreds of people gathered here to socialise and the topics for discussion were politics and social issues. One of the biggest beer parlours was Bürgerbräukeller in Munich. The most talked topic was the Treaty of Versailles. Most Germans felt that the Treaty of Versailles was completely unfair to the Germans and the public wanted a change in the leadership.

 

Hitler was in the army during the WWI and he remained in Munich after the World War. Under Captain Karl Mayr , Hitler studied a lot on Nationalism and was the agent for Bavarian Reichswehr. Hitler joined German Worker’s Party and realised that the ideals of this party agreed with his thoughts and he soon worked to the top position. On September 23rd 1923, due to violence in the country the Prime Minister Eugen von Knilling declared emergency. The state commissioner, state police and the general were the power spots. It was against this that Hitler raised his protests.

 

The Coup

  • If the September of 1923 was tumultuous the November of 1923 was termed as the height of hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic.
  • On 8th November Gustav Kahr, the state commissioner was giving a speech to about 300 people in the beer hall. Hitler surrounded this hall and a machine gun was set in the auditorium.
  • Hitler was surrounded by around 20 people and he fired at the ceiling, jumped on the chair and yelled, “The national revolution has broken out! The hall is filled with six hundred men. Nobody is allowed to leave."
  • He went on to stay that the government was deposed and that a new government would be formed.
  • Kahr and his accomplices were taken to another room and Hitler came back to the people to get their support.
  • Historians say that it was magical because all in the hall shouted out their complete support to Hitler and this reverberated in the adjacent room for the leaders to hear.
  • They were left with little choice but listen to Hitler.

 

The mistake Hitler did was to leave the hall to look into a crisis elsewhere. After Hitler’s departure Kahr and his associated were let off and then it was days of confusion. Hitler and his men had not really planned the take over and the ruling party got the better of them as they had the police and army on their side. Therefore this Munich Putsch or the Beer Hall Putsch failed and Hitler was jailed.

 

Though Hitler was jailed the Munich Putsch was a success for Hitler’s personal growth. He became extremely popular and he took the opportunity to propagate his views to all corners of the country. The time he spent in jail he wrote the Mein Kampf where he detailed the way Germany should be governed and this also was well received. After coming out of the jail Hitler taking over became very easy and that was what he exactly did.

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