On This Day – 8 November 1923 – The Beer Hall Putsch


The date, the 8th of November, 1923 On this day Adolf Hitler attempted to overthrow
the German government. Adolf Hitler, the leader of the National Socialist
German Worker’s Party, the NSDAP or Nazi Party, had quickly risen through the German
Worker’s Party, the Nazi party’s predecessor, after initially infiltrating it for German
Army Intelligence. Many, including Hitler, had been appalled
by Germany’s surrender at the end of the First World War, and deeply resented the conditions
imposed on Germany by the Treaty Of Versailles, which demanded costly reparations and territorial
concessions. He agreed with much of the sentiment of the
German Worker’s Party, and after assuming leadership of it, Hitler became known as a
gifted and passionate orator who would speak to thousands about fighting Marxism and, overturning
the Treaty of Versailles, and curtailing the rights of Jews. Many of the party’s leadership considered
him too overbearing, and attempted to oust Hitler in June 1921 by merging with the German
Socialist Party. Hitler was however formally elected party
chairman on 28 July 1921, with 533 to 1, replacing the party’s founder, Anton Drexler. Inspired by Italian Fascist Benito Mussolini’s
successful March on Rome at the end of October 1922, and put under pressure by his scheduled
mass meetings, to begin at the end of September, being banned, Hitler sought to March on Munich,
the capitol of the Bavarian state. The state had been put under the near autonomous
and total control of Gustav Von Kahr on the 26th of September 1923, following a period
of growing turbulence that saw widespread rioting, political violence, and drops in
the standard of living. On the evening of the 8th of November, during
the height of crippling inflation and further national turmoil, Hitler and other prominent
NSDAP figures, along with 600 of the party’s supporters, formed into a paramilitary group
called the SA, or Stormtroopers, marched on the Bürgerbräukeller, an enormous beer hall,
where Kahr was making a speech in front of 3,000 people. Kahr was forced from the auditorium at gunpoint
and Hitler gave a short speech in which he won the support of the crowd, and forced Kahr
and the other two members of Bavaria’s triumvirate, police head Colonel Hans Ritter von Seisser,
and Reichswehr General Otto von Lossow, to offer their support. Lossow, Seisser, and Kahr were then allowed
to go free, enabling them to warn others of Hitler’s attempted Putsch, and organise
an opposition. The only member of the Bavarian cabinet not
at the Bürgerbräukeller, Franz Matt, learned of the putsch when having dinner with the
man who would later become Pope Pius XII. Matt immediately began to round up the support
of the army and police. On the 9th of November, losing momentum, Hitler
began to march with around two thousand men on The Bavarian Defence Ministry, but was
stopped by around 130 police officers. The two groups briefly exchanged gunfire,
and 16 marchers were killed, as well as four police officers, effectively ending the putsch. Hitler was jailed for five years for treason,
but served only nine months, in which time he wrote Mein Kampf. Less than 10 years later, on the 30th of January
1933, he would at least somewhat legitimately, become chancellor of Germany, before dissolving
German democracy and going on to initiate the second world war, and the holocaust. Kahr was killed during the night of the long
knives, on the 30th of June 1934, after being abducted and taken to Dachau concentration
camp. Everything becomes history, until next time,
goodbye.

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