Nazis Beer Hall Putch

Munich Druing the Putch

On November 8-9th 1923 Adolf Hitler, together with General Erich Ludendorff, attempted to overthrow the German government. Their goal was first to seize the government of Bavaria and through that the rest of Germany. Their actions were inspired by the success of Mussolini in Italy. The attempted coup began in a beer hall in Munich and continued the next day with a march on the military headquarters that was met with armed resistance by the police. Four policemen and sixteen Nazis were killed, but the crowd dispersed. Two days later Hitler and his closest supporters were arrested and charged treason. He served nine months in prison.

The occupation of the Rhur had terrible economic consequences for Germany. To meet its domestic obligations, the German government was forced to print money, resulting in hyperinflation. In the four months between April and August 1923, the value of the German Mark drop forty fold. As a result, both the right and the left took to the streets. The Communist organized demonstration of the "fighting unionist" and a coalition of right-wing extremists formed the "Fighting League." One of the Fighting League's key members was the National Socialist (Nazis) led by Adolph Hitler. Hitler denounced the five evils that Germany was suffering: The French occupation of the Ruh, the government in Berlin, the German Republic, Socialism, and Communism.

The Nazis became the dominant faction in the Fighting League. The Bavarian government response to the Nazis was incoherent. On the one hand, the Bavarian Prime Minister Dr von Kahr forbade meetings of the Nazi movement. On the other hand, when the central government refused to license the Nazis paper Volkischer Beobachter the Bavarian government allowed it to be published in Bavaria. Kahr said his main goal was to fight communism and socialism. Thus he suppressed the papers of the socialist and communist.

Hiler began to push for to violent overthrow of the government. Speaking to an audience of his supporters on September 12, 1923, Hitler stated," There are now two alternatives before us, the swastika or the Soviet Star the world of the despotism of the Communist International or the Holy Empire of the Germanic Nation" He called for a march on Berlin to install a national dictatorship.

The first armed uprising occurred in the town of Kustirn when 400 men broke into the fortress there and gained control of the city. The army remained loyal to the central government and regained control. With French assistance, an uprising was attempted in Dusseldorf in the Ruhr. Ten people were killed, bringing it under control. The central government vowed to regain control, especially in Bavaria. However, when the army commander in Bavaria, General Von Lossow, was ordered to help the central government regain control, he refused, claiming the government was under the control of Communists.

Bavarian Prime Minister Kahr simultaneously insisted that Bavaria was not bound by the rules promulgated by the central government while at the same time continuing strong opposition to the activities of the Nazi party. Despite Kahr's opposition Hitler continued to gain supporters. He blamed the government in Berlin for all of Germany's problems, claiming that it was Jewish financiers and Marxist subversives behind the government. Those same forces were responsible for Germany's defeat in 1918. Hiter gained the support of General Ludendorff, the second-ranking army officer during World War I who was a proponent in the conspiracy that had become popular: a stab in the back by Jewish financiers and Communists and not the army was responsible for Germany's defeat.

Hitler had decided to seize control of Bavaria's government and then march on Berlin, roughly following the actions of Mussolini in Italy. On November 8, 1923, von Kahr and von Lossow attended a meeting with 2,000 other citizens of Munich in the Burgerbrau Beer cellar. Before the meeting could begin, Hitler burst in with armed brownshirts. He fired one shot at the ceiling and seized Kahr and Loss. They pledged their support to Hitler, who claimed that he had taken control of the Bavarian government and would march to Berlin the next day.

Once free of Hitler, both Kahr and Loss organized opposition to Hitler. Hitler responded by organizing a march of several thousand brownshirts with him at the lead toward central Munich. A line of police blocked the way. When they opened fire, they killed 14 marchers. Hitler was thrown to the ground injured. He fled the scene; his Beer Hall putsch was over. He was later arrested and tried for treason.