The Beer Hall Putsch To learn about the Beer Hall Putsch To understand why the Beer Hall Putsch failed
Hitler Attempts Revolution • Hitler decided that the Nazi Party needed to seize power because the Weimar Republic was too weak to rule Germany • Many prominent Germans held similar beliefs, particularly those from the old military elite – including Hindenburg • The Communists (KPD) had already tried to seize power but failed in the Kapp Putsch
Draw a line across the centre of two pages You are going to create a timeline of the Beer Hall Putsch
The Nazi Party in Bavaria • By 1923, many right wing parties had gravitated to southern Germany and primarily Bavaria. Here there were geographically as far away from Berlin without totally isolating themselves from the German people. Their headquarters was essentially Munich. • One such group was the fledgling Nazi Party. Lead by Adolf Hitler it had about 35,000 members by 1923. Though this figure appears low in the whole scheme of German politics (in the 1920 election the Nazis had not got one seat in the Reichstag), there were only about 40 members of the Nazi Party in 1920, so its growth rate was relatively quick. However, nationally, the Nazis Party was just one of a number of loud right-wing parties.
A Beer Hall In Munich • On November 8th and 9th1923, Hitler used the anger felt against the Berlin government in Bavaria to attempt an overthrow of the regional government in Munich in prelude to the take-over of the national government. This incident is generally known as the Beer Hall Putsch. • On November 8th 1923, the Bavarian Prime Minister, Gustav Kahr, was addressing a meeting of around 3000 businessmen at a beer hall in Munich. Kahr was joined by some of the most senior men in Bavarian politics including Seisser, Bavaria’s police chief, and Lossow, the local army commander.
Taking Captives • Hitler and 600 of his Stormtroopers (the SA) went into the meeting from the back of the hall. These SA men, lead by Ernst Rohm, lined the sides of the hall in an attempt to intimidate those in the beer hall. • Kahr, Lossow and Seisser were taken into a side room. Here, threatened by guns, Kahr is said to have agreed to support Hitler in his attempt to take-over the government in Berlin. Hitler promised Kahr that he would get a key position in the new national government and Lossow was promised a senior post in the German Army.
Intimidation • When Hitler did return to the main hall, it was in such disarray that he fired a shot from his pistol into the ceiling and threatened to put a machine gun in a gallery if the people in the hall did not settle so that they could hear him.
Ludendorff • Luderndorff had retired to Bavaria after the war and had been taken in by the early rhetoric of Hitler. • Luderndorff was pale and ashen faced when he spoke to the audience about the "great national cause" and that this was because he was so angered by what Hitler had done. Luderndorff’s demeanour and facial appearance is also supported by Muller who said the same at Hitler’s trial. • Once it became clear that Luderndorff supported Hitler, it seems that Kahr then agreed to publicly declare his support for Hitler. Once this happened the meeting started to break-up and the SA allowed people to leave
The Streets of Munich • Once the beer hall meeting was over, Hitler started to plan his take-over of Munich. But Hitler had made one major error. He had let Kahr and his colleagues go. They reported what had happened to Berlin and the central government ordered that the army and police should put down the Nazis once they started their march. After his experience in the beer hall, Kahr was in no mood to disagree. • On November 9th, Hitler started his march with his followers. By the morning he knew that the army and police had been alerted that the Nazis would try to take over vital buildings in Munich.
Failure • Hitler started the march to the centre of Munich with 3000 men. At the centre of the city they were faced by 100 armed police and soldiers who blocked them from going down a narrow street called the Residenzstrasse. What happened next is not clear but shots were fired. The firing continued for just one minute but in that time sixteen Nazis and three policemen were killed. • Hitler had a dislocated shoulder. Some say this is was caused by his attempts to seek cover once the firing started. Hitler, (and the official biography of Hitler published after 1933) claimed that it was because he had caught a colleague as he fell who had been mortally wounded and the stress on his shoulder had dislocated it.