Knilling, Eugen Ritter von

    (1865-1927)
   politician; Prime Min-ister of Bavaria* during Hitler s* Beerhall Putsch.* Born in Munich, he earned a doctorate in law and entered the Bavarian civil service.* In 1912-1918 he was Bavaria s Interior Minister for Church and School Affairs. Elected to the Land-tag in 1920 as a member of the BVP, he became Prime Minister in November 1922. Plagued with mounting crisis, he retained office until May 1924. From 1924 until his death he led Bavaria s Liquidation Administration.
   Sometimes characterized as vain and vacillating, Knilling was also devious. While he was dictatorial with cabinet members, he was adept at measuring an audience before presenting his position. Because he was a German nationalist, his ties to the BVP were at times strained. With respect to the NSDAP, he found Erich Ludendorff*—the "priest-baiter —repulsive; although he was initially impressed by Hitler, he came to distrust him. In any case, he provided Bavaria s nationalist groups—including, to a limited extent, the NSDAP—shelter in which to organize. In May 1923 he argued that the Vaterlandische Verbande would be more dangerous to Bavaria if they were dissolved but continued to exist in secret. Sensing power slipping from his hands, he yielded to pressure in Sep-tember by proclaiming a state of emergency and appointing Gustav von Kahr* to the semidictatorial post of State Commissioner. Kahr quickly placed Bavaria under martial law and formed a cabinet that operated in parallel with the elected government. Knilling was thus partially to blame for the disarray existing in Bavaria on the eve of Hitler s putsch. That his cabinet survived the event and reinstated more cordial relations with Berlin* is often overlooked.
   REFERENCES:Ellen Evans, German Center Party; Harold Gordon, Hitler; Kosch, Bio-graphisches Staatshandbuch.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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