Beerhall Putsch

(Burgerbraukeller Putsch)
   On the evening of 8 November 1923, Hitler* embarked upon an ill-planned ouster of the Bavarian gov-ernment as step one of a national revolution. The Burgerbraukeller, one of Munich's largest and most popular beerhalls, was the opening scene of his coup. Munich's leading citizens had gathered at the hall to hear a speech by Gustav von Kahr.* Among the attendees were Otto von Lossow* and Hans von Seis-ser,* Kahr's cohorts in Bavaria's dictatorial triumvirate. With a crowd of about three thousand, the site offered Hitler an ideal opportunity. Surrounding the building with stormtroopers, he coerced the proceedings with a gunshot, badg-ered the triumvirate into accepting his "national revolution," and then, after a rousing speech that garnered the crowd's support, extracted a public commit-ment to his cause from each of Bavaria's leaders.
   Despite an auspicious beginning, Hitler left too much to chance and failed to press his advantage. Several Nazis were unaware that a putsch was taking place, questions of arms and supplies went unaddressed, key buildings remained in the hands of the Reichswehr* or the State Police, and insufficient force of authority was used when the police were asked to join the putsch. Erich Ludendorff* committed a fatal gaffe when he released the triumvirate, whom Hitler had left in his charge, trusting in their statements of loyalty. All quickly reclaimed their advantage with military forces in and around Munich. Hitler was consistently outmaneuvered, and the putsch ended on 9 November in a bloody fiasco as he and his entourage marched through Munich to the south side of the Odeonplatz.
   Although Hitler probably had greater popular backing on 9 November than his adversaries, his forces were outgunned by disciplined units. The fourteen putschists killed in the encounter near the Feldherrnhalle were immortalized and served to bolster Hitler's rise to power. But more important than the episode itself was the impact it had on Hitler: after he transformed his ensuing trial into a public-relations triumph, he jettisoned the NSDAP's revolutionary strategy and formed the conviction, not evident before November 1923, that he was the only person capable of leading Germany's nationalists to victory.
   REFERENCES:Dornberg, Munich 1923; Harold Gordon, Hitler; Merkl, Political Vio-lence; Stachura, "Political Strategy."

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

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