Hitler putsch

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Odeonsplatz after the coup on November 9, 1923

The Hitler putsch (also known as the Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch , Bürgerbräu-Putsch , March on the Feldherrnhalle and Bierkeller-Putsch ) was a failed coup attempt by the NSDAP under Adolf Hitler and Erich Ludendorff on November 8 and 9, 1923 . With the expected help from the right-wing conservative Bavarian state government and administration, the Reich government in Berlin was to be overthrown, following the example of Mussolini . The aim of the coup attempt was the elimination of parliamentary democracy and the establishment of a nationalist dictatorship .


The “patriotic and nationalist” groups reacted to the socialist Bavarian government of Eisner and the Munich Soviet Republic with an increasingly radical desire for “order” and with clearly stronger anti-democratic tendencies. Munich developed into a stronghold of the right ; there were also separatist efforts. The Bavarian People's Party (BVP), founded in 1918 as the successor organization to the Bavarian Center , reserved the right to separate Bavaria from the Reich as early as 1919 . Inflation , hardship and the Franco-Belgian occupation of the Ruhr area increased the discontent.

The conflict broke out when the new Chancellor Gustav Stresemann broke off the “ passive resistance ” of the Cuno government against the Ruhr occupation in September 1923 . The Bavarian government under BVP Prime Minister Eugen Ritter von Knilling took this "betrayal" as an opportunity to work from the "Bavarian regulatory cell " towards a "national dictatorship" in Berlin and to take action against French policy on the Rhine and Ruhr. To this end, the Bavarian state government appointed former Prime Minister Gustav Ritter von Kahr as dictatorial State Commissioner General on September 26th : he immediately declared a state of emergency, suspended basic rights and took command of Bavarian Reichswehr troops. In response to this unconstitutional act, President Friedrich Ebert imposed a state of emergency over the entire Reich on the same day. He transferred executive power to Reichswehr Minister Otto Gessler , who then delegated it to the military district commanders . In military district VII (Munich) this was Lieutenant General Otto von Lossow , who was also the Bavarian state commander of the Reichswehr .

Gustav von Kahr tried together with Lossow and Hans von Seißer , the commander of the Bavarian state police , to tackle his anti-republic plans. Kahrs' deputy, Hubert von und zu Aufseß , expressed these intentions on October 20, 1923 in the following words:

“For us it doesn't mean: Los from Berlin! We are not separatists. For us it means: Off to Berlin! We have been lied to by Berlin in an outrageous way for two months. This is also to be expected from this Jewish government, at the head of which is a mattress engineer [note: this meant Reich President Friedrich Ebert]. At the time I said: Everything is corrupted and messed up in Berlin, and I still keep it up today. "

- Hubert Friedrich Karl von und zu Aufseß

Meanwhile, Kahr was competing with Adolf Hitler for the leadership role in Bavaria's right-wing camp. On September 25, 1923, he was elected leader of the German Combat League , the new umbrella organization of the patriotic associations . On September 29, Kahr suspended the implementation of the Republic Protection Act and had several hundred Jewish families who had immigrated from Eastern Europe decades ago (so-called Eastern Jews ) expelled from Bavaria from mid-October . With these measures he wanted to consolidate his support with the extreme right and the supporters of Hitler.

The scandal occurred on October 20th. After an insulting article against Reich Chancellor Stresemann and Hans von Seeckt , the head of the army command, Reich Defense Minister Geßler ordered the ban on the NSDAP spokesman, Völkischer Beobachter . Otto von Lossow was commissioned to enforce this ban. However, he refused to carry out the order and was removed from his office. The Bavarian State Commissioner General, however, ordered that Lossow should remain state commander and entrusted him "with the leadership of the Bavarian part of the Imperial Army". On October 22nd, Kahr had the 7th Reichswehr Division sworn in on Bavaria and its government. This marked an open break with the Weimar Republic . Reichswehr Minister Geßler, however, considered the execution of the Reichsecution against Bavaria to be hopeless: The Reichswehr under Seeckt would not have been prepared to carry it out - according to the motto “Troops do not shoot at troops”.

The coup

NSDAP meeting in the Bürgerbräukeller, around 1923

Hitler had already planned the putsch for September 29, 1923, but then waited for the turbulent developments in Bavaria. He wanted to take advantage of the new situation and induce the Bavarian government to overthrow the Reich government. On October 30, 1923, he called for an uprising in the Munich Circus Krone - without any results . A suitable opportunity arose when Gustav von Kahr wanted to talk about the goals of his policy in the Bürgerbräukeller on November 8, 1923 in the presence of Lossows, Seissers, Knillings, two other members of the Bavarian cabinet and numerous celebrities from various nationalist camps . Kahr began his speech at around 8 p.m. in the fully occupied Bürgerbräukeller. Ludendorff had given the Kampfbund and the officers of the infantry school November 8, 8:30 p.m. as the “X-time” of the strike.

About 30 minutes after the start, Hitler, accompanied by SA commander Hermann Göring and other National Socialists , entered the hall from the vestibule , climbed onto a chair, fired a pistol into the ceiling, gained attention, warned that the meeting place was surrounded by the SA, and announced that the "national revolution" had broken out. He asked the triumvirate - Kahr, Lossow, Seißer - and the infantry General and former First Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff, who had meanwhile been brought in, to an adjoining room while Goering gave a speech. Meanwhile, Hitler got Kahr, Lossow and Seißer on his side - according to later statements by means of blackmail. Meanwhile, the putschists arrested the two remaining members of the cabinet in the Bürgerbräukeller in the hall. Hitler's goal was an immediate uprising, for which the triumvirate promised him its support. Back in the hall, the three asked those present to support Hitler's coup. A putschists' leaflet designed by Hermann Esser stated:

“Proclamation to the German people! The government of November criminals in Berlin was declared deposed today. A provisional German national government has been formed, consisting of General Ludendorff, Adolf Hitler, General von Lossow, and Colonel von Seisser. "

Following the example of the “ March on Rome ” of the Italian fascists around Benito Mussolini , the Reichswehr associations in Bavaria were supposed to march to Berlin together with anti-democratic military associations (“March on Berlin”) and take over power in the German Reich.

Prime Minister Eugen von Knilling , Justice Minister Franz Gürtner , Interior Minister Franz Schweyer , Agriculture Minister Johannes Wutzlhofer , the Munich Police President Karl Mantel and other high-ranking politicians were taken hostage by 30 armed SA men under the direction of Rudolf Hess and stayed overnight in the private house of the NS- Supporter Julius Lehmann detained in the south of the city.

In the meantime, after 10 p.m., Ernst Röhm , coming from Löwenbräukeller , occupied Military District Command VII , Lossow's official residence in Schönfeldstrasse , with a special command . The guard there offered no resistance when Röhm declared that he had been commissioned to provide an honor guard for Ludendorff and Lossow. The military district command gradually got together: Hitler, Ludendorff, Röhm, Ernst Pöhner , Hermann Kriebel and Friedrich Weber . The conspirators assumed from Otto von Lossow that he was in the barracks of the 19th (Bavarian) Infantry Regiment (Reichswehr) (Hitler's unit in the Reichswehr, Loth- / Infantriestrasse) and had transferred his military district command there. Lossow was in the telegraph office in the same building with the conspirators and ordered troops loyal to the government to Munich.

Deputy Prime Minister Franz Matt , who had meanwhile been informed of the coup , took a rump cabinet to Regensburg as a precautionary measure in order to secure the legitimate government authority. While still in Munich he issued an appeal to the population against the "Prussian Ludendorff". According to newspaper reports at the time, this appeal is said to have contributed significantly to overcoming the attempted coup. The discrediting claim of the National Socialists that Matt had suffered from the Hitler putsch during a dinner with Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber and the Apostolic Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII. , experienced, was immediately denied by himself. When he arrived in Regensburg, Matt gave all police units loyal to the government the order to shoot in the event that the coup was continued by force.

At 2:55 a.m. Gustav von Kahr, now aware of Franz Matt's departure, revoked his promise on the radio. He declared the declarations that he, Lossow and Seißer "pressed at gunpoint" to be null and void, and the NSDAP and the Oberland and Reich War Flag fractions dissolved. Oberamtmann Wilhelm Frick was the first to be arrested.

On the night of November 8th to 9th, 1923, Reich President Ebert transferred executive power in the Reich from Reichswehr Minister Geßler to the Chief of Army Command, General von Seeckt - in other words, replaced the "civilian" with a military state of emergency.

The march

Hitler's raiding party (with swastika armbands ) with arrested socialist city councilors

Nevertheless, on Friday morning, November 9, 1923, numerous posters and speakers such as Julius Streicher and Helmuth Klotz announced the victory of their movement in Munich . There was even a huge black-white-red flag on the balcony of the New Town Hall . Julius Schaub took nine socialist city councilors hostage with a raiding party. They were locked in the Bürgerbräukeller. Regardless of this, units of the Reichswehr and the Bavarian State Police, reinforced with armored vehicles, advanced against the military district command, which Röhm had manned with 400 putschists from the Bund Reichskriegsflagge . Two Reichswehr soldiers were wounded in an exchange of fire; Martin Faust and Theodor Casella died (as the first putschists). Mediators tried to get Röhm to surrender; but he only agreed to an armistice at 11:45 a.m. and only for two hours.

At 12 noon, Hitler's supporters, including Theodor Oberländer , marched off from the Bürgerbräukeller under Ludendorff and Hitler's leadership. Ludendorff, who, like Hitler, dressed in civilian clothes and wore a hat, had taken command. Goering walked to his right, Hitler to his left, and next to him Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter .

Riots on Munich's Marienplatz during the coup. The speaker is Julius Streicher.

Ludendorff led the putschists from the Bürgerbräukeller over the Ludwigsbrücke . There they disarmed a 30-man division of the state police and marched on to Marienplatz . Then the column turned into the Weinstrasse and then pulled through the Theatinerstrasse in the direction of Odeonsplatz . To the north of Odeonsplatz was the military district command, where Röhm had holed up. The commandant of the state police in the residence , Michael Freiherr von Godin , received an order from Seißer in response to a telephone inquiry that the stepping out of Hitler's troops on Odeonsplatz must be stopped by all means.

Godin then cordoned off Odeonsplatz with his 130 men, who were armed with cannons and machine guns. Ludendorff then had the marchers turn right into the short Perusastraße and immediately afterwards turn left into Residenzstraße . In rows of ten to sixteen, the putschists, singing high honors to Die Wacht am Rhein and O Deutschland , moved ahead in the direction of the Feldherrnhalle and broke through a chain of police cordoned off in Residenzstrasse.

The Feldherrnhalle - last station of the coup attempt

At 12.45 p.m., the police commander, Captain Rudolf Schraut , as well as the police sergeant Friedrich Fink , police sergeant Nikolaus Hollweg and police auxiliary sergeant Max Schoberth died, hit by gunfire . The police officers' fire then killed Scheubner-Richter, who tore the hooked Hitler to the ground with him. The bodyguard Ulrich Graf stood in front of him and, hit by eleven bullets, fell on Hitler and Scheubner-Richter. Goering was hit in the thigh and loin .

The putschists threw themselves to the ground while the numerous spectators fled. The whole operation took less than a minute. Four police officers from the Bavarian State Police, thirteen putschists and an uninvolved bystander were killed in the shooting . Two more putschists died later when the occupied military district command in Schönfeldstrasse was stormed by the Bavarian state police. The following professional groups were represented among those killed: four police officers, four merchants (including Klaus von Pape and Oskar Körner ), three bank clerks, a hat maker, a head waiter, a locksmith, a student, a servant ( Kurt Neubauer ), a Rittmeister , a Supreme Court judge ( Theodor von der Pfordten ), an engineer and the diplomat and co-initiator Scheubner-Richter.

Father Rupert Mayer gave the last sacraments to the dying on Odeonsplatz and spoke to the wounded. Numerous seriously wounded people were admitted to the university clinic , where they were operated on under the direction of Ferdinand Sauerbruch . Ludendorff, who was uninjured, was arrested on the same day and, after questioning for five hours and twenty minutes, was released again at 10:20 p.m. on his word of honor.

Floor plate in memory of the killed police officers (until 2011)
Memorial plaque at the residence, in memory of the killed police officers, unveiled on November 9, 2010

Hitler escaped by fleeing with the help of an ambulance; "The legend that he himself spread a few years later that he had carried a helpless child out of the fire has already been refuted by the Ludendorff Circle before he himself refrained from it." The child was the ten-year-old boy Gottfried Mayr, who had received a gunshot wound on the upper arm and was giving first aid to Hitler's follower Walter Schultze . Hitler hid in Uffing am Staffelsee in Ernst Hanfstaengl's country house , but was also arrested on November 11, 1923. The NSDAP was banned throughout the German Reich .

Bavarian police officers killed

Killed bystanders

Karl Kuhn was an uninvolved head waiter who did not take part in the putsch, but only came out of his café out of curiosity. He was fatally hit by a bullet.

Putschists killed

The putschists who were killed were honored between 1933 and 1945 as “ martyrs of the movement ” and at the same time instrumentalized by Nazi propaganda .

Trial and verdict

Hitler, to the right of Ludendorff (center), poses with other participants in the Hitler-Ludendorff putsch in front of the courthouse (1924)

From the spring of 1924, Hitler was charged with treason before the People's Court in Munich. Although the Imperial Court in Leipzig would actually have been responsible for the case , the Bavarian government had taken the case to itself to prevent the machinations of Kahr, Lossow and Seißer from coming to light, which could then actually be guaranteed in the course of the process. In the course of the "Hitler Trial" that followed, Hitler was able to elevate himself from accused to prosecutor due to his rhetorical skills. Among other things, he reinterpreted the event and commemoration of the war defeat as "actual high treason" and instrumentalized it in his sense as a "call for a coup and rebellion against the traitors".

In an expert opinion, the Munich Vice Police President Friedrich Tenner expressed the prophetic assessment: “Today Hitler [...] is the soul of the whole ethnic movement. He will lead large masses [...] of his idea to the NSDAP. ”On the grounds that for a man“ who thinks and feels as German as Hitler ”and who is characterized by“ a purely patriotic spirit and the noblest will ”, the motive of Treason could not be sustained, the court expressly refused to expel Hitler as a convicted foreigner after serving his prison sentence from Germany, as provided for in Section 9 of the Republic Protection Act. Hitler was sentenced to five years imprisonment convicted, with the possibility of parole after six months. Ludendorff was also on trial in Munich, but was acquitted "because of his services in the World War ".

In the Landsberg Fortress , Hitler dictated parts of the first volume of his book Mein Kampf to his fellow prisoners Emil Maurice and Rudolf Hess . After nine months, at the end of 1924, Hitler was released prematurely from prison, subject to certain conditions, “for good conduct”.

Committee of Inquiry

On July 31, 1924, the Bavarian State Parliament set up an investigative committee to “investigate the events of May 1, 1923 in Munich and the anti-imperial and state constitutional efforts in Bavaria from September 26 (appointment of the State Commissioner Gustav von Kahr until November 9, 1923 ) ”, Which presented its final report on April 27, 1928.

Remembrance Day for the Movement

Temple of Honor on Munich's Königsplatz (1936)

Although Hitler's attempt to seize power in the state had failed miserably, the November coup should pay off for him and the NSDAP. As a result, Hitler's fame had risen enormously, and the subsequent process gave him increased media attention, which he also used to present himself as a true revolutionary and loyal but betrayed patriot . In addition, the putsch was later mythologically transfigured.

The reinterpretation of the coup attempt into a heroic defeat and the glorification of the 16 National Socialists who perished in the process, who were subsequently transfigured as “fallen” and “victims” for the fatherland and “ martyrs of the movement”, began with the first volume of Hitler's Mein Battle where they were listed by name in the preface. After his release from prison, Hitler had already spoken in an “appeal to former members” of the NSDAP that these 16 men had become “martyrs” of the “political beliefs and wills” of National Socialism.

In his speech on March 2, 1925, he spoke of the fact that the National Socialist movement had “received the baptism of blood” as a result of the coup. In this way, the coup became “a symbol of the ultimate commitment by which every party member was measured in the future. The willingness to die became a measure of orientation. ”In the same year, the cult of the Nazis killed in the coup, which was founded in this way, received a further impulse from an order issued by Hitler on November 4, 1925: In future, it was made compulsory for all local Nazi groups, every year on To hold commemorations on November 9th, in which those killed in the First World War had to be included, suggesting that the putschists had basically died for the same cause as those who died in World War I: for the fatherland.

The cult reached its full expression on November 9th after the seizure of power in 1933. The putschists killed in Munich and the other National Socialists who died during the fighting were commemorated in elaborately staged annual funeral celebrations. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the November putsch, Hitler founded the so-called " Blood Order ", which was awarded to all those involved at the time and at the time of the foundation was the highest party award of the NSDAP. The so-called blood flag was used from 1926 at the party congresses for the mythically inflated "consecration" of the party flags and SS standards.

After November 9, as a day of remembrance for the movement on March 1, 1939, had been declared a public holiday by Hitler, he summed up in his commemorative speech on November 8 of the same year:

“Our movement arose out of all this need, and it has therefore had to make difficult decisions from the very first day. And one of these decisions was the decision to revolt on 8/9. November 1923. At the time, this decision apparently failed, alone, because the victims really did save Germany. "

- Adolf Hitler : speech of November 8, 1939 in the Bürgerbräukeller

After 1933, two temples of honor for the 16 putschists who were killed were erected on Munich's Königsplatz and their remains were reburied there. A plaque was attached to the Feldherrnhalle, in front of which there was a permanent double guard and which was to be honored by passers-by with the Hitler salute ( see also: Drückebergergasse ). As part of the commemorations, there were two assassination attempts on Hitler: on November 9, 1938 by the Swiss Maurice Bavaud during the memorial march to the Feldherrnhalle and on November 8, 1939 by the craftsman Georg Elser in the Bürgerbräukeller.

The plaque at the Feldherrnhalle was removed in 1945 and replaced in 1993 by another plaque commemorating the four police officers killed. The temple of honor on Königsplatz was blown up by the US Army in 1945 ; today only the bases are left.


Contemporary newspaper reports

Source collections

  • Karl Dietrich Bracher (Ed.): The crisis year 1923: Military and domestic policy 1922–1924. Sources on the history of parliamentarism and political parties. Edited by Heinz Hürten, Droste, Düsseldorf 1980, ISBN 3-7700-5110-6 .

Literary processing

  • Chapter In the editorial staff of the Patriots , in: Paula Schlier : Petras Aufzüge or concept of a youth after the dictates of time . Edited, commented on and with an afterword by Annette Steinsiek and Ursula A. Schneider on behalf of the Brenner Archive Research Institute . Salzburg: Otto Müller 2018 (first edition: Innsbruck: Brenner-Verlag 1926)

Secondary literature

Web links

Commons : Hitlerputsch  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walter Ziegler: Hitler putsch, 8./9. November 1923. In: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns , the online encyclopedia on the history of Bavaria.
  2. a b Martin H. Geyer : Border Crossing. From state of siege to state of emergency In: Niels Werber u. a .: First World War. Cultural studies manual. JB Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2014, p. 362.
  3. Quoted from: Ernst Deuerlein: The rise of the NSDAP in eyewitness reports . Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1980, p. 187.
  4. ^ Heinrich August Winkler : Weimar 1918–1933. The history of the first German democracy. 3rd edition, Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1998, p. 223.
  5. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933. The history of the first German democracy. 3rd edition, Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1998, p. 211.
  6. The London Times, December 6, 1923.
  7. Files of the Reichsarchiv, Kabinett Stresemann, p. 1056; Kahr to Knilling, December 12, 1923, in: Ernst Deuerlein , Der Hitler-Putsch. Bavarian documents for the 8th / 9th November 1923, Stuttgart 1962, p. 498.
  8. Volker Hentschel : Hitler and his conquerors: Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and De Gaulle; World history in biographies, part 1 . LIT Verlag Münster, 2013, ISBN 3-643-12124-5 , p. 137 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  9. ^ Declaration by the Hitler-Ludendorff putschists . Flyer, Munich, November 11, 1923. Image on vulture-bookz.de.
  10. Katrin Himmler : The Himmler Brothers . Pan Macmillan, 2012, ISBN 0-330-47599-1 , pp. 95 (English, limited preview in Google Book Search).
  11. ^ Frankfurter Zeitung of August 5, 1929.
  12. ^ Lydia Schmidt: Minister of Education Franz Matt (1920–1926): School, church and art policy in Bavaria after the upheaval of 1918. In: Series of publications on Bavarian regional history, CH Beck, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-406-10707-9 ; P. 74 ff.
  13. Eberhard Kolb , Dirk Schumann : The Weimar Republic. 8th edition, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2013, p. 55.
  14. ^ Edwin Palmer Hoyt: Goering's War. Hale, London 1990, ISBN 0-7090-3928-X , p. 44 (English).
  15. ^ Hilmar Kaiser: Historical Introduction. In: Paul Leverkuehn : A German Officer During the Armenian Genocide. A Biography of Max von Scheubner-Richter. Taderon, London 2008, ISBN 978-1-903656-81-5 , p. XII (English).
  16. Ian Kershaw : Hitler. 1889-1936. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-421-05131-3 , p. 266.
  17. Joachim Fest : Hitler - A Biography . Spiegel-Edition 2006/2007, ISBN 978-3-87763-031-0 , p. 311.
  18. Anna Sigmund: When Hitler was on the run . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , No. 260, 8./9. November 2008; P. 21.
  19. Pappert, Lars: The Hitler putsch and its mythologization in the Third Reich , Ars Una, Neuried 2001, ISBN 3-89391-128-6 .
  20. ↑ The spelling of the names largely based on Mein Kampf , 1933, o. S. In the alphabetically arranged list, the family name comes before the first name, two first names are abbreviated.
  21. See Martyn Housden : Hitler. Study of a Revolutionary? Routledge, London 2000, ISBN 0-415-16359-5 , p. 56 f (English).
  22. ^ Karl-Ulrich Gelberg: Committee of Inquiry into the Hitler-Ludendorff Trial, 1924–1928 . In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria, August 12, 2009.
  23. Quoted from Ludolf Herbst : Hitler's Charisma. The invention of a German messiah. Frankfurt 2010, p. 212. This call was printed in the Völkischer Beobachter on February 26, 1925.
  24. Quoted from Herbst (2010), p. 212.
  25. Herbst (2010), p. 177.
  26. Herbst (2010), p. 212.
  27. Quoted from Philipp Bouhler : The Greater German Struggle for Freedom - Speeches by Adolf Hitler from September 1, 1939 to March 10, 1940 . Central publishing house of the NSDAP, Munich 1940.