How did the Germans pronounce Hitler?
November 8, 1923 The Hitler putsch in Munich: founding myth of the Nazis
Hitler's attempt to put himself to power in Munich on November 8, 1923 failed miserably. Nevertheless, Hitler later reinterpreted the attempted coup as a heroic uprising and mythically glorified the desolate events. From then on, the attempted coup was regarded as the "blood baptism" of the National Socialist movement. The "blood flag" soaked in the blood of the putschists became a Nazi relic - with it all new NSDAP flags were "consecrated".
Hitler raids the Munich Bürgerbräukeller
It is the evening of November 8, 1923. The 33-year-old head of the NSDAP, Adolf Hitler, raids the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich with like-minded people. A rally by the Bavarian head of government, State Commissioner General Gustav Ritter von Kahr, is currently taking place in the restaurant. Half the government is present. The SA surrounds the restaurant, inside Hitler's people point their machine guns at the politicians. To attract attention, Hitler shoots his pistol into the ceiling. Then he shouts: "I am declaring the Bavarian government deposed. A provisional government is being formed. Until the end of the accounts with the criminals who are wreaking havoc on Germany today, I will be in charge of the provisional government."
Hitler sees himself as the new head of government
After long discussions, von Kahr promised the putschists to support them. Hitler sees himself as the new head of government. Everything seems to be going great for him. But things turn out differently because he makes the mistake of letting von Kahr and his colleagues go that night. "This deprived him of an essential leverage", explains the historian Reinhard Weber. As soon as von Kahr and his people are free, they turn against Hitler and condemn his attempted coup.
Nationalist forces on the rise
In the Free State of Bavaria, nationalist forces have been on the rise since the early twenties. The government has been headed by State Commissioner General Gustav Ritter von Kahr "with dictatorial powers" since September 1923. Both democracy and the Weimar Republic are deeply hostile to Kahr.
There were strong political and military forces in Bavaria who wanted to revise the Weimar Constitution. That was one thing. The other: Because of this right-wing politics, a lot of right-wing extremists have accumulated in the Free State. They felt Mogenluft here and the Bavarian authorities let them go and in some cases also supported them.Reinhard Weber, historian
The Austrian Adolf Hitler is one of the right-wing extremists. Since 1921 he has been at the head of the NSDAP. At every opportunity he calls for the overthrow of the Reich government. Gustav von Kahr and his political comrades-in-arms have basically nothing against Hitler and his NSDAP - they just don't want the National Socialists to challenge them for power.
Hitler's march through Munich
On the morning of November 9, 1923, Hitler already suspected that the putsch had failed. But he doesn't give up. Around noon he and his followers leave the Bürgerbräukeller and go on a march through Munich. By occupying the inner city, Hitler wants to turn the tide in his favor. At the Feldherrnhalle, however, the putschists were stopped by the state police. A little later there is a shooting. Four police officers and 16 insurgents die in the hail of bullets. The NSDAP flag is soaked in the blood of three fallen putschists, which will go down in history as the "blood flag" - as one of the most important relics of the Nazi movement.
Cult for "blood flag" of the NSDAP
One of the putschists was able to save the "blood flag". He had it wrapped around his body and hurried home. The flag was hidden in the apartments of NSDAP members for a long time before it found its final place in the "Flag Hall" of the "Brown House" in Munich in 1931. Since 1926 the "blood flag" has been a central component of the gruesome National Socialist martyrs cult, especially at the annual commemorations on the anniversary of the failed coup attempt and the Nuremberg party congresses. By touching the "blood flag" all new flags of the NSDAP were later "consecrated" - as if the "blood flag" had special mystical powers.
High treason charges
Hitler himself was slightly injured in the attempted coup and was able to escape in an ambulance. He is hiding near Munich, in Uffing am Staffelsee. Two days later, on November 11, 1923, he was tracked down and arrested there.
Hitler expects the worst. He knows the charges will be high treason. He can also be sentenced to death for this. High treason trials are heard before the Imperial Court in Leipzig. But Bavaria definitely wants to prevent a trial in Leipzig - as Hitler's accomplice, Gustav von Kahr, who initially supported the putsch, would have been indicted before the Reichsgericht. And so the trial against the putschists began in February 1924 in Munich. "The defendants are suspected of having undertaken to violently change the constitution of the German Reich and the Free State of Bavaria. Among the troops, Hitler's shock troop in particular stood out for its violent actions," the indictment said.
Hitler gets off lightly
For Hitler and the other co-defendants, the process in the Bavarian capital is going according to their ideas. The presiding judge openly sympathizes with the National Socialists and lets Hitler speak at length. And that immediately turns the dock into a forum for National Socialist propaganda.
The process, which is far too mild, missed a historic opportunity to completely remove Hitler from circulation. Incidentally, the expulsion of the Austrian citizen Hitler, which was actually urgently required, would have been enough to prevent future disaster for Germany.Reinhard Weber, historian
Short, comfortable fortress detention
Contrary to the regulations, Hitler was not deported. The extremely mild sentence is five years imprisonment. He has to serve the sentence in Landsberg am Lech. On April 1, 1924, Hitler was assigned to the fortress. But his prison conditions have nothing to do with a penitentiary: Hitler has his own cell at his disposal, he can receive visitors as he likes and meet with his fellow prisoners in a common room. After only nine months, he was released on parole. In his suitcase he has a finished manuscript - the first volume of "Mein Kampf", written during the nine months of imprisonment. Now the fascist "movement" also has a program.
Hitler putsch as the founding myth of the NSDAP
And soon it will also have a founding myth: the failed Hitler coup in Munich. After the National Socialists came to power in 1933, a bombastic cult is practiced every year. The fallen putschists are commemorated in ghostly funerals. They are transfigured into martyrs who would have sacrificed their lives for the cause of "National Socialism". In 1933 Hitler founds the so-called "Blood Order", which is awarded to all men involved in the coup - it is one of the highest honors of the NSDAP. Finally, in 1939, November 9 was declared a "day of remembrance for the movement" as a national holiday. In a commemorative speech on November 8, 1939, Hitler declares that the victims of the unsuccessful revolt "certainly saved Germany".
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