Der Münchner Putsch - The Munich Pustch

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
DER MÜNCHNER PUTSCH
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
'Und ihr habt doch gesiegt !'

The Munich Putsch, (German: Hitlerputsch or German: Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch) was a failed attempt at revolution that occurred between the evening of 8 November and the early afternoon of 9 November 1923, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff, and other heads of the Kampfbund unsuccessfully tried to seize power in Munich, Bavaria and Germany.

Commanders and leaders of the Putsch

Adolf Hitler
Erich Ludendorff
Ernst Röhm
Rudolf Hess
Ludwig Maximilian Erwin von Scheubner-Richter †
Hermann Göring
Otto von Lossow
Gustav Ritter von Kahr
Eugen von Knilling
Hans Ritter von Seisser

Social Background

Bürgerbräukeller  in München
Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München
Beer halls in the early 20th century existed in most larger southern German cities, where hundreds or even thousands of people were able to gather during the evenings, drink beer and often engage in political or social debate.
They were also places where political rallies could be held, a tradition still alive today.
One of the largest beer halls in Munich was the "Bürgerbräukeller", where the Munich Putsch was launched.

Political Background

German power and prestige were destroyed in the aftermath of World War I.

Dolchstoßlegende
Like many other German nationalists, Hitler believed in the Dolchstoßlegende (Stab-in-the-back legend), which claimed that the army, "undefeated in the field," had been "stabbed in the back" by civilian leaders and Jewish Marxists back on the home front, later dubbed the 'November Criminals'.
In Munich, Hitler took part in "national thinking" courses organized by the Education and Propaganda Department of the Bavarian Reichswehr under Captain Karl Mayr.
Thereafter, Captain Mayr ordered Hitler, then an Army corporal, to infiltrate the tiny Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated DAP (German Workers Party).
Hitler joined the DAP on 12 September 1919.
Hitler rose to its top post in the chaotic political atmosphere of postwar Munich.
By agreement, Hitler was given the political leadership of several Bavarian "patriotic associations" (revanchist) which collectively were known as the 'Kampfbund'.
With this political base, Hitler could call on about 15,000 brawlers, mostly ex-soldiers.
On 26 September 1923, following a period of turmoil and political violence, Bavarian Prime Minister Eugen von Knilling declared a state of emergency and appointed Gustav von Kahr Staatskomissar (state commissioner) with dictatorial governing powers.
Together with Bavarian State Police head Colonel Hans Ritter von Seisser (Seißer), and Reichswehr General Otto von Lossow, Kahr formed a triumvirate.
Hitler announced that starting on 27 September 1923, he would be holding 14 mass meetings. One of Kahr's first actions was to ban the meetings.
Hitler was under pressure to act.
The National Socialists, with other leaders in the 'Kampfbund', felt they had to march upon Berlin and seize power or their followers would turn to the Communists.
Hitler and Ludendorff sought the support of Kahr and his triumvirate, however, Kahr had his own plan with Seisser and Lossow to install a nationalist dictatorship without Hitler.

The Putsch

The attempted putsch was inspired by Benito Mussolini's successful March on Rome.
Hitler and his associates planned to use Munich as a base for a big march against Germany's Weimar Republic government, but the circumstances were different from those in Italy.
Once Hitler realized that von Kahr either sought to control him or was losing heart (history is unclear), he decided to take matters into his own hands.
Hitler, along with a large detachment of SA, marched on the Bürgerbräukeller, a Munich beer hall where von Kahr was making a speech in front of 3,000 people.
In the cold, dark evening, 600 SA surrounded the beer hall and a machine gun was set up pointing at the auditorium doors.
Hitler, surrounded by his associates Hermann Göring, Alfred Rosenberg, Rudolf Hess, Ernst Hanfstaengl, Ulrich Graf, Johann Aigner, Adolf Lenk, Max Amann, Scheubner-Richter, Wilhelm Adam, and others (some 20 in all), burst through the doors at 8:30 pm and pushed their way laboriously through the crowd.
Hitler fired a shot into the ceiling and jumped on a chair yelling:
"The national revolution has broken out! The hall is filled with six hundred men. Nobody is allowed to leave. The Bavarian government and the government at Berlin are deposed. A new government will be formed at once. The barracks of the Reichswehr and those of the police are occupied [this was not in fact the case]. Both have rallied to the swastika."
Hitler, accompanied by Rudolf Hess, Adolf Lenk and Ulrich Graf, forced the triumvirate of von Kahr, von Seisser, and von Lossow into a side room (previously rented by Rudolf Hess) at gunpoint[13] and demanded that they support his putsch, or they would be shot. Hitler thought that he would get an immediate response of affirmation from them, imploring von Kahr to accept a position as Regent of Bavaria.


Gustav Ritter von Kahr
Von Kahr replied that he could not be expected to collaborate, especially as he had been taken out of the auditorium under heavy guard.
During this time, speeches were given in the main hall by Göring, among others, obtaining a temporary calm, while no one was allowed to leave, not even to go to the toilet.
Some, however, escaped via the kitchen, especially those foreign correspondents eager to file copy.

Gustav Ritter von Kahr (November 29, 1862 – June 30, 1934) was a German right-wing conservative politician, active in the state of Bavaria. He was instrumental in the failure of Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, and was subsequently put to death more than ten years later in the Night of the Long Knives.


Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff
At the same time, Heinz Pernet, Johann Aigner and Scheubner-Richter were dispatched to pick up Ludendorff, whose personal prestige was being harnessed to give the Nazis credibility.

Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff  (9 April 1865 – 20 December 1937) was a German general, victor of Liège and of the Battle of Tannenberg. From August 1916 his appointment as Quartermaster general made him joint head (with Paul von Hindenburg), and chief engineer behind the management of Germany's effort in World War I until his resignation in October 1918. Later, Ludendorff became a prominent nationalist, and a promoter of the stab-in-the-back legend.
He took part in the unsuccessful coups d’état of Wolfgang Kapp in 1920 and the 'Beer Hall Putsch' of Adolf Hitler in 1923, and in 1925 he ran for president against his former colleague, Paul von Hindenburg, who he claimed had taken credit for Ludendorff's victories against Russia.
From 1924 to 1928 he represented the 'German Völkisch Freedom Party' in the Reichstag.

Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff  (9 April 1865 – 20 December 1937) was a German general, victor of Liège and of the Battle of Tannenberg.
From August 1916 his appointment as Quartermaster general made him joint head (with Paul von Hindenburg), and chief engineer behind the management of Germany's effort in World War I until his resignation in October 1918.
Later, Ludendorff became a prominent nationalist, and a promoter of the stab-in-the-back legend.
He took part in the unsuccessful coups d’état of Wolfgang Kapp in 1920 and the 'Beer Hall Putsch' of Adolf Hitler in 1923, and in 1925 he ran for president against his former colleague, Paul von Hindenburg, who he claimed had taken credit for Ludendorff's victories against Russia.
From 1924 to 1928 he represented the 'German Völkisch Freedom Party' in the Reichstag.
A telephone call was made from the kitchen by Hermann Kriebel to Ernst Röhm, who was waiting with his Reichskriegsflagge in the Löwenbräukeller, another beer hall, and ordered him to seize key buildings throughout the city. 
At the same time, co-conspirators under Gerhard Rossbach mobilized the students of a nearby Officers Infantry school to seize other objectives.
Hitler became irritated by von Kahr and summoned Ernst Pöhner, Friedrich Weber and Hermann Kriebel to stand in for him while he returned to the auditorium to make a speech (as he had promised some fifteen minutes earlier).

Rudolf Heß
Flanked by Rudolf Heß and Adolf Lenk, Hitler returned to the auditorium to make an extemporaneous speech that changed the mood of the hall almost within seconds.
Dr. Karl Alexander von Mueller, a professor of modern history and political science at the University of Munich and a supporter of von Kahr, was an eyewitness.


Rudolf Walter Richard Heß, (26 April 1894 born in Alexandria, Egypt – 17 August 1987 Spandau Prison, Berlin), was a prominent politician in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, he served in this position until 1941.

He reported:

'I cannot remember in my entire life such a change in the attitude of a crowd in a few minutes, almost a few seconds ... Hitler had turned them inside out, as one turns a glove inside out, with a few sentences. It had almost something of hocus-pocus, or magic about it.'

Hitler started quietly reminding the audience that his move was not directed against von Kahr and launched into his speech ending with:
"Outside are Kahr, Lossow and Seisser. They are struggling hard to reach a decision. May I say to them that you will stand behind them ?
You can see that what motivates us is neither self-conceit or self-interest, but only a burning desire to join the battle in this grave eleventh hour for our German Fatherland ... One last thing I can tell you. Either the German revolution begins tonight and the morrow will find us in Germany a true nationalist government, or it will find us dead by dawn !'

Hitler returned to the anteroom, where the triumvirs remained incarcerated, to ear-shattering acclaim which the triumvirs could not have failed to notice.
On his way back, Hitler ordered Göring and Hess to take Eugen von Knilling and seven other members of the Bavarian government into custody.
During Hitler's speech, Pöhner, Weber, and Kriebel had been trying in a conciliatory fashion to bring the triumvirate round to their point of view.
The atmosphere in the room had become lighter but von Kahr continued to dig in his heels. Ludendorff showed up a little before 9 p.m. and, being shown into the ante-room, concentrated on von Lossow and von Seisser, appealing to their sense of duty.
Eventually the triumvirate reluctantly gave in.
Hitler, Ludendorff et al. moved back into the auditorium, where they gave speeches and shook hands; and then the crowd was allowed to leave.
In a tactical mistake, Hitler decided to leave the Bürgerbräukeller shortly thereafter to deal with a crisis elsewhere.
Around 10:30 p.m., Ludendorff released von Kahr and his associates.
The night was marked by confusion and unrest among government officials, armed forces and police units, and individuals deciding where their loyalties lay.
Units of the 'Kampfbund' were scurrying around to arm themselves from secret caches, seizing buildings. At around 3 am, the first casualties of the putsch occurred when the local garrison of the Reichswehr spotted Röhm's men coming out of the beer hall.
They were ambushed while trying to reach the Reichswehr barracks and had to fall back. In the meantime, the Reichswehr officers put the whole garrison on alert and called for reinforcements.
In a prefiguration of things to come, a list of prominent Jews who might act against the Putsch was made up and squads of SA were sent around to arrest them.
Some were taken into custody while others escaped.
The foreign attachés were also seized in their hotel rooms and put under house arrest.
In the early morning, Hitler ordered the seizure of the Munich city council as hostages.
He further sent the communications officer of the 'Kampfbund', Max Neunzert, to enlist the aid of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria to mediate between von Kahr and the putschists. Neunzert failed in the mission.

Himmler During the Munich Putsch

By mid-morning on the 9th, Hitler realized that the putsch was going nowhere.
The Putschists did not know what to do and were about to give up.
At this moment, Ludendorff cried out, "Wir marschieren !" (We will march!), and Röhm's force together with Hitler's (a total of approximately 2000 men) marched out - but with no plan of where to go.

See left - Himmler carries the Reichskriegsflagge - but played only a minor part in the Putsch, and was not even arrested.


On the spur of the moment, Ludendorff led them to the Bavarian Defence Ministry, however, at the Odeonsplatz in front of the Feldherrenhalle, they met a force of 100 soldiers blocking the way under the command of State Police Senior Lieutenant Baron Michael von Godin.

Munich Putsch
Munich Putsch
The two groups exchanged fire, killing four state police officers and 16 Nazis.
This was the origin of the 'Blutfahne' (blood-flag).
Hitler and Göring were both injured, the latter escaping while the former was captured shortly thereafter.
The putsch forever became a wedge between Hitler and Ludendorff.


Hermann Wilhelm Göring  (12 January 1893 – 15 October 1946), was a German politician, military leader, and leading member of the NSDAP. A veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, he was a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as the "Blue Max".
He was the last commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, the fighter wing once led by Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron".
A member of the NSDAP from its early days, Göring was wounded in 1923 during the failed coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch. He became permanently addicted to morphine after being treated with the drug for his injuries. 

Herman Göring
When the skirmish broke out at the Odeonsplatz and Hitler fled, Ludendorff continued to march undaunted into the hostile fire.
To irritations already felt toward Hitler, Ludendorff added a perception that Hitler was a coward. Ludendorff, from then until his death in 1937, refused to have anything positive to do with Hitler. In a description of Ludendorff's funeral at the Feldherrenhalle in 1937, which Hitler attended, but without speaking, William L. Shirer wrote:
"The World War One hero, Ludendorff, had refused to have anything to do with Hitler ever since he had fled from in front of the Feldherrnhalle after the volley of bullets during the Beer Hall Putsch."
It should be noted however that when a consignment of papers relating to Landsberg prison, including the visitor book, were later sold at auction it was noted that Ludendorff had visited Hitler a number of times.
The case of the resurfacing papers was reported in 'Der Spiegel' on 23 June 2006 and somewhat contradicts Shirer's rather sweeping statement. "

Counterattack

State Police and Police units were first notified of trouble by three police detectives stationed at the Löwenbräukeller.
These reports reached Major Sigmund von Imhoff of the State police.
He immediately called all his green police units and had them seize the central telegraph office and the telephone exchange, although his most important act was to notify Major General Jakob Ritter von Danner, the Reichswehr city commandant of Munich.
As a staunch aristocrat, he loathed the "little corporal" and those "Freikorps bands of rowdies". He also did not much like his commanding officer, Generalleutnant Otto von Lossow, "a sorry figure of a man".
He was determined to put down the putsch with or without von Lossow.
Ritter von Danner set up a command post at the 19th Infantry Regiment barracks and alerted all military units.
Meanwhile, Captain Karl Wild, learning of the putsch from marchers, mobilized his command to guard von Kahr's government building, the Commissariat, with orders to shoot.
Around 11:00 p.m., Ritter von Danner, along with fellow officers General Adolf Ritter von Ruith and General Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein, compelled von Lossow to repudiate the putsch.
There was one member of the cabinet who was not at the Bürgerbräukeller: Franz Matt, the vice-premier and minister of education and culture.
A staunchly conservative Catholic, he was having dinner with the Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber, and the Nuncio to Bavaria, Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli (who would later become Pope Pius XII), when he learned of the putsch.
He immediately telephoned von Kahr.
When he found the man vacillating and unsure, Matt decisively began plans to set up a rump government-in-exile in Regensburg and composed a proclamation calling upon all police, armed forces, and civil servants to remain loyal to the government.
The action of these few men spelled doom for the putschists.
On Wednesday, 3,000 students from Munich University rioted and marched to the Feldherrnhalle to lay wreaths. (They continued to riot through Friday until learning of Hitler's arrest.) Von Kahr and von Lossow were called Judases and traitors.


Key Supporters

Rudolf Heß  Hermann Göring, Erich Ludendorff, Hermann Kriebel, Friedrich Weber, Ernst Röhm, Max Scheubner-Richter, Ulrich Graf, Julius Streicher, Hermann Esser, Ernst Hanfstaengl, Gottfried Feder, Josef Berchtold, Ernst Pöhner, Emil Maurice, Max Amann, Heinz Pernet, Wilhelm Brückner, Lt. Robert Wagner, Adolf Hitler

Other Notable Supporters

Dietrich Eckart
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler, Edmund Heines, Gerhard Rossbach, Hans Frank, Julius Schaub, Walter Hewel, Dietrich Eckart, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Schreck, Josef 'Sepp' Dietrich, Philipp Bouhler, Franz Pfeffer von Salomon, Adolf Lenk, Hans Kallenbach, Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg, Adolf Wagner, Jakob Grimminger, Heinrich Trambauer, Karl Beggel, Rudolf Jung, Rudolf Buttmann, Albrecht von Graefe, Hans Ulrich Klintzsche, Heinrich Hoffmann, Josef Gerum, Capt. Eduard Dietl, Hans Georg Hofmann, Matthaeus Hofmann, Helmut Klotz, Adolf Hühnlein, Max Neunzert, Michael Ried. Karl Fischer von Treuenfeld Theodor Oberländer

Heinrich Luitpold Himmler ( 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was eventually Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (SS), a military commander, and a leading member of the NSDAP in the Third Reich.

Dietrich Eckart (23 March 1868 – 26 December 1923) was a German journalist and politician and, with Adolf Hitler, was one of the early key members of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and a participant in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Eckart was described as "a strange genius," who's antisemitism arose from a Gnostic, Manichean mysticism, and he spent hours with Hitler discussing art and the place of the Jews in world history. He has been called the spiritual father of National Socialism

At the Front of the March

Alfred Rosenberg
Gottfried Feder
In the vanguard were four flag bearers followed by Adolf Lenk and Kurt Neubauer, Ludendorff's servant.
Behind those two came more flag bearers, then the leadership in two rows.
Hitler was in the centre, slouch hat in hand, the collar of his trench-coat turned up against the cold.
To his left, in civilian clothes, a green felt hat, and a loose loden coat, was Ludendorff.
To Hitler's right was Scheubner-Richter.
To his right came Alfred Rosenberg.
On either side of these men were Ulrich Graf, Hermann Kriebel, Friedrich Weber, Julius Streicher, Hermann Göring, and Wilhelm Brückner.
Behind these came the second string of Heinz Pernet, Johann Aigner (Scheubner-Richter's servant), Gottfried Feder, Theodor von der Pfordten, Wilhelm Kolb, Rolf Reiner, Hans Streck, and Heinrich Bennecke, Brückner's adjutant.
Behind this row marched the Stosstrupp, the SA, the Infantry School, and the Oberländer.

Alfred Ernst Rosenberg (12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946) was an early and intellectually influential member of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart; he later held several important posts in the Nazi government. He is considered one of the main authors of key Nazi ideological creeds, including its racial theory, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to "degenerate" modern art. He is also known for his rejection of Christianity.

Gottfried Feder (27 January 1883 – 24 September 1941) was an economist, and one of the early key members of the NSDAP. He was the party economic theoretician. Initially, it was his lecture in 1919 that drew Hitler into the party.

Trial and Prison

Ernst Hanfstaengl
Völkischer Beobachter
Two days after the putsch, Hitler was arrested and charged with high treason in the special People's Court.
Some of his fellow conspirators were arrested while others escaped to Austria (Hermann Göring, Ernst Hanfstaengl, Rudolf Hess).
The NSDAP headquarters were raided, and its newspaper, the 'Völkischer Beobachter' (The People's Observer), was banned.
This, however, was not the first time Hitler had been in trouble with the law.

The Völkischer Beobachter ("völkisch Observer") was the newspaper of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) from 1920. It first appeared weekly, then daily from 8 February 1923. For twenty-five years it formed part of the official public face of the party.

Ernst Franz Sedgwick Hanfstaengl (February 2, 1887 – November 6, 1975) was a Harvard-educated German businessman who was an intimate of Adolf Hitler

In an incident in September 1921, he and some SA had disrupted a meeting of the Bayernbund, and the Nazis who had gone there to cause trouble were arrested as a result. Hitler had ended up serving a little over a month of a three-month jail sentence.
Presiding Judge Georg Neithardt was judge in both Hitler cases.

Hitler's trial began on 26 February 1924 and would last until 1 April 1924.
Hitler moderated his tone for the trial, centering his defense on his selfless devotion to the good of the Volk and the need for bold action to save them, dropping his usual anti-Semitism.
He claimed the putsch had been his sole responsibility and inspiring the title Fuhrer.
Hitler and Hess were both sentenced to five years in 'Festungshaft' (literally fortress confinement) for treason.
'Festungshaft' was a type of jail that excluded forced labour, featured reasonably comfortable cells, and allowed the prisoner to receive visitors almost daily for many hours.
It was the customary sentence for people whom the judge believed to have had honourable but misguided motives.
However, Hitler used his trial as an opportunity to spread his ideas.
Every word he spoke was reported in the newspaper the next day.

Ernst Röhm
The judges were impressed (Presiding Judge Neithardt was inclined to favouritism towards the defendants prior to the trial), and as a result Hitler only served a little over eight months and was fined 500RM.
Due to his story that he was there by accident, which he had also used in the Kapp Putsch along with his war service and connections, Ludendorff was acquitted.
Both Röhm and Dr. Wilhelm Frick, though found guilty, were released.

Ernst Julius Günther Röhm (28 November 1887 – 2 July 1934) was a German officer in the Bavarian Army and later an early NSDAP leader. He was a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung ("Storm Battalion"; SA), the Party militia, and later was its commander. In 1934, as part of the Night of the Long Knives, he was executed on Adolf Hitler's orders as a potential rival.

Göring, meanwhile, suffered bullet wounds in his leg and groin, which led him to become increasingly dependent on morphine and other painkilling drugs.
This addiction continued throughout the war.
Though Hitler failed to achieve his immediate stated goal, the event did give the National Socialists their first exposure to national attention and a propaganda victory.
While serving his prison sentence at Landsberg am Lech, he and Rudolf Hess wrote 'Mein Kampf'.
Also, the putsch changed Hitler's outlook on violent revolution to effect change.
From then on he thought that, in order to win the German heart, he must do everything by the book, strictly legal.
Later on, the German people would call him Hitler Legalité or Hitler the Legal One.
The process of combination, where the conservative-nationalist-monarchist group thought that they could piggyback on to and control the National Socialist movement to garner the seats of power, was to repeat itself 10 years later in 1933 when Franz von Papen would legally ask Hitler to form a government.

Fatalities

National Socialists who died in the Putsch

Felix Alfarth
Andreas Bauriedl
Theodor Casella
William Ehrlich
Martin Faust
Anton Hechenberger           
Oskar Körner
Karl Kuhn
Karl Laforce
Kurt Neubauer
Klaus von Pape
Theodor von der Pfordten
Johann Rickmers
Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter
Lorenz Ritter von Stransky
Wilhelm Wolf
Ethan Zemmin

According to Ernst Röhm in his book "Die Geschichte eines Hochverräters" (Franz Eher Verlag, Munich 1928), Martin Faust and Theodor Casella, both members of the armed militia organisation Reichskriegsflagge, were shot down accidentally in a burst of machine gun fire during the occupation of the War Ministry as the result of a misunderstanding with II/Inf.Regt 19.

Bavarian police who died in the Putsch

Friedrich Fink
Nikolaus Hollweg
Max Schobert
Rudolf Schraut

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
MARTYRDOM

The 16 fallen were regarded as the first "blood martyrs" of the NSDAP and were remembered by Hitler in the foreword of 'Mein Kampf'.

Blutfahne
Blutfahne
The swastika flag they carried, which in the course of events had been stained with blood, came to be known as the 'Blutfahne' (blood flag), and was brought out for the swearing-in of new recruits in front of the Feldherrnhalle when Hitler was in power.
Shortly after he came to power, a memorial was placed at the south side of the Feldherrnhalle crowned with an eagle and swastika.
The back of the memorial read 'Und ihr habt doch gesiegt !' (And you triumphed nevertheless!).



 Feldherrnhalle
 Feldherrnhalle
Behind it flowers were laid, and either policemen or the SS stood guard in between a lower plaque.
Passers-by were required to give the Hitler salute.
The putsch was also commemorated on three sets of stamps.
'Mein Kampf' was dedicated to the fallen and, in the book 'Ich Kämpfe' (given to those joining the party circa 1943), they are listed first even though the book lists hundreds of other dead.
The header text in the book read "Obwohl sie tot sind für ihre Taten werden sie auf ewig leben" (Though they are dead for their acts they will live on forever.")
The army had a division named the Feldherrnhalle regiment, and there was also an SA Feldherrnhalle division.



November 8, Hitler Addressing the 'Alte Kämpfer
"Die Neunte Elfte" (the "Ninth of the Eleventh") became one of the most important dates on the Nazi calendar, especially following the seizure of power in 1933.
Annually until the fall of Nazi Germany, the putsch would be commemorated nationwide, with the major events taking place in Munich.
On the night of November 8, Hitler would address the 'Alte Kämpfer' (Old Fighters) in the Burgerbraukeller (after 1939, the Löwenbräu, in 1944, the Circus Krone Building), followed the next day by a re-enactment of the march through the streets of Munich.

Alte Kämpfer
The event would climax with a ceremony recalling the 16 dead marchers on the Konigsplatz.
The anniversary could be a time of tension in Nazi Germany.
The ceremony was cancelled in 1934, coming as it did after the so-called 'Night of the Long Knives'.
In 1938, it coincided with the 'Kristallnacht', and in 1939 with the attempted assassination of Hitler by Georg Elser.
With the outbreak of war in 1939, security concerns caused the re-enactment of the march to be "temporarily" suspended, however, Hitler continued to deliver his November 8 speech through 1943.
Every Gau (administrative region of Germany) was also expected to hold a small remembrance ceremony.

Ehrentempel  - Königplatz
Ehrentempel  - Königplatz
As material given to propagandists said, the 16 fallen were the first losses and the ceremony was an occasion to commemorate everyone who had died for the movement.
On 9 November 1935, the dead were taken from their graves and to the Feldherrnhalle.
The SA and SS carried them down to the Königplatz, where two Ehrentempel (Honour Temples) had been constructed.

Ehrentempel  - Königplatz
In each of the structures eight of the martyrs were interred in a sarcophagus bearing their name.


The Königsplatz in Munich, was planned in 1931-32 by Hitler and his architect Paul Ludwig Troost, whom Speer says Hitler regarded as the greatest German architect since Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Troost, who like his successor, Speer, aimed to revive an early classical or Doric architecture, could not have found a more encouraging context for his endeavours than the neo-classical architectural setting of Königsplatz, however the Ehrentempel he designed was not uninfluenced by modernist tendencies, in no respect were his temples conventionally Doric.


Adolf Hitler and Ludwig Troost
Paul Ludwig Troost
Koenigsplatz was labeled the "Forum of the Movement" in reference to the birthplace of the Nazi Party.
Priority was given to the erection of two "martyrs" temples of identical shape named the 'Ehrentempel', placed just to either side of the square's long axis.
In 1935, Hitler said the martyrs' bodies were not to be buried out of sight in crypts, but should be placed in the open air, to act as eternal sentinels for the German nation.
Ehrentempel  - Königplatz
Troost's temples in Königsplatz were thus regarded as guard posts, a notion reinforced by the presence of SS sentinels who stood guard at the entrance of each temple. A year earlier Hitler had said that the blood of the martyrs was to be the 'Taufwasser' (baptismal water) of the Third Reich.

Paul Ludwig Troost (17 August 1878 – 21 January 1934), born in Elberfeld, was a German architect. An extremely tall, spare-looking, reserved Westphalian with a close-shaven head, Troost belonged to a school of architects, Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius who, even before 1914, reacted sharply against the highly ornamental Jugendstil and advocated a restrained, lean architectural approach, almost devoid of ornament. Troost graduated to a style that combined Spartan traditionalism with elements of modernity.


'Obwohl sie tot sind für ihre Taten werden sie auf ewig leben'

 Feldherrnhalle
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013