The Munich Putsch


The Putsch grew out of Hitler's attempt to exploit the crisis of 1923.   At first, Hitler had prepared his stormtroopers to help in a wider Bavarian rebellion.  When the Bavarian leaders (Kahr, Lossow and Seisser) threatened to call off the action, Hitler realised that he could not keep the stormtroopers waiting any longer.   On the night of 8 Nov 1923 he took over the Beer Hall and forced Kahr, Lossow and Seisser to promise to support him.   A triumphal march into Munich was planned on 9 Nov, but the police easily dispersed the Nazis..

       Although the Putsch failed, it - and the trial that followed - turned Hitler into a national hero, and laid the foundation of his future success.



History Learning - basic account - good

Spartacus page - excellent

The History Place - harder accounts



Munich Putsch - from the TV drama The Rise of Evil





(Why Nazis Supported Munich Battle)  

1.  Weimar weaknesses

  • Constitutional flaws/ Left Wing opponents (the KPD)/ Right Wing opponents (see page 4) had all made the government weak and vulnerable.

  • Invasion and inflation made the government VERY weak in 1923.   Everybody was very angry with the government – there were Communist rebellions in Saxony and Thuringia.

2.  Nazi Party Growing

  • In the crises of 1923, the membership of the Nazi Party grew from 6,000 to 55,000.

  • The Nazi Stormtroopers (SA) grew quickly, and wanted a revolution - in October, an SA leader told Hitler that, if there was not a rebellion soon, the SA would ‘sneak away’.

  • Hitler became friends with General Ludendorff (a WWI hero) – he thought that the Army would follow Ludendorff in a putsch.

3.  Stresemann calls off resistance

  • In September 1923, the German Chancellor, Stresemann, called off the general strike in the Ruhr (it was ruining Germany).   This made EVERY German angry with the government.

  • There was a right-wing revolt (by the ‘Black Reichswehr’) in Berlin on 1 October 1923, and the Rhineland declared independence on 21–22 October.

  • The government had to proclaim a State of Emergency, Sept 1923–Feb 1924.

4.  Mussolini’s Example

  • In 1922, Mussolini had seized control of the government of Italy by marching on Rome.   Hitler hoped to copy his example.

5.  Bavarian Rebellion called off

  • In Bavaria, the right-wing local government wanted to rebel against the Weimar Republic.   

  • Its leaders – Kahr (State Commissioner), Lossow (Local Army Commander) and Seisser (Chief of Police) – planned a march of 15,000 soldiers on Berlin.   

  • Hitler was going to help them, but on 4 Nov., they postponed the rebellion.   

  • Hitler hoped the Munich Putsch would force them to rebel.



8 Nov 1923

  • Hitler interrupted the Beer Hall meeting, and forced Kahr, Lossow and Seisser at gunpoint to agree to support him.

  • The SA took over the Army HQ (but NOT the telegraph office).

  • Jews were beaten up, and the offices of the anti-Nazi Munich Post newspaper offices trashed.

  • Kahr, released by Hitler, called in the police and army reinforcements.

9 Nov 1923

  • The Nazis marched on Munich.   

  • Stopped by police in Residenzstrasse, 16 Nazis were killed.   

  • Ludendorff was arrested.   

  • Hitler hid, then fled (he was arrested 2 days later).




(Defeat? Tell Me Something!)  

1.  Disaster

  • The Nazis were defeated and their leaders were arrested.   Hitler was arrested and put on trial for treason.   He was imprisoned for 9 months and forbidden to speak in public.


2.  Trial

  • Hitler turned his trial into a publicity opportunity, giving long speeches.   Before the Munich Putsch, Hitler was an unknown Bavarian politician.   After his trial he was a national right-wing hero.   

  • Even the judge said he agreed with Hitler, and gave him only a short prison sentence.

3.  Mein Kampf

  • While he was in prison, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, in which he set out his life-story and beliefs. The book sold in millions, and made Hitler the leader of the right-wing opponents of Weimar.

4.  Strategy

  • Hitler realised that he would not gain power by rebellion.  He began a new strategy – to gain power by being elected.