The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch, and, in German, as the Hitlerputsch or Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch, was a failed coup attempt by the Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler — along with Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff and other Kampfbund leaders — to seize power in Munich, Bavaria, during 8–9 November 1923. About two thousand Nazis marched to the centre of Munich, where they confronted the police, which resulted in the death of 16 Nazis and four police officers. Hitler himself was not wounded during the clash, although he locked his left arm with the right arm of Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter who, when he was shot and killed, pulled Hitler to the pavement with him. Hitler escaped immediate arrest and was spirited off to safety in the countryside. After two days, Hitler was arrested and charged with treason.
From Hitler’s perspective, there were three positive benefits from this attempt to seize power unlawfully. First, the putsch brought Hitler to the attention of the German nation and generated front page headlines in newspapers around the world. His arrest was followed by a 24-day trial, which was widely publicized and gave Hitler a platform to publicize his nationalist sentiment to the nation. Hitler was found guilty of treason and sentenced to five years in Landsberg Prison. The second benefit to Hitler was that he used his time in prison to produce Mein Kampf, which was dictated to his fellow prisoners Emil Maurice and Rudolf Hess. On 20 December 1924, having served only nine months, Hitler was released. The final benefit that Hitler accrued was the insight that the path to power was through legitimate means rather than revolution or force. Accordingly, the most significant outcome of the putsch was a decision by Hitler to change NSDAP tactics, which would demand an increasing reliance on the development and furthering of Nazi propaganda.
At the subsequent trial in a sympathetic Bavarian court, Ludendorff was released, and Hitler was given a minimum sentence for treason—five years’ imprisonment. He actually served only eight months in the fortress of Landsberg, where he wrote much of his testamentary Mein Kampf. The abortive putsch gave Hitler worldwide fame but led him to decide to achieve power by legal means.
The attempted putsch was inspired by Benito Mussolini’s successful March on Rome, from 22 to 29 October 1922. Hitler and his associates planned to use Munich as a base for a march against Germany’s Weimar Republic government. But the circumstances were different from those in Italy. Hitler came to the realization that Kahr sought to control him and was not ready to act against the government in Berlin. Hitler wanted to seize a critical moment for successful popular agitation and support. He decided to take matters into his own hands. Hitler, along with a large detachment of SA, marched on the Bürgerbräukeller, where Kahr was making a speech in front of 3,000 people.
In the cold, dark evening, 603 SA surrounded the beer hall and a machine gun was set up in the auditorium. Hitler, surrounded by his associates Hermann Göring, Alfred Rosenberg, Rudolf Hess, Ernst Hanfstaengl, Ulrich Graf, Johann Aigner, Adolf Lenk, Max Amann, Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, Wilhelm Adam, and others (some 20 in all), advanced through the crowded auditorium. Unable to be heard above 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.” He went on to state the Bavarian government was deposed and declared the formation of a new government with Ludendorff
Foto: Munich Marienplatz during the failed Beer Hall Putsch. Door Bundesarchiv, Bild 119-1486 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5415949