Historically interesting pubs

1923: The Beer Hall Putsch – Bürgerbräukeller, Munich

Weimar Germany was a hotbed of political strife and agitation. The end of the First World War caused huge turmoil in Germany which experienced a short but bloody civil war known as the ‘Spartacist uprising’ followed by hyperinflation and its accompanying instability.

Germany, recently made a republic by the abdication of the Kaiser, had a burgeoning communist party and an equally strong nationalist party all of which attracted more and more supporters in this febrile atmosphere, as Germans sought an answer and solution to the political, social and economic upheaval their country was experiencing.

Even if they did not adhere to one side or the other, the issues of the day were the hot topics in bars and cafés across the country. Munich’s beer halls in particular were popular places for socilaising and engaging in political debate and one of the largest and most famous was the Bürgerbräukeller.

In November 1923 the hall was the scene of the failed seizure of power by Adolf Hitler and his nascent Nazi party.

While Bavarian state commissioner Gustav von Kahr was making a speech in the hall one evening, in marched Hitler at the head of some of his SA men and declared the place was surrounded. At the same time, old general Erich von Ludendorff moved his ‘freikorp’ out of another nearby beer hall, the ‘Löwenbraukeller’, to seize important buildings across the city.

The aim of the coup or ‘putsch’ was to seize power in Bavaria and then use it as a base before a final march on Berlin where Hitler and Ludendorff would seize power and ‘save’ Germany from the communists.

Staying in the beer hall overnight, the next day the plotters realised their coup was going nowhere. In a bid to rouse the city to their cause they marched on the Defence Ministry but there ran into 130 soldiers and policeman who refused to give way to the 2,000 SA men Hitler had at his back. The two groups began shooting and the Nazis came off worse. Sixteen of them were killed and Hitler and Hermann Göring were wounded. The rest of Hitler’s men scattered and Hitler himself was imprisoned. Unfortunately, this was not the end of the matter with consequences for both Germany and the world that are well-remembered.

Hitler returned to the Bürgerbräukeller in 1938 on the anniversary of the putsch but left the rally early thereby missing a huge bomb meant for him and which killed eight people instead.

Reopened as a beer cellar after the war the site was demolished in 1978 and is now occupied by the Gasteig Cultutral Centre and Hilton Hotel.

2 Responses to “Historically interesting pubs”

  1. Philip Johnson says:

    Nell Gwynn cumly? How very revealing, Dictionary or decent sub-editor required.

  2. jenna says:

    It was the other way around. Rosalind Franklin first showed the X-ray experiment. Then Watson and Crick get “inspired” to postulate the double helix. #womeninscience…

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