Yet it was this tenacity that made all the rest possible and that must have been rooted in an extremely powerful conviction, or inspiration, or vision, to take him where he ultimately arrived. And who took into consideration that the social and political circumstances in Germany differed totally from those in Italy? But troubled times hatch troubled schemes. Besides, Hitler had painted himself into a corner. The growing ranks of the SA, now mostly recruited among the unemployed, had to be fed and kept occupied.
Many of them, although enjoying the comradeship and the intimidating swastika armbands and uniforms if they had one , were no idealists: they were just hungry and penniless. They could not forever be kept marching and chanting in the streets or collecting money for the Party — while doing a little mischief on the side, for instance beating up an old Jew. They were looking forward to what was promised to them — power, food and money — and this not in the long term but as soon as possible. If he did not risk the putsch now, he would be a boaster and vacillator in the eyes of his followers and sooner or later be overtaken by the dynamics of the situation.
Their restlessness had various causes. Many of them were professional soldiers, who after weeks of conspiratorial preparations were all keyed up for action. The Hitler Putsch on 8 and 9 November was one of the worst prepared, most amateurish and even comical events except for the shooting in German history. From the start everything went wrong. Hitler, at the head of the helmeted and armed Shock Troop Hitler, appeared in the overcrowded beer hall in tail coat, which made him look like a head waiter.
Nobody has found out where he got the idea of donning this original dress to conduct a coup.
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Brandishing his pistol, he silenced the crowd with a shot into the ceiling. He announced that a new national government had been formed with himself at the helm and Ludendorff as chief of the army an arrangement about which Ludendorff had not been consulted and which he will never forgive. Hitler forced the triumvirate to swear an oath of collaboration with him, which they broke as soon as he made the mistake of leaving them, going somewhere else where he was not needed.
They fled from the beer hall, declared all initiatives of the Nazis illegal and started organizing the suppression of the putsch.
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Another asked himself if these shabby figures would actually make an impressive effect on the population. But who could have expected more?
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None of the participants had known beforehand that they were to execute a propaganda march through the city, and in the bygone night they had slept little and drunk much beer. Many suffered from a nasty hangover. But the narrow street the marchers engaged into was blocked by a cordon of state police. Nobody knows who fired the first shot. When the exchange of fire ended after thirty seconds — a long time under fire — fourteen of the Nazi marchers and four policemen lay dead. Killed by one of the first shots was Scheubner-Richter next to Hitler. He survived. This is one of the many occasions on which Hitler was protected by Destiny, or whatever one cares to call it.
It was also the day on which the learning phase in his political life came to an end. He would switch to completely different political tactics: the attainment of power by legal means. Historians are still writing that the November putsch was an improvised occurrence. Brigitte Hamann in her book on Hitler and Winifred Wagner, however, makes us think otherwise.
Hitler visited Haus Wahnfried in Bayreuth for the first time on 1 October , a month before the putsch. All present were touched by his solemn first contact with the place where the revered Richard Wagner had lived, worked, and lay buried. That he went there precisely at this moment, shortly before the putsch and the expected assumption of power, had the effect of something like a consecration. As religious people go on a pilgrimage before making an important decision, thus Hitler went to obtain the blessings of [Houston] Chamberlain and of the departed Master, Richard Wagner.
Where was Dietrich Eckart during the Hitler Putsch? He was arrested after the failed coup and imprisoned, first in Stadelheim prison, then with Hitler and the others in fortress at Landsberg. This text is not the rendering of a real dialogue but of a fictitious one, no doubt based — and herein lays its special value — on conversations which must have taken place between the two men. If these pages were pure invention, Eckart would never have given them to others to read and they would never have been published after his death, certainly not by the Nazi Hoheneichen-Verlag. To attain our goal any means will be justified, even if we have to make a pact with the devil.
They will climax for the time being in a speech on 13 August , less than a year after his entry in the Harrer and Drexler circle. One possible reason for putting everything down on paper was that his health was declining rapidly. How could Hitler preach the elimination and extermination of the Jews while saying that their evil, the poison of a demonic race, was there in all of humanity, including every German in his audience? Darwinism, as interpreted by Chamberlain and Rosenberg, was much more straightforward and handier. Anti-Semitism, after all, is a matter of gut feelings, and any combination of simplistic arguments will do to justify it, even if very loosely stitched together.
The assent of the audience was obtained by the power of speech, not by the reasoning behind it. There is the schizoid interpretation of the biblical narration about the Jews in Egypt: the Jews were not kept in bondage by the Egyptians, on the contrary the Jews did their usual subversive work in trying to overthrow the throne of the pharaoh.
There is the assertion that it was the Christians, followers of Paul, the Jew of Tarsus, who undermined the Roman Empire and caused its downfall. There is the fundamental Jewishness of the Catholic Church, for is their holy book not Jewish literature, and are many of their feasts and ceremonies not of Jewish origin?
And there are of course the theories of the Jew Karl Marx, propagated to dominate the world and as such the inspiration of Lenin and his Judeo-Bolshevism. And he will proclaim on several occasions that Nazism has to wage a fight against Bolshevism on the left and against Capitalism on the right because both are strategic instruments of the attempt by the Jews to bring the world under their control. This is the cause of the strange fact that we are attacked from two sides which fight against each other. The Reds shout at us that we are reactionaries, and the reactionaries that we are Bolshevists.
From both sides it is the Jew who blows the storm clouds toward us.
When one reads such an accumulation of crankiness, one wonders how millions of people, belonging to the most cultured nation in the world at least in their own eyes could accept them as plain truth. And there was much more of the same alloy, e. Philosophically, however, they always related to the changing world in progress, of which the Enlightenment was the cause and justification.
How does one become an anti-Semite? There was a poison in the air, a germ in the mental nourishment of that time which became virulent when the personal constitution proved receptive because of certain surroundings or a traumatic experience. And Eckart had read all the books. There was also a new factor which played an important role since the Russian Revolution. Lenin, Trotsky, Bolshevism, a Republic of Councils, Bela Kun, Spartacists, red flags, the hammer and sickle, new leftist terms and slogans: all of that became part of the popular awareness, and all of it was felt as threatening.
The man is developing an incurable case of folie de grandeur. I tell you, if he lets his Messiah complex run away with him, he will ruin us all. Heaven knows the Jews are behaving badly enough in Berlin and the Bolshevists are an even worse lot, but you cannot build a political party on the basis of prejudices alone. I am a writer and a poet and I am too old to go along with him any more. It is nevertheless demonstrable that Eckart went along with Adolf till the very end. When the NSDAP held its first Parteitag , on 27 and 28 January in Munich, Eckart stood in the place of honour, one pace behind Hitler, to review the parade marching through the snow.
This was also the day on which the first SA standards were consecrated, all of them carrying the slogan Deutschland erwache! When in April Eckart had to go into hiding because there was a warrant of arrest out against him for libel against President Ebert, he withdrew incognito into the mountains above Berchtesgaden. Drexler, Amann, Weber, Esser and Hitler stayed with him as visitors. After the putsch he tried for a while to keep the dispersed Nazi movement together, collaborating to this end with Rosenberg.
You despise anyone who faithfully cared for you! Dietrich Eckart was dismissed from Landsberg prison because of serious heart trouble. He died in Berchtesgaden on 26 December. He will dance, but it is I who wrote the tune. We have given him the means to communicate with Them … Do not mourn for me, for I will have influenced history more than any other German.
The title attracted attention, in the first place of the Bavarian political police.
There is little doubt that Sebottendorff wrote the book to present Hitler with the bill of formerly rendered services, and that he thought he might claim his share in the success of the movement he had aided to launch. Soon after the Munich Republic of Councils, when the Thule had been at its most active and several of its members had been executed, he recalled, the society started on its downward slide and began to disintegrate.
It had accomplished its goal; it had to disappear in order that new things could come about which stood already on the threshold. This was not the kind of memories Hitler liked to be reminded of. Hitler wanted to have thought out everything by himself and without examples. He considered it a diminution of his greatness when one pointed out analogous ideas. He has created what we longed for; we gathered the elements, he led to the goal!
The reader may remember that Sebottendorff, after his arrest by the Gestapo, was saved by former Thule-Brother Rudolf Hess. What had for the most part been Bavarian history would now become German and world history. This may therefore be the point to take leave of another of the men who made Hitler possible, in this case the one who actually discovered him: Karl Mayr. He had been promoted to major and left the Army in March , when Hitler became a civilian on 31 March because his backer in the Army was no longer there.
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Reuth has it that Mayr was discharged dishonourably. It may be that the social-democratic authorities finally caught up with the machinations of the rightist officer. This is not improbable in the light of what we have learned before. And right he was.
When Hitler came to power, Mayr, like many others, fled the country into France. Mayr was caught and handed over to the Germans. He died in the Buchenwald concentration camp on 9 February Germany subjected itself to a religion it did not know; it followed rites it did not understand; it exulted and died for a mysterium in which it was not initiated.
The failure of the putsch came as a shattering blow to Hitler, in the first place because he felt covered with ridicule. On arrival in the prison at Landsberg he was given a spacious cell — some say more comfortable than his room in Munich at that time — vacated for him by Anton von Arco auf Valley, the assassin of Kurt Eisner.