The Munich Putsch Sources Questions
Source A is an eyewitness account of the armed siege by Hitler and his forces into a large beer hall call the Burgerbraukeller on the 8th of November 1923 - The Munich Putsch Sources Questions introduction. It is possible that the actual events might not completely be stated since the writer was a member of the Nazi party at this time. We learn of the precise timing of the incursion. Hitler times it to the minute with complete perfection, the moment his watch hit 8:30, hundreds of heavily armed personnel storm into the building, blocking all means of escape and completely dominating the population of the Hall.
This tells us of Hitler’s radical way of enforcing his influence amongst crowds using force and oppressive control. When his men move in, it creates an element of chaos and commotion amongst the patrons. But it states that Hitler simply moved through and fired his pistol to make people silent at once, and once they were silent, it says that they could even hear Hitler breathing heavily, which must mean that this was something he was determined to do.
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I personally believe that Hitler’s control might be exaggerated, I reckon that it was a lot harder to gain complete co-operation from everyone, since the level of panic must have been immense. 2a) There is a distinct difference of the events in the Burgerbraukeller stated in source A and B. Source A is a detailed description of the events, and source B is a painting, which seems to contradict most of what was said in source A. The picture shows what seems to be organised and focused co-operation from the crowed who look fairly unaffected by the supposed actions as described in source A.
They also seem to be looking very focused and there appear to be very few guards, and no weapons are visible at all. But if the events were as source A dictates then this would certainly not be the case. b) The likely cause of the difference of perspective of the Munich Putsch is probably due to the time in which they were created. Source A was created close to the time, and was written apparently by an eyewitness, and this was at a time when Hitler needed to gain popularity amongst the German population, this description would probably not serve as good propaganda in 1937.
Source B was created 14 years later in 1937 by an official Nazi party artist, therefore the details would inevitably be less accurate in all than the eyewitness view. And also Hitler may have wanted the painting to demonstrate how good he is with crowds and to say that people didn’t mind his presence there at the time. 3) Source C is the bill sent to the Nazi party from the owner of the Burgerbraukeller and also for the damage and theft committed at the event. Source D is an official speech by Hitler at the Burgerbraukeller on the evening of the putsch.
It is his speech announcing the removal of the Wiemar government from Munich. He explains that the city is now under the flag of the Nazi party, and that the national revolution has begun and that he will carry out his vow he made when he was injured from WW1. I believe that source C is more accurate in describing the intensity of the event, and of what was happening in the hall itself. Whereas source D better describes the situation of what was going on outside in Germany as a whole, and not specifically of the damage caused, and the violent way in which the speech was conducted.
The bill I believe is symbolic to the situation of Germany at this time. A very large quantity of alcohol was consumed, which could have been due to the terrible weakness of the economy and diminished social situation in the country. A large amount of property and furniture was broken, which may very well describe the ferocity in which the guards attained control of the hall; either that or the large amount of alcohol consumed may have caused riotous tendencies.
And 148 sets of cutlery stolen, perhaps this was due to the lack of wealth of the patrons? I believe the speech to be secondary to the statistics in the interpretation of what happened in the Burgerbraukeller in 1923. 4) Sources F, G and H all give a description of what happened in Munich of 9 November 1934. The first difference that comes to mind is that sources F and G conflict on Hitler’s heroism at the event, yet source H remains neutral.
Source F, a biography of Hitler written by the Nazi party in 1934, seems to portray Hitler as a hero. It says that during a march, he linked arms with a man who was shot and flung up into the air, damaging Hitler’s arm in the process. However he still manages to attempt to save a supposedly injured boy. However, in source G, written by a member of the German SDP, Hitler had wanted to flee before the march, however, he was convinced by General Ludendorff that no uniformed German would fire upon a hero of the first world war.
When they did join the march, with this interpretation it is said that Hitler flung himself to the ground at the first shot, which does seem to paint a different picture about his bravery whilst under attack. When he fell to the ground he sprained his arm, but this did not stop him from fleeing and driving into the mountains. This suggests that he used his injury and fled in cowardice instead of sustaining his injury and standing firm like as in source F. Source H is written by a British historian in 1973, which was many years after the previous two were written.
It gives far more detail on the exact events from the sides of both the police and the marchers. It does say that Hitler shouted “surrender” to the police, which would give him a brave image. It doesn’t say for sure whether he flung himself to the ground if he was dragged down, but it says that Hitler’s account was that he was pulled down. It also points out that if he fell down, it may have been due to him being an experienced soldier and not necessarily cowardice. The Nazi and SDP writers seem to want to either commend him or condemn him on the day itself.
All of the interpretations do agree that he was there and present at the march and that he certainly did injure his arm and he did flee, but they seem to have a totally different opinion of whether he behaved bravely of cowardly on the day. 5) Source I is a photo of Hitler before his trial in 1924. He is standing upright next to General Ludendorff to try to show himself off as a national hero and a powerful figure of Germany, and Source J is a statement made by Hitler on his trial. He implies that the Wiemar government are traitors for surrendering from the war in 1918, and that there is no such thing as high treason against traitors.
He describes himself as the best kind of German, and says that he does only what is best for Germany, and the German people, and that he wants only to fight and die for the good of Germany. In both he symbolises himself as powerful and a strong leader who is committed to doing only what’s best for the good of the nation. 6) “The events in Munich 8/9 November 1923 greatly increased the influence of Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany” This is completely untrue. It turned Hitler and the Nazi party into the laughing stock of Germany at this point.
A man shouting absurd political views in the middle of a public place is seldom taken seriously. It was pretty much the same here only Hitler had 600 armed men to help him out which meant he ended up in jail afterwards and did nothing really to increase support for the Nazi party, and possibly just gave his opposition the opportunity to condemn him further. It cost the Nazi party a fair amount with all the damage it caused while trying to incite armed uprising. We can see this in the bill for the damage to the bar in source C.
Hitler himself pointed out in source K that he should change his approach to outvoting Marxist and Catholic parties instead of outgunning them, this way he can gain support of the majority instead of the fear. This would serve to be more stable in the long term if he was serious about gaining power in Germany, more violence would probably not alleviate the starvation and chaos in Germany at this time. It was also dangerous to him as he was injured and almost killed during the march on Munich where he was just a foot or so away from being shot dead, which he no doubt would have become if he hadn’t changed his tactics.