Hitlers rout at Munich.
8 November 1923, is celebrated by the Nazi party
as the anniversary of the first putsch in Munich in 1923. The following dramatic
story told by Elizabeth Castonier, who witnessed the rout of Hitler
and his followers, is reproduced from the Evening Standard.
Munich took much notice of a man called Adolf
in 1923. I used to see him marching through the streets, followed by
a straggling band of youngsters. These boys, and a few disgruntled men were the
only people who would listen to his harangues, chiefly against the Jews. Friends
of mine in Munich, had a son who joined the Hitler partly. It was called the Nazionalsozialistische
Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (abbreviated NSDAP). He was 16 and have a party card,
of which he was very proud. He was a nice boy, not very strong but filled with
idealism. I remember one day early in November 1923 he came home and told his
mother that he needed a new pair of shoes. Very strong shoes. He said. Also he
would need some hard-boiled eggs, a loaf of bread and a great sausage. You going
away for the weekend, skiing ? Asked his mother. The boy answered seriously, no,
not this time. We are marching to Berlin, to upset the government and to kill
the Jews ! Silly boy. His mother replied. But she promised him all he asked, for
she thought he was going on some boyish excursion with other youngsters of the
party. A day or two later, it was 8 November 1923, we were returning home about
2200 hrs in the evening. The most important street in Munich Ludwigstrasse, was
empty. But from the distance we could hear singing, and the Tramp of marching
feet. And suddenly, from a side street, there emerged a group of young men with
flags, rucksacks, sticks and carrying old-fashioned rifles. They marched right
up to the Ministry of War. The door opened a very old man, a porter, put his head
out. Yelling and shouting, the boys poured in. While we watched, some of them
were posted in the entrance, others dragging an old rusty machine-gun, barred
side of the road, but most of them surrounded the building and stood motionless,
sticks or guns across their shoulders. We tried to find out what was happening.
The party has overthrown the Bavarian government, one of the older ones told us.
has ordered us to take over the Ministry and the guarded against enemies. We shrugged
our shoulders and went home. Did nobody in Munich, could believe that all this
was serious. At midday, Hitler
and his followers marched bravely through Munich. There were youngsters, young
men and older men, carrying banners, sticks and rifles. In the forefront marched
. Next came Adolf
all shouting commands. It was supposed to be the march on Berlin. the
German army. As Erich
approached the Feldhernhalle, he saw the troops drawn up. Machine
guns and the tank. Halt came the command to the Nazi's. Holds all we fire! The
mob marched on. The soldiers, and the armed police fired. The procession fell
flat on the ground some of them dead.
A few minutes later three figures, got
up and fled, leaving their followers to themselves. They were Adolf
. Only Erich
marched on. There was panic. We saw those bewildered children,
some only 15 years old, much to the steps of the Feldhernhalle some tried to break
through the line of death spitting machine guns and were killed. Some tried to
get into the palace, but found the gates closed in their faces. In a few minutes,
the soldiers had cleared the whole place. Only the dead were left.
not yet all over. There were still those left in the conquered Ministry of War
office. Half a dozen of them, from 16 to 20 years of age, and half dead with fatigue,
were still holding out on their posts they did not know their leader had quit.
From a side street, a tank appeared. An elderly officer, with many medals climbed
out and walked towards the boys, ignoring the old machine gun they had posted
in front of the building. Gentleman he said, it is no use trying to resist. An
old machine gun, let me see oh my God, the oldest model can't fight against a
tank. You are very brave men. Come along. Your leader has fled, has run away.
The whole joke is over. Resistance useless. Go home to your parents. The man who
spoke was General Franz
Ritter von Epp
. Years later, he was to be governor of Bavaria, under Adolf
My friend's son got home, in the late afternoon. He did not say
where he had been. Never again did he mention this march on Berlin. He was disgusted
that the man who had promised them honour have run away. Other:
Edited by Sir John Hamilton
The War Illustrated.
by Sir John Hamilton
2194 Days Of War.
For a complete list of sources