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I saw Hitlers rout at Munich

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I saw Hitlers rout at Munich

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I saw 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.

Nobody in Munich took much notice of a man called Adolf Hitler 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 Hitler 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. Adolf Hitler 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 General Erich von Ludendorff. Next came Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring and Rudolf Hess all shouting commands. It was supposed to be the march on Berlin. the German army. As Erich von Ludendorff 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 Hitler, Hermann Göring and Rudolf Hess. Only Erich von Ludendorff 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.
It was 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 Hitler.
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.

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Putsch picture 1

Putsch picture 2

Putsch picture 3

Putsch picture 4

Adolf Hitler and Erich von Ludendorff

Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring

Adolf Hitler and Rudolf Hess

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Sources

The Second Great War.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

The War Illustrated.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

2194 Days Of War.
ISBN-10: 086136614X

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