Gustav von Kahr
|Minister-President of Bavaria|
16 March 1920 –21 September 1921
|Preceded by||Johannes Hoffmann|
|Succeeded by||Graf von Lerchenfeld-Köfering|
|Minister of the Interior of Bavaria|
16 March 1920 –21 September 1921
|Preceded by||Fritz Endres|
|Succeeded by||Franz Xaver Schweyer|
|State Commissioner of Bavaria|
26 September 1923 –16 February 1924
|Born||29 November 1862|
Weißenburg, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Confederation
|Died||30 June 1934 71) (aged|
Dachau, Bavaria, Nazi Germany
|Political party||Bavarian People's Party|
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Gustav Rittervon Kahr (Born Gustav Kahr; 29 November 1862 – 30 June 1934) was a German right-wing politician, active in the state of Bavaria. He helped turn post World War I Bavaria into Germany's center of radical-nationalism, but was then instrumental in the collapse and suppression of Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. In revenge for the latter, he was murdered later in the 1934 Night of the Long Knives.
Born in Weißenburg in Bayern, Kahr studied law and worked as a lawyer before entering politics. He served Bavaria's House of Wittelsbach faithfully, efforts that earned him the title Ritter.Politically, he was a monarchist and had links to the Catholic Bavarian People's Party (BVP), though he was a Protestant and never joined any party.
In 1917, he became head of the Regierungsbezirk (provincial) government of Upper Bavaria, continuing in the post even after the establishment of the People's State of Bavaria in November 1918 ended the Wittelsbach monarchy, though for pragmatic reasons: he wanted to help defend middle- and upper-class interests from further disruption. In support of this goal, Kahr proposed the creation of a civil defence force, but his suggestion did not meet with the approval of Prime Minister Johannes Hoffmann. Not long after, in April 1919, the Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed. Kahr fled Munich with Hoffmann and the rest of the state government to Bamberg, where they called for volunteers to help crush the Soviet. Those who responded were organised into Freikorps .
It was after the suppression of the Bavarian Soviet Republic at the beginning of May, which saw hundreds of civilians murdered by Freikorps fighters, that Kahr delved into Bavarian paramilitary politics. Munich's leaders wanted to maintain the capabilities of the Freikorps, but without their drawbacks. In brief, the Freikorps were too violent, too small, and too independent of the Bavarian state. The Civil Guards, or Einwohnerwehr , was formed in an attempt to resolve these deficiencies.
In March 1920, Kahr succeeded Hoffmann as prime minister of Bavaria. He came into office under military influences as a secondary result of the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch of 13 March in Berlin. The most powerful party in Bavaria, the BVP, was then in a state of much anxiety as a result of the experiences of Bolshevism, chaos, and violence through which Munich had passed in the spring of 1919. The ministry presided over by the socialist Hoffmann had succeeded in quelling Bolshevism with the aid of Republican troops from Prussia and Württemberg, but the great majority of the BVP, as well as liberals of various shades, not to speak of the monarchists and reactionaries, wanted further guarantees against a recurrence of the Bolshevist terror.
The Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch in Berlin gave the signal for political action in Munich, and at a midnight sitting the Bavarian socialist ministry was somewhat unceremoniously hustled out of office — it is alleged under military pressure — and a coalition cabinet under Kahr installed. The coalition included reactionaries whose influence became more and more predominant. They were backed up by formerly liberal Bavarian journals which had been bought up by Prussian industrialists.
Kahr's administration was essential in turning Bavaria into a "Ordnungszelle" (cell of order), giving room for all kinds of right-wing groups. He also supported separatist forces that aimed at Bavarian secession from Germany, but after the German government passed a decree for the protection of the Republic against right-wing extremists, Kahr resigned on 21 September 1921.
On 26 September 1923, following a period of turmoil with assassinations and political violence, Prime Minister Eugen von Knilling declared martial law and appointed Kahr, who had returned to his provincial post, as Staatskomissar (state commissioner) with dictatorial powers. Together with Bavarian State Police head Colonel Hans Ritter von Seisser, and Reichswehr General Otto von Lossow, he formed a triumvirate.
That year, many reactionary groups wanted to emulate Mussolini's "March on Rome" with a "March on Berlin." Among these were the wartime General Erich Ludendorff and the Nazi (NSDAP) group, led by Adolf Hitler. Hitler decided to use Ludendorff as a figurehead in an attempt to seize power in what was later known as the "Hitler Putsch" or Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler and Ludendorff sought the support of Kahr and his triumvirate. However, Kahr had his own plan with Seisser (Seißer) and Lossow to install a nationalist dictatorship without Hitler. 126 Kahr warned the "patriotic associations" against independent action. :127 Despite his misgivings over Hitler's tactics, Kahr was every bit a right-wing patriot who stood against the Weimar government and believed action against those in Berlin was warranted. Akin to the later and infamous rhetoric of Hitler, Kahr remarked to an assembly of high-ranking officers on 19 October 1923 that the real matter at hand was "a great battle of two worldviews which will decide the destiny of the German people – the international Marxist-Jewish and the national Germanic." Along this line, Kahr was not unlike many conservative Germans and his identification of perceived foreign threats is a defining feature of post-1918 German ideology; against which, it was widely believed, Germans had to make a stand. Accordingly, Kahr and his right-wing compatriots wanted to challenge the seeming cowardice of the extant government of Germany and eventually seize control since he found the Weimar Constitution and its leadership decidedly un-German in disposition.:
Weighing on Kahr's mind however, were injunctions from Berlin against reactionary activities. All the rage amid right-wing groups in Bavaria against the resumption of war-reparation payments did not temper the determination of the government in Berlin. The Weimar leadership's staunch warnings against revolutionary activities included military intervention if necessary. Troops under the command of General von Seeckt (who was previously identified among the right-wing circles as a possible choice for dictator) were poised and positioned for action. Stern warnings were reiterated by General von Seeckt, prompting the triumvirate of Kahr, Lossow, and Seisser to lose heart, at which point they informed the members of Kampfbund, (which was headed by Hitler) that they would determine when precipitate action would be taken. This did not sit well with Hitler. 99–102:
Hitler was determined to act before the appeal of his agitation waned. 125 On 8 November 1923, Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting of 3,000 people that had been organized by Kahr in the Bürgerbräukeller, a large beer hall in Munich. Hitler interrupted Kahr's speech and announced that the national revolution had begun, declaring the formation of a new government with Ludendorff. While waving his gun around, Hitler demanded the support of Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow. :128 Hitler's forces initially succeeded at occupying the local Reichswehr and police headquarters; however, neither the army nor the state police joined forces with Hitler. :129 Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow were briefly detained but then released. The three quickly fled to join the opposition to Hitler. During the night, and unknown to Hitler, they prepared the resistance against the coup. The following day, Hitler and his followers marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow the Bavarian government as a prelude to their "March on Berlin", but the police dispersed them. :130–131 Sixteen NSDAP members and four police officers were killed in the failed coup. :111–113 Kahr's involvement in the collapse of Hitler's putsch cost him the support of right-wing nationalist forces in Bavaria.:
Kahr was forced to resign from his post as Staatskommissar on 16 February 1924, after Reichskanzler Wilhelm Marx had secretly met von Knilling on 18 January 1924 and convinced him to drop both von Kahr and von Lossow.
After this, Kahr served as President of the Bavarian law court for reviewing administrative acts and then, having sunk into relative obscurity, retired from public service three years later.
On 30 June 1934, during what became known as the Night of the Long Knives, Kahr was brutally murdered by the Nazis for his "treason" during the Beer Hall Putsch. He was abducted from his Munich apartment and tortured by two SS members en route to the Dachau concentration camp. After his arrival there, Kahr was shot on orders of Theodor Eicke, the camp commandant. Historian Thomas Childers reports that Kahr was taken to a nearby swamp and hacked to death with axes.Whether he was shot first is unknown, but his mutilated body was found outside the camp a few days later. The murder was likely committed by Johann Kantschuster .
Freikorps were irregular German military volunteer units that existed from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, which effectively fought as mercenary or private armies, regardless of their own nationality. In German-speaking countries, the first so-called Freikorps were formed in the 18th century from native volunteers, enemy renegades and deserters. These sometimes exotically equipped units served as infantry and cavalry, sometimes in just company strength, sometimes in formations up to several thousand strong; there were also various mixed formations or legions. The Prussian von Kleist Freikorps included infantry, jäger, dragoons and hussars. The French Volontaires de Saxe combined uhlans and dragoons.
The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch, and, in German, as the Hitlerputsch, Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch, Bürgerbräu-Putsch or Marsch auf die Feldherrnhalle("March on the Field Marshals' Hall"), was a failed coup d'état by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler—along with Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff and other Kampfbund leaders—to seize power in Munich, Bavaria, which took place on 8–9 November 1923. Approximately two thousand Nazis were marching to the Feldherrnhalle, in the city centre, when they were confronted by a police cordon, which resulted in the deaths of 16 Nazi party members and four police officers.
The Kapp Putsch, also known as the Kapp–Lüttwitz Putsch, named after its leaders Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Lüttwitz, was an attempted coup in Berlin on 13 March 1920 which aimed to undo the German Revolution of 1918–1919, overthrow the Weimar Republic and establish an autocratic government in its place. It was supported by parts of the Reichswehr and nationalist and monarchist factions.
Gregor Strasser was an early prominent German Nazi official and politician who was murdered during the Night of the Long Knives in 1934. Born in 1892 in Bavaria, Strasser served in World War I in an artillery regiment, rising to the rank of first lieutenant. He joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1920 and quickly became an influential and important figure. In 1923, he took part in the abortive Beer Hall Putsch in Munich and was imprisoned, but released early for political reasons. Strasser joined a revived NSDAP in 1925 and once again established himself as a powerful and dominant member, hugely increasing the party's membership and reputation in northern Germany. Personal and political conflicts with Adolf Hitler led to his death in 1934 during the Night of the Long Knives.
The Bavarian People's Party was the Bavarian branch of the Centre Party, a lay Roman Catholic party, which broke off from the rest of the party in 1918 to pursue a more conservative and more Bavarian particularist course. The party displayed monarchist leanings because many Bavarians had never accepted the overthrow of the House of Wittelsbach in 1918 and there was a period of near separatism in the early 1920s, culminating in Gustav von Kahr's unwillingness to abide by rulings from Berlin during the autumn crisis of 1923. This only came to an end with the shock of Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch. Following the establishment of a more stable situation throughout Germany, the party came around to a more moderate line under the leadership of Ministerpräsident Heinrich Held and party president Fritz Schäffer.
The Kampfbund ("Battle-league") was a league of nationalist fighting societies and the German National Socialist party in Bavaria, Germany, in the 1920s. It included Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party (NSDAP) and its Sturmabteilung (SA), the Oberland League and the Bund Reichskriegsflagge. Hitler was its political leader, while Hermann Kriebel led its militia.
This Weimar Timeline charts the chronology of the Weimar Republic, dating the pre-history before the adoption of the actual Weimar constitution. This timeline stops when Hitler establishes the Third Reich.
The early timeline of Nazism begins with its origins and continues until Hitler's rise to power.
The Bavarian or Munich Soviet Republic was a short-lived unrecognised socialist state in Bavaria during the German Revolution of 1918–19. It took the form of a workers' council republic. Its name is also rendered in English as the Bavarian Council Republic; the German term Räterepublik means a republic of councils or committees: council or committee is also the meaning of the Russian word soviet. It was established in April 1919 after the demise of Kurt Eisner's People's State of Bavaria and sought to establish a socialist soviet republic in Bavaria. It was overthrown less than a month later by elements of the German Army and the paramilitary Freikorps. Its collapse helped the Nazi party in its subsequent rise to power.
Hermann Ehrhardt was a German Freikorps commander during the period of turmoil in Weimar Republic Germany from 1918 to 1920, he commanded the famous II.Marine Brigade, better known as the Ehrhardt Brigade or Marinebrigade Ehrhardt.
Colonel Hans Ritter von Seisser was the head of the Bavarian State Police in 1923.
Franz Matt was a German lawyer, politician and minister, who belonged to the Bavarian People's Party (BVP). Following the revolution, he substantially defined and put through Bavarian cultural and educational policy.
General Otto Hermann von Lossow was a Bavarian Army and then German Army officer who played a prominent role in the events surrounding the attempted Beer Hall Putsch by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in November 1923.
Ernst Pöhner was Munich's Chief of Police from 1919 to 1922. A vigorous nationalist and anti-communist, he was instrumental in mounting terror and in supporting the Organisation Consul death squads. Confronted with the charge that entire groups of right-wing political assassins were at large and working in and around Munich, he is reported to have said: "Yes ... but too few of them."
Eugen Ritter von Knilling was the Prime Minister of Bavaria from 1922 to 1924.
The Freikorps Oberland was a free corps in the early years of the Weimar Republic, fighting against Communist and Polish insurgents. It was successful in the 1921 Battle of Annaberg and became the core of the Sturmabteilung (SA) in Bavaria while several members later turned against the Nazis.
The following events occurred in November 1923:
The Bund Bayern und Reich was a right-wing paramilitary organization based in Bavaria during the Weimar Republic. It became the largest of such organizations in Bavaria throughout the 1920s.
The People's State of Bavaria was a short-lived socialist state in Bavaria from 1918 to 1919. The People's State of Bavaria was established on 8 November 1918 during the German Revolution, as an attempt at a socialist state to replace the Kingdom of Bavaria within the Weimar Republic. The state was led by Kurt Eisner until his assassination in February 1919, and co-existed with the rival Bavarian Soviet Republic from 6 April 1919, with its government under Johannes Hoffmann exiled in Bamberg. The People's State of Bavaria was dissolved upon the establishment of the Free State of Bavaria on 14 August 1919.
The Einwohnerwehr, or "Citizens' Defense," also called the Civil Guard or Civil Defense, was a far-right paramilitary in Weimar Germany that existed in violation of the Treaty of Versailles from the German Revolution of 1918-19 until June 29, 1921. It was established with the goal of defending Germany against Communist uprisings and foreign attacks, though it was also hostile to the Weimar Republic. It was based in Bavaria, where anti-Berlin and anti-republican sentiment attracted such activity. On June 29, 1921, the German government gave in to Allied demands and dissolved the Citizens' Defense. Its militants moved on to fight in other far-right paramilitaries with similar goals.
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| Minister-President of Bavaria |
Hugo Graf von und zu Lerchenfeld