If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:6:24

Video transcript

Narrator: By the end of 1923, Hitler sees it as his chance to seize power in Germany. He's getting this popularity, the Nazis are getting this follower-ship because the Weimar Republic is falling apart. You have the hyperinflation, the German people feel insulted by this French occupation of the Ruhr region. It isn't just regular people who are starting to support the Nazis, it's very notable people as well. This right over here is General Ludendorff, we've already talked about him, he's one of the believers in the 'stab-in-the-back' theory that Germany would have won World War I if it wasn't stabbed in the back by the November Criminals who had taken control of the government during the revolution in October and November. He becomes a supporter of Hitler as well. In 1922 you have Mussolini come to power, this inspires Hitler. So, as we get in to November, Hitler sees this as his chance and the way that he wants to take control, is he wants to abduct or kidnap the leaders of the Bavarian region, and there's three of them, in particular at this time. Then from there, try to take control of the nation as a whole. So, in November of 1923 you have a gathering of the three gentlemen who are essentially in charge of Bavaria, a gathering of them and several thousand officials in Bavaria at a local beer hall in Munich. (writing) at a beer hall. Hitler sees this as the opportunity to take control. This is where he launches his Beer Hall Putsch, and I know I'm mispronouncing it, but Putsch literally means coup d'état, to try to overthrow the government. So, Hitler and his Nazi's the go to that Beer Hall meeting of the government officials, they surround it with their paramilitary group, their storm troopers, Hitler enters into the hall, gets on stage, shoots into the air twice and says, look this is the revolution, it is beginning. He forces the three leaders of Bavaria at gunpoint to pledge allegiance to the Nazi party and to this Putsch and to Hitler, in particular. Then things start to go a little bit ... get a little bit ... start to dissolve. As Hitler tries to address some issues that are going on outside, the members who they were going to kidnap are allowed to leave, you have chaos in the area amongst the Nazi's and, frankly, amongst the government throughout that evening, into that morning, at which point Hitler and his followers, and Ludendorff is one of them, decide to march (writing) decide to march into central Munich. All of this is happening ... all of this is happening in Munich, which is in Bavaria. They decide to march, and it's during that march that they have a confrontation with the official government troops. It's unclear who fired the first shot, but you do have an exchange of fire and during that exchange of fire, I've seen estimates of about 14-16 Nazi's are shot. A few days later ... and a few policemen, or a few soldiers are shot as well, and then a few days later Hitler is arrested. (writing) Hitler, Hitler is arrested. He's tried in early 1924 and then he is sentenced to jail, so all of his ambitions were lead to nothing. In jail, he still continued to develop his philosophy. He actually continued to develop his following. He spent roughly the second two-thirds of 1924, in 1924, he spent it in jail. (writing) 1924 was spent primarily in jail, but while he was in jail he had dictated his autobiography and his, frankly, his belief system in Mein Kampf, which literally means 'My struggle.' It's actually banned in many countries, it's not banned in the U.S. It does make for interesting reading because you get a sense for, on one level, how bizarre Hitler's brain was and how disturbed Hitler's brain was, but on the other side, you can appreciate that he was a very, he was a strong communicator. Even before any of this people would talk about how transfixing his eyes were, how much attention people paid to him when he would give a speech. You can even see this in his writing, and you can do a web search on it and you can get the entire text of Mein Kampf. It's disturbing and fascinating at the same time, but this is a little passage. In this passage, it gives you an idea of Hitler's view of why Germany was having these failures and what he, in his bizarrely disturbed mind, thought what the solution was. "If we pass all the causes of the German collapse "in review, the ultimate and most decisive "remains the failure to recognize the racial problem, "and especially the Jewish menace." He's blaming all of Hitler's difficulty on a racial problem and in particular on Jews. "The defeats on the battlefield in August 1918 "would have been child's play to bear. "They stood in no proportion to the victories "of our people. "It was not they that cause our downfall, "no, it was brought about by that power which "prepared these defeats by systematically, "over many decades, robbing our people of "the political and moral instincts and forces "which alone make nations capable, "and hence worthy of existence." If you read a lot of the other text, what he's talking about is this decades of, essentially, watering down their society, watering down their society with other people. If they didn't water it down, they say the defeats in the battlefield would've been child's play to bear. "In heedlessly ignoring the question "of the preservation of the racial foundations of our "nation, the old Reich disregarded the sole right "which gives life in this world." He views this racial, in his mind, racial impurity as the reason why Germany was facing all of this difficulty. As we'll see over the next few videos, this leads to one of the ugliest and bloodiest periods of human history.