November 9: Germany's Date with Destiny

November 9 is a key date in Germany history. What happened on November 9 and what led up to that point? Have a look at 1919 when Communists ruled in Munich...

November 9th is a topic I write about each year - Kristallnacht, the Hitler Putsch in 1923 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, just to name a few important events that took place on this date. This year, let's take a look at the situation in Munich just before Hitler's attempted Putsch:

Munich, 1919

General Strike. Criminals released. Police files - burned. Schools - closed. Newspapers - closed. Banks- closed. Beer halls – curfews imposed. Private Safes - confiscated. Safety Deposit Boxes - confiscated. Private homes searched and looted - by the government. The communists have arrived in Munich.

Soon after Kurt Eisner first declared a “Socialist Republic” in Munich and King Ludwig III abdicated and ran off to Hungary, Eisner was shot in cold blood on the street in Munich. Ironically, this Jewish journalist from Berlin knew he couldn’t rule any longer and was on his way to parliament to resign. The letter was found in the pocket of the corpse. After two months of chaos, Lenin’s revolutionary government in Moscow intervened and sent in three communists from the Berlin chapter. Munich’s government fled to Bamberg and the communist reign of terror began. In addition to all the measures previously mentioned, the communists created a soviet style “Red Army.” To ensure their loyalty, they were well cared for. Privates received 25 Reichsmarks per day while officers pockets 100 RM. Soldiers and their families were afforded free living space. The Red Army also seized all food supplies in Munich and searched private homes taking whatever they pleased. Meanwhile in the Communist HQ at the Wittelsbacher Palais near Odeonsplatz, the alcohol flowed freely and the palace was used to house sex parties for the leadership. To pay for this, the red government ordered the citizens to fork over their money and valuables for a government IOU. When that didn’t work, they seized bank safes and safety deposit boxes. When that wasn’t enough, they raided private homes. Once that was exhausted, the printed money, drastically spiking inflation.

With this backdrop, the Freikorps, comprised of recently discharged WWI soldiers responded and violently took back the city. Soon the streets ran red with the blood of the communists and the people of Munich associated “Communism” with thievery, lawlessness, and anarchy.

What happened on November 9th?

Often called Germany’s “Date with Destiny,” Many immediately recognize November 9th as the infamous Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass.” On Kristallnacht windows of Jewish-owned establishments were smashed and approximately 100 Jews were killed, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged, and some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested. Hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. An estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested.

During the Nazi reign of terror, November 9 was always a key date. In 1923, Hitler staged a Putsch against the Bavarian Government. The brown shirts marched from the Bürgerbräukeller near Rosenheimer Platz until they were stopped near Odeonsplatz by the Bavarian Police. Shots were fired and 16 Nazi’s were killed along with 4 Bavarian policemen. After the Nazi’s did come to power, November 9 became a special date in the Nazi calendar to commemorate their fallen – in 1933 November 9 was declared a national holiday.

It was also during this “celebration” in 1939 that Georg Elser tried to assassinate Hitler with a bomb in the Bürgerbräukeller. Unfortunately, Hitler cut his speech short and the bomb’s explosion missed him by just 13 minutes.

In 1989, The Berlin Wall fell

Consider also some of the “lesser” events that occurred on November 9 (Source: Humanitas International, R.H. Perez)

1907 November 9 Baron Claus von Stauffenberg is born at his family's estate. In July 1944 he will personally attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler and put an end to the Nazi regime.

1917 November 9 Lenin (Vladimir Llyich Ulyanov) officially forms the world's first Communist government in St. Petersburg, Russia, and soon afterwards asks Germany for an armistice. (Compton's Encyclopedia)

1918 November 9 After losing the support of his generals, Kaiser Wilhelm II is forced to abdicate and the Second Reich collapses. Chancellor Prince Max von Baden quickly turns over the German government to Frederich Ebert who later that same day officially proclaims the formation of a new German Socialist Republic at the Reichstag in Berlin.

1918 November 9 Bavaria proclaims itself an idependent republic.

1918 November 9 Adolf Hitler, a 29-year-old messenger from the Western Front temporarily blinded in a mustard gas attack, hears the news of the Kaiser's abdication and suffers a relapse of blindness. In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler claimed that during that same night he experienced what he called a "supernatural vision" and recovered his sight only after vowing to God that he would dedicate his life to politics. (Toland, pgs XIX, 71, 72)

1921 November 9 Partito Nazionalista Fascista (Fascist Party) is formed in Italy by Benito Mussolini among others.

1925 November 9 German NSDAP officially forms the SS (Schutzstaffel - Protection Squad).

1933 November 9 Hitler officially declares November 9th an annual German national holiday. A huge Blutzeuge celebration is held in Munich. At midday, the march from the Bürgerbräukeller over the Ludwig Bridge to the Feldherrnhalle -- which had ended so badly in 1923 -- is reenacted. Hitler and the surviving members of the original march, including the Freikorps fighters (without General Ludendorff) silently trod the same fateful path through the streets of Munich. The Carillon in the city hall played the Horst Wessel Song, when the marching columns reached the Marienplatz. A small bronze memorial honoring the dead of 1923 was unveiled by Hitler after a moving speech. Plans had already been made to make this commemoration ceremony a permanent annual event. (Domarus)

1933 November 9 At 9 PM, Hitler conducts an oath ceremony for 1,000 recruits of the SS Leibenstandarte Adolf Hitler, 100 men of the Stabswache Goering and fifty members of the Stabswache Roehm. This, too, was now to become an annual event. On the evening of every November 9th, SS recruits would gather and, at Hitler's orders, pledge their oath before the memorial to be willing at all times to give their blood and their lives for him. (Domarus)

1934 March The Blutorden (Blood Order) medal is instituted by the Nazi party. Originally named "The Sign of Honor for November 9, 1923" it is awarded only to veterans of the Munich Putsch. Later it will be presented to a very select few for outstanding personal achievement. (Photo at very bottom)

1934 November 8-9 The second annual celebration in memory of the failed putsch of 1923 is held in Munich. The incidents of June 30 (Roehm Purge) cast a dark shadow over the festivities. Hitler gives a speech at the Bürgerbräukeller -- explaining the significance of November 9 to the Nazi Movement -- past, present and future. (Blutzeuge) Speech

1934 November 9 Hitler cancels the "annual" commemorative march to the Feldherrnhalle, but decrees the institution of an "Endowment for the Martrys of the Movement." That night, he speaks to the youngest members of the Party who have now left the ranks of the Hitler Youth and are being sworn in that night. Speech

1938 November 9-10 Enst vom Rath dies and a massive pogrom, known now as Kristallnacht (the night of glass) is launched against the Jews of Germany. 191 synagogues are set on fire and 76 others are completely destroyed, along with hundreds of Jewish shops and schools. 91 Jews are killed during the night of November 9th alone and 35,000 male Jews are arrested, herded into concentration camps and their property seized. (Atlas)

1939 November 9 Goebbels, on Hitler's instructions, cancels the Day of National Solidarity (Blutzeuge) in Munich after an assassination attempt on Hitler's life (Georg Elser) the previous day, saying, "In these times, it is too dangerous." (Goebbels)

1940 November 9 Sir Neville Chamberlain dies. Rumors within the Nazi Party hint that there was more than mere coincidence behind the fact that he died on "Gedenktag für die Gefallenen der Bewegung" (the Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Martyrs of the Nazi Movement) - 9 November.

1940 November 9 Germany troops invade Norway and Denmark.

1943 November 9 The 20th anniversary of the Munich Putsch. Hitler gives a speech at the Lowenbräukeller in Munich, which is recorded for a later radio broadcast. (During the speech Hitler announced that the German people had inflicted such suffering and destruction on the peoples of Europe that they could expect no mercy in case of defeat. If Germany was defeated, he, Adolf Hitler, would not shed a single tear, even if all the cities of Germany were laid waste, and every German man, woman and child put to the sword. The German people would only have themselves to blame. The censors deleted this outburst, but a Turkish press official was there, who later passed it on to British intelligence.) (Architect)

1949 November 9 The East German Parliament in Berlin unanimously passes a law restoring full citizenship rights to ex-Nazis and army officers. From now on any Russian Zone Nazi - unless he has been convicted of war crimes - can vote, hold public office, and pursue almost any profession. East German Deputy Premier Walter Ulbricht explaining the civil rights law for Nazis and militarists, said that "anti-Fascist forces were sufficiently consolidated," and besides, "many have repented." (International Herald Tribune, Nov. 10, 1949, Nov. 10 1999.)

1970 November 9 General Charles De Gaulle dies at age 79. Ge Gaulle for many years had been aware of ODESSA and Neo-Nazi activity within the CIA and had his agents keeping him informed. The coincidence of his death should not be overlooked.

1989 November 9 Without warning the Berlin Wall suddenly comes down. The swiftness of its fall stuns the world and many find it suspicious that this remarkable event coincides with the date of Hitler's most "sacred Aryan" holiday. (November 9th was a date connected with the National Socialist movement from its very beginning and with Adolf Hitler as far back as World War I.) (Blutzeuge)

1992 November 9 Helmut Kohl, Michail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan are made honorary citizens of Berlin for their contributions to German reunification.