A successful coup in a dictatorship is a risky business. It’s always about the military, and failure usually results in lengthy prison terms or executions. Coup attempts in democratic countries are much rarer, but less dangerous. They rarely involve the military, and it is difficult to punish coup plotters who have allegiances and who may portray themselves as demonstrators rather than traitors. An important point of comparison for America’s January 6th uprising is therefore Adolf Hitler’s attempted coup in 1923, the so-called Bierhalle Putsch, and how this affected his path to absolute power.
It is well known that the burgeoning democratic German government of the early 1920s botched its efforts to curb Hitler after his failed coup, thereby making him more popular. From this point of view, the Biden government understands the tragic German history and is now avoiding legal action against Trump, allowing the US House of Representatives to investigate the coup plan and restrict its punishment to a kind of public shame.
However, if one looks at the events after the failed beer hall putsch, it becomes clear that German institutions successfully sidelined Hitler for almost 10 years and possibly would have kept him out of the mainstream for longer, except for a global economic crisis that increased popular discontent. Additionally, Trump has run ahead of Hitler’s schedule for recovery from an attempted coup, which has brought the United States much closer to a fascist takeover than most Americans are likely to know.
During Hitler’s putsch in the beer hall and Trump’s attempted coup from 6. stunning similarity Regarding the scale of the uprisings and the violence that resulted, the most notable similarity is the type of lies that led to the building of political tension: Hitler’s lies about Germany’s defeat in World War I and Trump’s lies about electoral fraud as the reason for his loss in the 2020 election Both were big lies that undermined trust in government institutions and, through frequent repetition, gained credibility.
In her life immediately after the coup, Hitler had it much more difficult than Trump thanks to less conciliatory rulers. Germany’s post-World War I democratic government aggressively persecuted Hitler and nine of his employees for high treason within months of the 1923 coup attempt. The next year he was sent to prison, where he served nine months before being paroled. An essential condition for Hitler’s probation was that he not speak in public for two years. The classic story of 1960, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William Shirer, explains Hitler’s challenge as follows: “A silenced Hitler was a defeated Hitler, as ineffective as a handcuffed pugilist in a ring.”
Hitler, according to Shirer, remained determined in his determination to revive the NSDAP through a two-part strategy: “to attack and undermine the government” and to act as a “state within a state”. But as hard as the Nazis and their paramilitary SS storm troops tried to recruit new members and intimidate opponents, Hitler remained, as a probation officer, a convicted traitor under the control of the government. A couple of times when Hitler ignored the public speaking order, the police intervened and Hitler gave in for fear of being thrown back in prison or exiled to his home country Austria.