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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Odeonsplatz, Munich

Odeonsplatz and the Feldherrnhalle

The Munich Odeonsplatz is a large and beautiful square bordered by the Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshal's Hall), the Italianesque Theatinerkirche and the Hofgarten, a former court garden.

The Feldherrnhalle consists of three arches, with at the entrance two Bayern lions. The building was designed in 1841 by Friedrich von Gärtner after the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy [1] on request of Ludwig I in honour of Bayern generals.

On 2 August 1914, Adolf Hitler attended a rally at the Odeonsplatz to celebrate the declaration of WWI.

On 9 November 1923, police stopped Hitler's attempt to bring down the Weimar Republic - the so-called Beer Hall Putsch [2] - at the Odeonsplatz. A fierce skirmish with the police left 16 Nazis and 4 policemen dead. Hitler was injured, captured shortly thereafter and sentenced to a prison term.

When Hitler was in power, a memorial to the fallen putschists was erected on the east side of the Feldherrnhalle, opposite the spot in the street where the dead had fallen and the putsch had been halted. The memorial was guarded perpetually by SS guards, and all who passed the memorial had to give the Nazi salute.

Each year special parades were held in Munich on November 9 for the commemoration of Hitler's unsuccessful Putsch. On November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a wave of pogroms against Germany's Jews, known as Crystal Night or the Night of Broken Glass [3].


Alex said...

Good post. I never knew about the Putschist memorial. It's the compulsory Hitlergruß that really caught my attention. You get very used to the idea that Nazi Germany was horrific, but it's not often you get an insight into just how weird it was sometimes.

Keir said...

I've been learning the art of photoshop and have tried to merge then-and-now pics (including that of the Feldherrnhalle and Odeonsplatz) if you're interested in seeing: