Gustav Ritter von Kahr
|Gustav Ritter von Kahr|
|Minister President of Bavaria|
|Preceded by||Johannes Hoffmann|
|Succeeded by||Graf von Lerchenfeld-Köfering|
|Minister of the Interior|
November 29, 1862|
|Died||June 30, 1934
|Political party||Bavarian People's Party|
Gustav Ritter von Kahr (November 29, 1862 – June 30, 1934) was a German right-wing conservative politician, active in the state of Bavaria. He was instrumental in the Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, and was subsequently put to death more than ten years later in the Night of the Long Knives.
Born in Weißenburg in Bayern, Kahr studied law and worked as a lawyer before entering politics. Politically, he was a monarchist and had links to the Catholic BVP, though he was a Protestant and never joined any party. In 1917 he became head of the provincial government of Upper Bavaria, but lost this post in the German Revolution of 1918. However, the revolution was short-lived and order was restored.
After March 14, 1920, Kahr succeeded Johannes Hoffmann as Prime minister of Bavaria. Kahr came into office under military influences as a secondary result of the Kapp Putsch of March 13 in Berlin. The most powerful party in Bavaria, the Bavarian Volkspartei, 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 moderate socialist Hoffmann had succeeded in quelling Bolshevism with the aid of Republican troops from Prussia and Württemberg, but the great majority of the Bavarian Catholic Volkspartei, as well as liberals of various shades, not to speak of the royalists and reactionaries, wanted further guarantees against a recurrence of the Bolshevist terror.
The Kapp 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 reactionary conservatives 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 who 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 1 September 1921.
In 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 right-wing groups wanted to emulate Mussolini's "March on Rome" by a "March on Berlin". Among these were the wartime General Erich Ludendorff and also 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 support of Kahr and his triumvirate. However, Kahr had his own plan with Seisser (Seißer) and Lossow to install a nationalist dictatorship without Hitler. Kahr warned the 'patriotic associations' against independent action.
Hitler was determined to act before the appeal of his agitation waned. So on November 8, 1923, Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting of 3,000 people which 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. 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. Kahr, Seisser and Lossow were briefly detained but then released. The men quickly withdrew their support and 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 on their "March on Berlin", but the police dispersed them. Sixteen NSDAP members and four police officers were killed in the failed coup.
Kahr's role in the failure of the coup cost him the support of right-wing nationalist forces in Bavaria and after Hitler's trial revealed his administration's involvement in the preparations of the coup, he was forced to resign from his post as Staatskommissar in February 1924. After this, Kahr served as President of the Bavarian law court for reviewing administrative acts and, having sunk into relative obscurity, retired from public service three years later.
On June 30, 1934, during what became known as the Night of the Long Knives, Kahr was punished for his "treason" during the Beer Hall Putsch. He was abducted in Munich and murdered by SS members – hacked to death with axes and thrown into a swamp near Dachau. His family was forbidden to wear mourning clothes, according to Richard Hanser in his 1970 book, Putsch.
- Website of the Deutsch Historische Museum, Berlin - Biography of Gustav Ritter von Kahr (in German)
- Universitätsbibliothek Regensburg - Bosls bayrische Biographie - Gustav Ritter von Kahr (in German), author: Karl Bosl, publisher: Pustet, page 401
- "Kahr, August Richard von". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). 1922.
- Kershaw, Ian (2008), Hitler: A Biography, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 126, ISBN 0-393-06757-2
- Kershaw 2008, p. 127
- Kershaw 2008, p. 125
- Kershaw 2008, p. 128
- Kershaw 2008, p. 128
- Kershaw 2008, p. 129
- Shirer, William L. (1961, 1990 reprint), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Simon & Schuster, p. 109, ISBN 0-671-72868-7
- Kershaw 2008, pp. 130–131
- Shirer 1961, pp. 111–113
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gustav von Kahr.|
- Picture of Gustav Ritter von Kahr Historisches Lexikon Bayerns
|Minister-President of Bavaria
Hugo Graf von und zu Lerchenfeld