On this day in 1924, Adolf Hitler’s trial began for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch between 8-9 November 1923, a failed attempt by him to seize power in Munich, Bavaria. Hitler and his associates planned to use Munich as a base for a big march against Germany’s Weimar Republic government. In the evening of 8 November, 600 SA surrounded the beer hall and a machine gun was set up in the auditorium. As Hitler broke through the crowds, he was unable to be heard over Kahr making a speech, so he fired a shot into the ceiling and jumped onto a chair, shouting “The national revolution has broken out! The hall is filled with six hundred men. Nobody is allowed to leave!”
Hitler, accompanied by Hess, Lenk and Graf, ordered the triumvirate of Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow into an adjoining room at gunpoint and demanded they support the putsch. In the early morning, Hitler ordered the seizure of the Munich city council as hostages, but soon began to realise that the Putsch was going nowhere. Him and the Putschists were about to give up, when Röhm’s force together with Hitler’s, a total of approximately 2000 men, marched out with no specific plan of where to go. Suddenly, Ludendorff led them to the Bavarian Defence Ministry. However, they were soon met with a force of 100 soldiers blocking the way. The two groups exchanged fire, killing four state police officers and 16 Nazis. Hitler was arrested two days later for high treason.
The trial began on this day, February 26 and lasted until April 1. The lay judges were pro-Nazi and had to be dissuaded by the presiding Judge from acquitting Hitler. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but served only nine months. It was during this prison sentence that Hitler wrote his famous Mein Kampf.