Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Uncanny Resemblance of the Beer Hall Putsch and the January 6 Insurrection

By David E. Gumpert The Nation

If 1920s Germany could punish Hitler for leading a coup attempt, why can’t America go after Trump?

Pulling off a successful coup d’état in a dictatorship is a risky affair. It invariably involves the military, and failure usually results in long prison terms or executions. But coup attempts in democratic countries, while much less common, are less perilous. They rarely involve the military, and it’s complicated to punish coup plotters who have a following and can represent themselves as protesters rather than traitors. That is why an important point of comparison for America’s January 6 insurrection is the attempted coup led by Adolf Hitler in 1923, the so-called Beer Hall Putsch, and how it affected his march toward absolute power.

Conventional wisdom has it that the blossoming democratic German government of the early 1920s botched its efforts to rein in Hitler after his failed coup, and thereby helped propel him to greater popularity. In this view, the Biden administration understands the tragic German history, and is now avoiding legal action against Trump, letting the US House of Representatives investigate the coup plot and limit its punishment to some kind of public shaming.


1 reply »

Leave a Reply