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Gustav Ritter von Kahr

In office
1920 – 1921
Preceded by Johannes Hoffmann
Succeeded by Graf von Lerchenfeld-Köfering

In office
1920 – 1921

Born November 29, 1862(1862-11-29)
Weißenburg, Germany
Died June 30, 1934
Dachau
Nationality German
Residence Bavaria

Gustav Ritter von Kahr (November 29, 1862 –June 30, 1934) was a German right-wing conservative politician, active in the state of Bavaria.

Contents

Life

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. In 1920, he succeeded Johannes Hoffmann as Prime minister of Bavaria. His 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 splinter 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 also had the clandestine support of Kahr's triumvirate. As posters show, Ludendorff, Hitler, General Lossow, Colonel Seisser were planning to form a new government.

However, on November 8, 1923, when Kahr along with about 3,000 officials and Nazi members held a meeting in the Bürgerbräu beer hall, Kahr withdrew his support. Hitler was surprised but then interrupted Kahr's speech and announced that the coup would proceed. Kahr, Lossow and Seisser were arrested, but were released again on orders of Ludendorff after having given their word not to interfere. During the night and unknown to Hitler, they prepared the resistance against the coup. In the morning, when the Nazis marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow Bavaria's government - traitors in their eyes - as the first step on their "March on Berlin", the army quickly dispersed them.

Kahr's role in the failure of the coup costed 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, 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, according to Richard Hanser in his 1970 book, Putsch.

Notes

Regarding personal names: Ritter is a title, translated approximately as Knight, not a first or middle name. There is no equivalent female form.

Sources

References

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Johannes Hoffmann
Prime Minister of Bavaria
1920 – 1921
Succeeded by
Hugo Graf von und zu Lerchenfeld
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