Adolf Hitler is sentenced for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch of November 8, 1923. The attempted coup in Munich by right-wing members of the army and the Nazi Party was foiled by the government, and Hitler was charged with high treason. Despite his conviction, Hitler was out of jail before the end of the year, with his political position stronger than ever.
Germany was in the midst of a national crisis in the early 1920s. After World War I, its economy was in shambles, and hyperinflation caused widespread discontent. Hitler and the Nazis stepped into this breach with often-racist demagoguery that attracted a significant following throughout the nation.
The failed coup turned out to be quite a boon for Adolf Hitler. His trial brought him more attention and publicity than ever before. With a crowd of thousands-including press from around the world-watching the proceedings, Hitler made the most of this opportunity by going on the offensive.
Taking every chance to turn the subject away from the putsch itself, Hitler frequently made speeches about Germany’s postwar plight. He blamed the Jews, Marxism, and France for all of the country’s problems, repeatedly returning to his theme of hypernationalism. The conservative-leaning judges did nothing to stop Hitler or keep the focus on the attempted coup. The prosecutors, who had been threatened by Hitler’s student followers, shrank from challenging the defendant.
It soon became evident that Hitler was winning the public relations battle by using the 25-day trial as a showcase for his extreme right-wing views, even if he was technically losing the case. In his closing argument, Hitler declared that he would ignore the court’s verdict because the “Eternal Court of History” would acquit him.
After his conviction, Hitler spent the remainder of the year in prison writing the first volume of Mein Kampf. By the time he was released, he had become more popular than ever, and within eight years he had taken over Germany.