Der Kapp-Putsch in Berlin 01.03.1920

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Columns of soldiers, accompanied by a large crowd of civilians marching under den Linden Boulevard, the Brandenburg Gate, Pariser Platz and the Reich Chancellery; mounted officers, including General Walther Lüttwitz, which cheers a crowd at the Brandenburg Gate; Armoured cars, machine guns, guns, roadblocks, identity checks by military, field kitchens and camping soldiers in Berlin streets and places, including in front of the hotel "Kaiserhof". Captain Lieutenant Hermann Ehrhardt sits in the back of an open car, members of the Brigade Ehrhardt - with swastikas on the steel helmet - distribute leaflets. The Reich war flag is always accompanied by marching, camping and exerzierenden soldiers, is used also on the Brandenburg Gate; the soldiers of the Brigade Ehrhardt (black red) carrying the flag of the Empire in their leaflet distribution. The members of the MITRE "Government" General Lüttwitz, Traugott Jagow and Gottfried Traub, accompanied by General Walter sleeves, go to the Reich Chancellery.

Persons in the Film

Lüttwitz, Walther von; Traub, Gottfried; Hülsen, Walter von; Jagow, Traugott von; Ehrhardt, Hermann


Gesellschaft; Policy; Weimarer Republik; Weimar - erste deutsche Demokratie; Erschließung Bundesarchiv Koblenz; Demonstration; Berlin; Kapp-Putsch

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Der Kapp-Putsch in Berlin

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Deutsches Reich (bis 1945)

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100-Year Anniversary of the Kapp-Lütwitz-Putsch (March 13, 1920)

In March 1920 right wing forces launch their first attack on the Weimar Republic’s infant democracy. It’s in retaliation to the recently enforced Treaty of Versailles, which many view as a „dictated peace.“ The treaty includes the massive reduction of the German army as well as the dissolution of the Freikorps. When their highest-ranking general Walther von Lüttwitz harshly objects to the upcoming demobilization, he is ordered off duty for his display of disobedience. Subsequently he decides to stage a military coup. He gets in contact with affected Freikorps, including the Marinebrigade Erhardt and together they march into Berlin in the early hours of March 13 and occupy the government district. The populist-nationalist and anti-republic Generallandschaftsdirektor (a regional chief of administration) Wolfgang Kapp, in whom Lüttwitz had found an ally, proclaims himself the new Reichskanzler. A majority of the forewarned government had left the capital, after essential Reichswehr generals refused to take action against the putschists.

Right away the SPD and the trade unions call for a general strike against the propagated military dictatorship and the restoration of the monarchy. 12 million people follow their call. The ministerial bureaucracy also refuses to work with the subversive parties. On the eve of March 17 the putschists give up their poorly prepared coup. Kapp flees to Sweden and Lüttzwitz to Hungary.

Left-wing forces in Saxony, Thuringia and the Ruhr district use the opportunity and try to expand the general strike into a “proletarian revolution.” In a twist of irony the government deploys the Freikorps, including the Marinebrigade Erhardt, to strike down the March uprising.     

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