The Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch (1)

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March 13th, 1920.  The Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch in Berlin. The Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch (usually referred to as simply Kapp Putsch) proved beyond the reasonable doubt that the Left were not the only ones who wanted to do away with the pathetic Weimar Republic and to establish the totalitarian dictatorship.

The Right (i.e. the nationalists) wanted the same thing – only they wanted a very different dictatorship. In fact, it was exactly the virulent hatred from both Left and Right that doomed the “Weimar Experiment” right from the start.

The only question was what would replace it – fascist, Communist or Nazi dictatorship – and when. The Kapp Putsch proved it beyond the reasonable doubt – in just four days.

Consequently, I wholeheartedly agree with historians (“mainstream” and others) who unequivocally state that

“the collapse of Weimar Republic  cannot be understood without understanding the Kapp Putsch and its consequences [especially its consequences]”

The putschists were defeated not by Reichswehr or police (who either remained neutral or openly supported the former), but by the nationwide general strike – the largest in German history. In other words, by government bureaucrats (who wanted to save the republic) and by factory workers (who wanted to replace it with another dictatorship – Red instead of Black).

Which taught Adolf Hitler a very important lesson – to topple the Weimar Republic and replace it with Nazi dictatorship (the Führerstaat) he had to find the way to win the hearts, minds and souls of both government officials (top to bottom) and the factory workers. It also meant that the decision to keep the “Workers” part in the name of the party (and to include it there in the first place) was an excellent one.

There is no evidence that the Thule Society was in any way involved with the Kapp Putsch. However, the story of the Kapp Putsch is… well, interesting.

For starters, this failed nationalist uprising should have been called the “Lüttwitz Putsch” because it was started and led by General Walther von Lüttwitz, who at the time was in command of all Reichswehr troops in and around Berlin (appropriately called Gruppenkommando I). He was also the highest ranking general in the German army and was in overall command of several Freikorps (paramilitary units).

Although Wolfgang Kapp, a 62-year-old nationalist East Prussian civil servant had been planning a coup against the Weimar Republic for some time, in the actual coup Kapp played a supporting role.

Von Lüttwitz did not become a General der Infanterie by being stupid. Hence while he knew for a fact that he did have sufficient resources to seize power in Germany, he had no clue how to run the country… especially during such interesting times as the 1920s.

Therefore, he immediately brought on board Nationale Vereinigung (National Association) – a right-wing, anti-Republican organization founded just five months earlier – in October 1919. The primary objective of NV was to fight Bolshevism in Germany (if necessary, by doing away with the impotent Weimar Republic and installing a right-wing dictatorship in its place).

The group was well-financed and brought together an impressive cast of characters – industrialists, bankers, large landowners, retired generals of the Imperial Army, senior civil servants, etc.

The group was founded Erich Ludendorff (who in 1917-18 essentially ruled Germany and was the most powerful individual in the Second Reich). His partners were Colonel Bauer (a political advisor to Ludendorff during the First World War), Captain Waldemar Pabst (who played a key role in suppressing the Spartacists Uprising in January of 1919 and ordered the execution of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht)… and, of course, Wolfgang Kapp – a far-right German politician made a Chancellor by von Lüttwitz (hence the name of the failed putsch).

And this is where the real mystery begins.

 

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