Odeonsplatz in Munich, Germany

Feldherrenhalle - where Hitler's 1923 Putsch ended

Odeonsplatz is a small square at the end of Residenzstrasse near the Hofgarten, which is the people's state garden. In the center of the square is the Feldherrenhalle, shown in the photo above. The Odeon is a government building which faces the square; it was originally a music college.

Until 1816, the site of the Feldherrenhalle on Odeonsplatz was occupied by one of the Munich town gates, the Schwabinger Tor. When Munich was expanded to include the village of Schwabing in the early 19th century, architect Leo von Klenze ordered the gate to be pulled down to make way for Ludwigstrasse. The Feldherrenhalle was designed by Friedrich von Gärtner; it was modeled on the Loggia dai Lanzi in Florence. The Feldherrenhalle was built to honor the military heroes of Bavaria.

Statue of German military heroes

Feldherrenhalle is between Residenzstrasse and Theatinerstrasse

The Feldherrenhalle has statues of Bavaria's two greatest military heroes: Johann Tilley, the Imperial Field Marshall in the Thirty Years War, and Karl Phillipp von Wrede, the commander of the Bavarian troops which helped to defeat the French at the Battle of the Nations. Bavaria originally fought on the side of Napoleon, but later switched sides. Tilley was the leader of the Catholic forces which fought the Protestants in the Thirty Year's War; he figures prominently in the history of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Statues of German military heroes

On the evening of November 8, 1923, Adolf Hitler announced the start of "the people's revolution" in the Bürgerbräukeller, a Munich beer hall. Hitler and his supporters then marched through the streets of Munich in an attempt to seize power. This unsuccessful revolution became known as Hitler's Beer-hall Putsch. The next day, on November 9th, Hitler and two thousand of his followers were stopped by the Munich police on Residenzstrasse in front of the Feldherrenhalle; four policemen and 16 of Hitler's supporters were killed in the fighting. Hitler fled from the scene, but was later arrested and imprisoned at Landsberg am Lech after a trial in which he was convicted of treason.

The Bürgerbräukeller was torn down years ago, but tourists can still see where the Nazis put a plaque on the Feldherrenhalle to honor the men who were killed there by the police. During the Nazi era, Munich residents were required to do a Nazi salute as they passed the plaque, which has since been removed. Those who did not want to give a salute to the fallen heroes would use Viscardigasse, a back alley which was nicknamed "Evaders' Alley."

November 9th is an important date in German history because it is also the anniversary of the overthrow of Kaiser Wilhelm by the Social Democrats in 1918 and the anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin wall in 1989. It is also the anniversary of Kristallnacht in 1938 when Jewish shops and Synagogues were burned by the Nazis.

St. Cajetan's Church on Theatinerstrasse, Feldherrenhalle on the left

St. Cajetan's Church on the southwest corner of Odeonsplatz was designed by Italian architect Agostino Baralli; the design of the church was based on St. Andrea della Valle in Rome. Construction work on the church itself ended in 1690, but the facade was built between 1765 and 1768. With its twin towers and copper dome, St. Cajetan's, aka Theatinerkirche, is one of the most magnificent churches in Munich. It is an example of late Baroque style architecture. Inside the church are the tombs of nearly all the members of the royal Wittelsbach family which ruled Bavaria for 400 years until they were overthrown on November 7, 1918 by Communists led by Kurt Eisner.

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This page was created on July 29, 2007