Adolf Hitler goes on trial for treason

The trial of Adolf Hitler for high treason after the Beer Hall Putsch was not the end of Hitler's political career as many had expected.

In many ways marked the true beginning.

Overnight, Hitler became a nationally and internationally known figure due to massive press coverage. The judges in this sensational trial were chosen by a Nazi sympathizer in the Bavarian government. They allowed Hitler to use the courtroom as a propaganda platform from which he could speak at any length on his own behalf, interrupt others at any time and even cross examine witnesses.

Rather than deny the charges, Hitler admitted wanting to overthrow the government and outlined his reasons, portraying himself as a German patriot and the democratic government itself, its founders and leaders, as the real criminals.

"I alone bear the responsibility. But I am not a criminal because of that. If today I stand here as a revolutionary, it is as a revolutionary against the revolution. There is no such thing as high treason against the traitors of 1918."

Hitler considered the traitors of 1918 to be the German politicians responsible for the so called 'stab in the back,' who prematurely ended World War One and established the German democratic republic. In Hitler's mind and among many Germans, their Army had not been defeated on the battlefield but had been undermined by political treachery at home.

In reality, German Army leaders themselves had opened negotiations with the Allies to end the war which they were losing.

But newspapers quoted Hitler at length. Thus, for the first time, the German people as a whole had a chance to get acquainted with this man and his thinking. And many liked what they heard.

The man who is born to be a dictator is not compelled. He wills it. He is not driven forward, but drives himself. There is nothing immodest about this. Is it immodest for a worker to drive himself toward heavy labor? Is it presumptuous of a man with the high forehead of a thinker to ponder through the nights till he gives the world an invention? The man who feels called upon to govern a people has no right to say, 'If you want me or summon me, I will cooperate.' No! It is his duty to step forward.”

— Adolf Hitler