Munich & The Third Reich
Private Walking Tour
Munich usually is associated with Oktoberfest, Hofbräuhaus and its famous soccer team FC Bayern. But the city also played an important role in the darkest chapter of German history, the period of National Socialism when Munich was „honoured“ as the „capital of the movement". No other city in Germany is so closely linked to the early history and rise of the NSDAP (the Nazi Party).
This private walking tour is a foray into the history of the Third Reich, from its early roots in the post-war period of World War I to the end of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany in May 1945. Many original locations and buildings on this walking tour provide an insight into that time and enable a better understanding of this elusive chapter of German history.
At the war memorial in the Hofgarten you can find out how the World War I and other factors contributed to the rise of the Nazis in Germany. The Hofbräuhaus is considered to be the founding place of the Nazi party, because it was here that the NSDAP's party program was publicly announced for the first time. But what exactly were the core elements of this insane and cruel ideology? The Field Marshal‘s Hall was the scene of the Beer Hall Putsch, how did Adolf Hitler change his strategy afterwards in order to gain power? And which people were persecuted by the Nazis? The „Place of the Victims of National Socialism tells us a lot about the various groups of victims who were persecuted in the Third Reich.
We want to answer these and many other questions on our walking tour “Munich and the Third Reich”. You can find more information about some of the sights below and in the video.
Tour details at a glance
2.5 to 3 hours
3 pm at the latest
Start /end point:
Marienplatz in front of Tourist Info /
€ 225 (€ 50 p. additional hour)
walking distance is about 2.5 miles
a little more information...
about some sights of your private Third Reich Walking Tour
Old Town Hall
In the Old Town Hall on Munich's Marienplatz an event took place that represented the transition from discrimination and harassment to complete disenfranchisement of the Jewish population. In November 1938, during an annual celebration of the NSDAP leadership, the pogrom against the Jews, often referred to as Reichskristallnacht, was triggered by a hate speech by Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels. However, more than just window glass was broken during this pogrom. 30,000 Jewish men were deported to concentration camps, over 1,000 synagogues were destroyed, 7,500 shops looted and around 1,200 people paid with their lives for the riots.
Feldherrnhalle Field Marshal's Hall
In 1923 Hitler made the first violent attempt to take power. However, his planned march from the Munich Bürgerbräukeller to Berlin failed after just a few kilometers at the Field Marshal‘s Hall where there was a shooting with the Bavarian police. The putschists killed on this occasion were transfigured into martyrs of the movement and Hitler had to serve a five-year prison sentence, which ended prematurely after nine months. After this event, also known as the Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler changed his strategy. He now wanted to come to power in a “legal” way, which he more or less succeeded in doing when he was appointed Chancellor of the Reich in 1933.
As in many other places in Munich, nothing in the Hofbräuhaus today points to events from the time of the Third Reich. The Hofbräuhaus was of great symbolic importance for the Nazis. Here, on February 24th, the 25-point party program was presented for the first time and the previous right-wing extremist grouping of the DAP was renamed the NSDAP (National German Socialist Workers Party). February 24th was one of the National Socialist holidays, e.g. the birthday of the "Führer", the day of the seizure of power or the day of the Beer Hall Putsch.
Haus der Kunst (House of Art)
Art, too, was supposed to glorify the National Socialist racial and state ideology. For this purpose, the Nazis built the Haus der Kunst as an exhibition building for propaganda works, which had the alleged Nordic Aryan superiority as the central message. The House of Art was built in the typical monumental intimidation architecture of the Nazis and survived World War II unscathed, because it was located directly on the English Garden. So it was easy to camouflage and the bombers could not tell it from the park.
The last part of the failed appeasement policy, the Munich Agreement, took place in Munich in 1938, before WW2 began with the attack on Poland in 1939. Here in the former Führerbau the heads of state of England, France and Italy met with Hitler and agreed to cede the Sudetenland to the German Reich. The originally preserved building served as a central collecting point for stolen art in the post-war period and has been used by the Munich University of Music for several decades.
The NS Documentation Center is located in a historical location. The party headquarters of the NSDAP resided here, and the building was popularly known as the brown house, based on the colors of the SA uniforms. One of the most important relics of the Nazis was kept in it, the so-called blood flag, which is said to have been soaked with the blood of those killed in the Beer Hall Putsch. Today's NS Documentation Center is not a memorial, but an exhibition on the history of National Socialism in Germany and the role that Munich played in it.
Königsplatz (King's Square)
The last stop on our private Third Reich Walking Tour is the square Königsplatz. It was built in the 19th century by King Ludwig I as a forum for the arts and transports you to ancient Greece with its impressive classicist buildings. There is little evidence today that this square was converted by the Nazis into one of their central places of worship and the largest parade ground in Munich. Here in 1933, as in many other German university towns, the public burning of books that did not fit into the ideology of the National Socialists took place. Every year in November the so-called martyrs of the movement who perished in the Beer Hall Putsch were honored here in a pseudo-religious event. Their sarcophagi were laid out in two "temples of honor", the foundations of which can still be seen today.