The Feldherrenhalle in Munich is a monument to honour the tradition of the army and a sacred Nazi site. King Ludwig I built the Feldherrenhalle from 1841 to 1844 right next to the Theatiner Church. The building from limestone was to be the southern beginning of the Ludwigstraße and served as a harmonious transition point from the historic old town to the new boulevard. The Field Marshal’s Hall is home of two statues representing Count Tilly and Prince Wrede.
The statues reflect the glory and misery of the Bavarian army. Already at the time of the monument’s construction the locals used to ridicule the two field marshals in reference to the descendance of Tilly and the military strategic capabilities of Wrede. As the saying goes one (Tilly) was indeed never anything like a Bavarian and the other (Wrede) was never anything like a field marshal. The staircase is lined by two Bavarian lions. According to local tradition, on of them is of Prussian origin – since it has an open mouth – an allusion to the Prussians alleged talkative personality.
On November 9, 1923 Adolf Hitler launched his coup attempt in Munich with a “march on Berlin”. The coup attempt ended with a shootout between police and Hitler supporters close to the Feldherrenhalle in Munich. Among the dead were also several shot Nazis.
When the Nazis came to power 10 years later, one of the first acts of the new rulers was to make the Feldherrnhalle a place of worship for their shot comrades of the first hour. The dead were quickly turned into martyrs and a blackboard, torches and vigil were installed on the eastern side of the Feldherrnhalle. Every passer-by was obliged to raise his arms to the Hitler salute as he passed.
However, many of the locals opted for passive resistance. Instead of passing the panel of honor, they made a detour through the Viscardigasse and thus passed the western end of the hall without having to raise their arms. Thus, the Viscardigasse was popularly christened “Shirker’s alley”. A golden line on the pavement of Viscardigasse reminds today of the resistance.
From Feldherrenhalle in Munich to Siegestor
Following Ludwigstraße from the Feldherrenhalle you will reach the Siegestor which is the royal boulevard’s conclusion. It contains the inscription: “To the Bavarian armies, in memory of the liberation wars”. On the other hand, the words warn: “Consecrated to victory, destroyed by war, admonishing for peace.” These were added later. The gate is similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, because of the round arch construction. During World War II the gate was badly damaged, but not completely restored to be a reminder of peace.
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