A Golf Cart Might Have Changed History

Last night, I found myself obsessively reading about Hitler’s beer hall putsch. So many journalists are calling Trump’s coup attempt stuff like “the beer belly putsch” etc., that I figure the back-story is probably more interesting.

The burgerbraukeller after the war, occupied by US troops

Sure enough, it is. German (in particular, Bavarian) politics in the Weimar republic were complicated enough that I don’t think I can backfill enough to fully understand what was going on, short of getting a doctorate in the history of that time (which would entail a huge amount of self-study, anyway!) and I’m looking at it with a particular, highly slanted, view. I am also, as historians do, looking at the events through lens of my particular time, i.e.: last Wednesday’s storming of the capitol in Washington DC by armed insurrectionists who wanted to variously undo the 2020 election, maybe kill Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi, and definitely to flex their white supremacy.

I’m also moved to observe that it’s hard to make sense of the beer hall putsch just from the Wikipedia page about it and it makes me wonder how future historians will tackle the events of 2020, assuming there are future historians. What we see, right now, embroiled in it, is a swirling mix of agendas, misinformation, disinformation, and partial information. My dad (the real historian in the family) says that the history of a time cannot be written until all the bodies are buried, and I think I now understand what he means. We’ll probably not get to the facts about the degree to which the capitol police, FBI, DHS, and pentagon were complicit in the coup until revealing that information no longer has the power to affect anything. Right now, there are arrests being made for serious crimes, and the process of digging through the leadership’s computers and communications could take months. Building a big picture may take years. Understanding it all in the context of the collapse of the US republic into the First American Empire may take 150 years or so.

[source and more information about this beautiful edition]

How to describe the beer hall putsch? Simply: the Bavarians, at the time, were accustomed to dining and drinking beer in large halls, which also doubled as meeting venues where political speeches and caucuses were sometimes held. Adolph Hitler had become part of a nationalist political fringe that was spawning multiple movements in various directions, and attracted/attached to a mixed bag of radicals, anti-semites, and conspiracy theorists. They’re not usually called “conspiracy theorists”, that’s my designation, but they believed that the German loss in WWI was a result of being “stabbed in the back” by traitors and irresolute politicians who somehow managed to lose the war from behind the lines. History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes; Hitler decided that he had enough people around him who were prepared and resolved for violence, so he showed up with several hundred armed followers (most of whom stayed outside) on Nov 6, 1923 and surrounded the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich, where Gustav Von Kahr and several other Bavarian politicians were giving a speech.

[source] Even Ludendorff’s medals have medals of their own

Hitler and about 14 of his men marched in and announced that a “national revolution” was taking place, then the politicians and onlookers were herded into a cluster under guns. Ultra-conservative hero of WW1, Erich Ludendorff, who approximately supported Hitler’s cause (but did not necessarily feel Hitler was the man of the hour) was called in, and he talked the Bavarian leaders into joining Hitler for a march on Berlin. This strategy was basically lifted from Mussolini’s October 1922 march on Rome, in which Italian fascists were able to produce a snowballing mass insurrection and take over Rome with about 25,000 blackshirts. In spite of the prime minister, Antonio Salandra’s wishes to declare Rome under siege and resist, king Victor Emmanuel III knuckled under and put Mussolini in charge. [wik] Hitler’s plan was, basically, to do the same thing: take over Munich, then march on Berlin, where he hoped to be able to exploit existing political divisions to seize power.

Divided political bases, mobs of armed fascists, and a militarized appeal to the losing side to stand up and take over. Fascist coalitions that were loosely-bound collections of disparate views, temporarily aligning to throw over the government. Sound familiar? There are some differences, which are crucial, that I will get to. Both Germany/Bavaria and to a greater degree Italy were hotbeds of political unrest, with various political factions struggling for power but unable to unify into a strong coalition until the fascists came marching through with a simple message of making Italy Germany America great again. I also have to note that none of the fascists, Hitler, Mussolini, or Trump appeared to have an actual political plan – they just claimed that everything was broken and they were going to fix it. As we can see, none of those characters was a leader of vision; their strategy was to grab for power then stumble around wildly trying to wield it effectively. Ludendorff seems to have seen through Hitler pretty early on, but he died immediately after the beer hall putsch and his opinion suddenly no longer mattered. [I got that wrong. See comments.]

Hitler got distracted by other business and considered the putsch a success, then took some down-time to deal with party organizational issues, while the whole situation cooled down. That was when Ludendorff, who had experience with military politics – his initial claim to fame was pretty much single-handedly organizing the German victory at Liège [wik] through audacity – realized correctly that revolution is a momentum game, and organized a march on downtown Munich with 2,000-3,000 supporters. Meanwhile, the Munich state police had been called out and formed a cordon in the town square and, when the marchers showed up, they blasted them flat. Hitler was arrested and spent some time in prison, blogging for Alex Jones’ Infowars site writing Mein Kampf.

That was the beer hall putsch, in brief form. It failed because Hitler did not yet understand momentum. He was no Marc Antony, Bonaparte, Mussolini, or Ludendorff at that stage of his career. All of those men showed resolve and were fearless when their time came, and all of those men could whip a crowd to a frenzy with glittery bullshit. To be fair, Marc Antony had Shakespeare doing his speech-writing, and Shakespeare wrote him a doozy.

Descriptions of the event convey the feeling I am describing – that history hinges on a moment, and some rhetoric. Karl Alexander von Müller was there: [famous trials]

Eventually, steel helmets came into sight. From this moment on, the view from my seat was rather obscured. People stood on chairs so that I didn’t see Hitler until he had come fairly near along the main gangway; just before he turned to the platform, I saw him emerge between two armed soldiers in steel helmets who carried pistols next to their heads, pointing at the ceiling. They turned towards the platform, Hitler climbed on to a chair on my left. The hall was still restless, and then Hitler made a sign to the man on his right, who fired a shot at the ceiling. Thereupon Hitler called out (I cannot recollect the exact order of his words): “The national revolution has broken out. The hall is surrounded.” Maybe he mentioned the exact number, I am not sure. He asked the gentlemen Kahr, Lossow, Seisser to come out and guaranteed their personal freedom. The gentlemen did not move. The General State Commissioner [Kahr] had stepped back and stood opposite Hitler, looking at him calmly. Then Hitler went towards the platform. What happened I could not see exactly; I heard him talk to the gentlemen and I heard the words: Everything would be over in ten minutes if the gentlemen would go out with him. To my surprise the three gentlemen went out with him immediately…


The general mood – I can of course only judge from my surroundings, but I think that this represented the general feeling in the hall – was still against the whole business. One heard: “Theatrical!” “South America!” “Mexico!” That was the prevailing mood. The change came only during Hitler’s second speech when he entered about ten minutes later, went to the platform and made a short speech. It was a rhetorical masterpiece. In fact, in a few sentences it totally transformed the mood of the audience. I have rarely experienced anything like it. When he stepped on to the platform the disturbance was so great that he could not be heard, and he fired a shot. I can still see the gesture. He got the Browning out of his back pocket and I think it was on this occasion that the remark about the machine gun was made. When things did not become quiet, he shouted angrily at the audience: “If you are not quiet, I shall have a machine gun put up on the gallery.” In fact he had come in to say that his prediction of everything being over in ten minutes had not come true. But he said it in such a way that he finally went out with the permission of the audience to say to Kahr that the whole assembly would be behind him if he were to join. It was a complete reversal.

I have often wondered at this sort of thing. In fact, [stderr] in my notes on hypnosis (which I need to finish, I know, I know…) one of the topics I want to address is public speaking as an exercise in manipulation through peer pressure and performance. Evangelical frauds [see: marjoe] learn tricks of rhythm and tone of voice that, I believe, somehow trigger authoritarians to believe the speaker.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to make the mistake of claiming that Trump is a master rhetorician, but have you noticed how – since he announced his run for office in 2016 – he has adopted the same sort of sing-song cadence as a revival preacher? I don’t think that’s an accident, I think that’s a signal triggering members of his flock who have been pre-conditioned to believe things that they are told in a certain way. I don’t think Hitler was a great rhetorician either, nor was Mussolini – but their delivery had the confident sound that seems to sway crowds. In fact, Hitler was mocked (by some Germans, mostly aristocrats, early on) for having an Austrian hick accent. (And Hollywood insiders thought Marlon Brando was going to make a hash of Marc Antony’s speech, too)

Here’s another view of the beer hall putsch, from the police report: [famous trials]

After the three gentlemen had entered the room, Adolf Hitler called out: “No one leaves the room alive without my permission.” At the door a member of the bodyguard walked up and down continually, holding a pistol. Then Hitler turned to Excellency von Kahr with the statement: “The Reich Government has been formed, the Bavarian Government has been overthrown. Bavaria is the springboard for the Reich Government. There must be a Reich governor in Bavaria. Pöhner [the Police chief of Munich and sympathetic to the Nazis] is to become Minister-President with dictatorial powers. You will be Reich Governor. Reich Government- Hitler; national army – Ludendorff; Lossow – army minister; Seisser- police minister.

“I know this step is a difficult one for you, gentlemen, but the step must be taken, it must be made easier for the other gentlemen to make the leap. Everybody must take up the post which he is allotted. If he does not, then he has no right to exist. You must fight with me, achieve victory with me, or die with me. If things go wrong, I have four bullets in my pistol, three for my colleagues if they desert me, the last bullet for myself.” While saying this, he put the pistol which he had been holding all the time to his head.

Hitler appears to have brought Chekhov’s Gun [wik] to the putsch with him. He later substituted a Walther PPk for the Browning he had in the beer hall.

The Police report on the march and shootings: [famous trials]

The column of National Socialists about 2,000 strong, nearly all armed, moved on through the Zweibrückenstraße, across the Marienplatz towards the Theatinerstraße. Here it split up, the majority going down the Perusastraße to the Residenz, the rest going on along the Theatinerstraße.

The police stationed in the Residenz tried to cordon it off as well as the Theatinerstraße by the Preysingstraße. Numerous civilians hurried on ahead of the actual column in Residenzstraße and pushed aside the police barricade. The ceaseless shouts of “Stop! Don’t go on!” by the state police were not obeyed. Since there was the danger of a break-through here, a police section, originally in the Theatinerstraße, hurried round the Feldherrenhalle [War Memorial] to give support. They were received with fixed bayonets, guns with the safety catches off, and raised pistols. Several police officers were spat upon, and pistols with the safety catches off were stuck in their chests. The police used rubber truncheons and rifle butts and tried to push back the crowd with rifles held horizontally. Their barricade had already been broken several times. Suddenly, a National Socialist fired a pistol at a police officer from close quarters. The shot went past his head and killed Sergeant Hollweg standing behind him. Even before it was possible to give an order, the comrades of the sergeant who had been shot opened fire as the Hitler lot did, and a short gun battle ensued during which the police were also shot at from the Preysingpalais and from the house which contains the Cafe Rottenhofer. After no more than thirty seconds the Hitler lot fled, some back to the Maximilienstraße, some to the Odeonsplatz. General Ludendorff apparently went on towards the Odeonsplatz. There he was seen in the company of a Hitler officer by a police officer barring the Briennerstraße, who went up to General Ludendorff and said to him: ‘Excellency, I must take you into custody.’ General Ludendorff replied: ‘You have your orders. I’ll come with you.’

Resolve. Momentum. Once the crowd is whipped up into the mood for violence, there is still a pivotal moment when both sides glare at eachother, trying to see who will strike the first blow. Kurosawa captures this perfectly in Yojimbo, as the warring factions, katanas drawn, egg eachother on, step by step, summoning the will to act.

Sorry if my brief digression into Kurosawa filmography seems jarring, but I need a moment to catch my breath by thinking of something that’s not an endless shit-show. By the way, you may gasp in awe at Kurosawa’s compositional skills, it’s appropriate.

Trump, when he launched his coup attempt, whipped his fans up with a bunch of violent, meandering imagery. They were already ready to do something; they had traveled long distances to Washington to do something. They were wound up and ready to go, they just wanted someone to pull the metaphorical trigger. Now, as things are unpacked more and more, we understand better how far the capitol police had been hamstrung, [wapo] and that there were agents in place in the capitol building, tweeting out who was where. [daily kos] Trump’s coup was simultaneously more planned than Hitler’s beer hall putsch, and less well executed.

A historian’s job is to point out crucial moments when the balance of events tipped one way or another, so this is my offering: if Trump had a golf cart, the US government would have fallen last week. I say “golf cart” because Trump’s too out of shape and lazy to walk the whole distance to the capitol, but what he did was whip his crowd up, then … he left. Trump said: [abcnews]

And after this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you.

But, he wasn’t. He got his lazy ass into the presidential limo and went to watch the event he had arranged on television, where he was nice and safe. If he had finished his speech and gotten in a golf cart with his secret service detail jogging alongside, and driven up to the capitol, he’d have rolled right over the place and that would be that. Approximately half of congress was all ready to salute the new Führer but it turned out that he just wasn’t the man of the hour.

When Hitler was arrested, they gave him 5 years in prison to solidify his base and establish a plausible-sounding ideology. If they had hanged him, the face of the world would be profoundly different, in ways we cannot predict. What is going to happen to Trump and his co-conspirators? Will the democrats give him a chance? A Machiavellian politician would arrange an “accident” for him. A powerful politician of great resolve, like Sulla, would have his head mounted somewhere for all to see. Will Trump get (another) book deal? Will his co-conspirators slink back into the woods and plot, or will they be weeded out?

I don’t know, but I think if Trump was a bit more of the man he wants to imagine he is, he’d have succeeded.

In other contexts, I have been less than worried about Trump’s followers than I should have been, because I did not see them as at the point where they are ready for mass violence. Also, they are not unified – they’re a mix of anarcho-libertarians, conspiracy theorists, and white supremacist fascists; they’re all over the map. In the event that their coup succeeded it almost certainly would have fallen apart due to internal divisions implicit in the scatter-shot mix of ideologies that compose them. In the case of Hitler’s Germany, those internal divisions were wiped out in a series of purges that aligned the revolutionaries in a single direction (mostly). The same thing occurs often in revolutions: you don’t wind up with a communist ideal state, you get Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot.

One thing that is clear from the coup attempt is that Trump and his people have been a lot busier than they appeared to be. They weren’t just randomly shuffling people and funding around, they were deliberately adjusting power balances in their favor. And part of that included unifying the support of, and completing the corruption of the republican party.

There may be other coup attempts from the Trumpies in the future. If they are not met with crushing force, they’ll succeed next time.

The republicans will have learned only one thing from this: they have to organize better. Next time they try, they will definitely succeed. Carthago delenda est.


  1. Ketil Tveiten says

    Speaking of endless shit-shows, how happy are you that you’re not the infosec guy who has to do incident response on this thing? I heard a suggested estimate of «replace every electronic device in the building including lamps» as a worst-case, that sound about right?

  2. JM says

    Having a golf cart for Trump to ride might have made a difference but it could also have gone badly for Trump. One thing that Trump has shown again and again is that when push comes to shove he is a coward. He doesn’t fire people in person, he has another employee do it or even email/Twitter. He avoids any situation where he is dealing with a non-friendly party that he doesn’t have power over, to the point of avoiding US allies at conferences if they disagree with him on some negotiating point. He would not have been leading or even directing the mob at the barriers, he would have bailed out at some point and that easily could have taken the wind out of their sails.

  3. Some Old Programmer says

    Ah, I think your timeline is off. The Beer Hall Putsch, per Wikipedia, was in 1923. Ludendorff died in 1937.

  4. rblackadar says

    I just want to say thanks, Marcus, for this post and all the research you put in to make it. One of the best ever on FtB.

  5. says

    Ketil Tveiten@#1:
    Speaking of endless shit-shows, how happy are you that you’re not the infosec guy who has to do incident response on this thing?

    I believe I know at least one of the people who will be doing incident response. They’re already very busy and have a beautiful home in the midwest near an airport. (waves, you know who you are!)

    It’s going to be an endless, sucking hole. It’ll be an interesting but unending project.

    My experience is that the government is just about the worst customer on Earth. They’re ridiculous about paper-work, nickle and dime you to death, and change the goalposts and terms every couple days, it seems. Infosec people who do government work tend to be very patient and government service quickly drives away the brilliant and mercurial types. I’ve seen many smart infosec people go work for the government and a year later they’re out in the commercial sector again, saying “never again!” I remember one time the FBI tried to hire me to teach a class. We went back and forth on the phone and with contracts for months and then someone put the kibosh on the whole thing because of some reason that had nothing to do with the class or its value (i.e.: “we’re having an all-hands at that facility that day, and we just don’t want to re-schedule”) Meanwhile, I had commercial gigs that started with a phone call at 10:00am, I responded with a statement of work boilerplate by 10:50, had an OK by 12:00 and booked my flights by 1:00pm. And their corporate travel people put me up at a nice hotel and I didn’t even worry about meals, per diem, or keeping reciepts because I was making a ton of money and I’d just write my expenses off on my taxes.

    I heard a suggested estimate of «replace every electronic device in the building including lamps» as a worst-case, that sound about right?

    Not even close. Wires, too. Even fiber-optics. The Israelis make some cool-ass fiber taps.
    [omg cable]

  6. says

    Some Old Programmer@#3:
    Ah, I think your timeline is off. The Beer Hall Putsch, per Wikipedia, was in 1923. Ludendorff died in 1937.

    You’re right! Now, damn it, I am not sure where that nugget of wrong got stuck in my brain.

    Let me stand corrected; I’m not sure if I’m up for doing a forensic analysis on my mistake. Maybe tonight or tomorrow. Or maybe not at all.

    Edit: I did a bit of review of the stuff I read last night as I was absorbing this, and I cannot find where that error crept in. Damn. Sorry. Good catch!

  7. says

    Having a golf cart for Trump to ride might have made a difference but it could also have gone badly for Trump. One thing that Trump has shown again and again is that when push comes to shove he is a coward.

    Yes, that’s a succinct summary of what I was getting at. He was not the man for his own hour. The golf cart is not to be taken literally. You know what would have sucked? If some general frog-marched him into and out of the limo and used him as a sockpuppet. That would be a plausible scenario, I’m afraid.

  8. brucegee1962 says

    He didn’t even need a golf cart. If he’d really desired a putsch, he could have sent someone like Steven Miller or Eric and Don Jr. along with the insurrectionists, then tweeted them directions to “follow this man.”
    Of course, he didn’t not want a putsch either. He could have tweeted to his followers to stand down the moment they started getting past the first barricades. The fact that he did not do so will, I hope, be used against him at his trial.
    Fortunately for us, he was not one of those would-be dictators who will do anything for power. The power himself seems like an afterthought; he’s like a Hitler who is happy as long as he’s got chanting, adoring crowds, and that’s enough.

  9. says

    More on Ludendorff after the putsch from [history.com]

    The Beer Hall Putsch had several significant consequences. First, it led to a split between Hitler and Ludendorff; the general considered Hitler a coward for sneaking away after the police had begun to fire. Second, Hitler decided that armed revolution was not the way to obtain power in Weimar Germany. After the failure of the putsch, he and the Nazi Party worked to manipulate the political system rather than plan another violent seizure of power.

  10. DrVanNostrand says

    The perfect choice to lead the insurrection while Trump hunkered down in the limo would have been Michael Flynn.

  11. Ketil Tveiten says

    Wires, too. Even fiber-optics. The Israelis make some cool-ass fiber taps.

    So, it’s “replace every electronic device and redo the entire electrical installation in the whole building”, good use of taxpayer money to be sure.

    I’m not terribly impressed with their security routines. I work in [regular office job] where the threat profile is [competitors may learn we are as clueless as they are], and we regularly get bothered by IT to remember to always lock screen whenever we leave the computer, and grab the laptop and bring it along first thing you do when the fire alarm goes off, etc. US Congress, they don’t even seem to be at the “don’t click dodgy links in emails” level, it’s a bit sad.

  12. Who Cares says

    @Ketil Tveiten(#11):
    Not thorough enough. The Russians for example gifted the ambassador of the US in Moscow with a hand carved US seal. The thing did not register on any of the look for spying devices devices while it was bugged.
    So the only solution is to rebuild the place since you do not know where in the stone or wood or plastic something might be embedded. Especially in the private rooms where people were being directed to,

    And then you do need to be careful that the replacements are not bugged at the place that makes them like the Russians did with the prefab concrete for the US embassy in Moscow.

  13. outis says

    Thanks for your reflections, it makes one think about what came down 100 years ago. Two points:
    1) it was indeed lucky that Mang-ump was not leading the idiots, someone with more brass could have seized the moment and taken over the whole joint, plenty of toadies inside as we have seen. Much stickier sittuation then.
    But Mussolini did the exact same thing, he launched the march, then ONLY AFTER it was safe traveled from Milan to Rome, and nobody remarked on the fearless leader putting a considerable chunk of landscape between his person and the action.
    2) very interesting point about a dictator’s delivery activating the corresponding synapses in (what passes for) authoritarian brains. If you listen to Schicklgruber and Mussolini’s speeches, they don’t make a lick of sense, not today and not then. So it must be something a normal person cannot detect, and concerning that there’s an illuminating passage in Oliver Sack’s “The man who mistook his wife for a hat (part 1, cap.9)”. He relates that, on listening to one of Reagan’s speeches, tipically neural people were captivated, while aphasic patients were laughing their faces off. This because:
    – those having lost left-hemisphere function could not parse language, only relied on gestural communication, and that was completely off and came out as 100% phony,
    – another patient who lost right-hemisphere functionality could not access the gestural environment, had to rely on language only, and that was all over the place with no logic or structure, with tells of deceptive intent.
    So, even brain-damaged patients can sniff a demagogue a mile off. Why cannot populist followers do the same?

  14. sonofrojblake says

    “their strategy was to grab for power then stumble around wildly trying to wield it effectively”

    I disagree. Trump doesn’t understand strategy.

    Trumps tactics are:
    1. Grab power
    2. Grab cash
    3. Run and hide
    4. Go to 1.

    It’s nothing you could call strategy.

    Also, he seemed almost completely uninterested in wielding power as such. Too much like actual work.

  15. fossboxer says

    @14 – This is true for Trump, of course. Also, his age — Hitler was 34 at the time of the putsch. Trump is a cretinous old git in the throes of dementia.

    I think the wider message in this excellent blog post is that the followers chase an idea no matter how fresh or well-spoken the carrot at the end of the stick. I would also add that these people have always been there; the Internet has afforded them the communication medium to connect and, eventually, to organize effectively.

  16. brucegee1962 says

    @15 fossboxer, I’m not sure about the “organizing effectively” part.
    I have been teaching Freshman Comp classes for twenty-five years. For about the first fifteen of those years, I think I flunked one student for plagiarism per approximately every three semesters. (The worst case was someone who literally cut and pasted an entire Wikipedia article.)
    However, the number I have caught cheating has gone down to practically zero over the last five years or so. I don’t think students have gotten more honest — rather, I think it is that they have realized that, while the internet makes plagiarism easier than ever, it also makes catching it easier than ever too. There are all sorts of tools that will quickly tell me if a paper exists anywhere on the internet. (Of course, they could still do it the old-fashioned way, by checking out an actual book that hasn’t been digitized and copying something from that, but I’m sure that would never occur to them.)
    I suspect the same thing is true about organizing a rebellion on the internet — easier than ever to do, but also pretty easy to infiltrate, with the infiltration tools staying ahead of the encryption tools. The problem of how to organize a conspiracy that a single mole can’t blow sky-high has been around since the eighteenth century, and the solutions that have been developed (cellular organization, tight information control on a need-to-know basis) won’t work for a mass movement — plus, I doubt any of these putzes are serious enough to actually study how to organize a successful rebellion.
    Most of my ideas about organizing rebellions, by the way, come from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein, which is probably worth re-reading in these seditious times.

  17. xohjoh2n says


    So, it’s “replace every electronic device and redo the entire electrical installation in the whole building”, good use of taxpayer money to be sure.

    I think it’s more of a case of “have a quick eyeball around the place and remove anything obvious. Reimage computers. Perhaps run a bugsweeper round the place but otherwise don’t kill yourself over this because it’s not like any bugs placed on Wednesday would have been the first in the building, and it’s not like if you somehow could get the building completely clean it would stay that way for more than a week.”

  18. fossboxer says

    @16 brucegee1962 — Good points. I wasn’t clear that I meant the organizers’ ability to use the internet to send their knuckle-draggers into the fray to fulfill whatever narrative they wished. Was it effective? Our attention seems to be focused mostly on the individual ex-cons and the LARPers and other bits of human offal who broke out windows and carried zip-ties. So, maybe. Perhaps it was a dry-run, a testing of the waters. I suppose only the unnamed money sources behind the scenes know for sure.

  19. konrad_arflane says

    I’ve been thinking about what would’ve happened in the scenario where Trump isn’t a lazy coward. I mean, what would happen if the President had showed up at Congress at the head of a mob and said “let us in!”, and disregarded anyone trying to tell him he couldn’t? What would the Secret Service have done if Capitol police tried to stop him by force (I suppose the scenario also requires Trump to not be a complete asshole to the help, here)?

  20. says

    Trumps tactics are:
    1. Grab power
    2. Grab cash
    3. Run and hide
    4. Go to 1.

    It’s nothing you could call strategy.

    In other words, the president is an underpants gnome.

  21. Owlmirror says

    [Electronics and wiring may have been compromised] I don’t understand why internal video surveillance isn’t enough to tell whose office was entered, and how long which person was in there. That would at least give a hint as to who the potential agent(s) was/were, and which offices were hit, which could bring them under careful scrutiny.

    For the O.MG cable, for example, it certainly looks different on the inside — the site even shows an X-ray of one. So why not just X-ray the cables from those specific offices that may have been targeted? Other electronics may be harder to find, but that, at least seems doable.

    Am I missing something?

  22. lorn says

    Unfortunately the why of history is dissolved in the flow of time and events that comes at one as an endless torrent of details, events, personalities, and sentiment.


    It helps to remember that Germany was not united until shortly before WWI and that although democracy was to be the form of government after WWI the German people had little experience or trust in democratic systems. The Germans were much more comfortable with authoritarians. Remember that the term Kaiser is directly related to Caesar, as is the term czar. Germans tended to prefer archetype strong men, father figures, people who would tell them what to do and never show weakness.

    Also, unlike most nations losing a war at the time Germany was not invaded and occupied. There were defeats on the battlefield in WWI but no cataclysmic collapse with their army routed and enemy troops in hot pursuit. For many Germans it seemed the war was going well enough. German propaganda was quite effective in showing the army as strong and potentially on the verge of total victory. Even in defeat.

    And then … the war was over and Germany had lost. The perceptual sudden reversal in understanding allowed rumors and stories of conspiracies to grow. And then starvation and ruin, economic collapse caused by reparations, that only got more serious as the Depression took root. Germany returned to the previous regional and ideological factionalism.

  23. Owlmirror says

    I’ve been thinking about it a bit, and at this point, I suspect that Trump’s physical cowardice, and his lifetime of being a grifter, that led to the fizzled insurrection.

    Trump is a physical coward, who avoids danger as much as possible, As such, he can’t actually model how brave people actually can behave. This led him to fail to understand how his fans would act, and how Capitol Police (not in on his scheme) would act, and how Congressmembers (at least some of whom are veterans) would react.

    Trump is also a grifter, with some awareness of how the law works. The important thing Trump took away from being a grifter, is to be as enthusiastic as possible while also being as vague as possible. I think Trump heard or learned that giving clear and explicit orders to commit a crime would directly implicate himself, whereas if he made enthusiastic but vague noises, his listeners might or might not do what he wanted, or something close to what he wanted, but this would not directly implicate himself. In other words, he wants to always have the technical defense of “I never told anyone to take anyone hostage or kill anyone!”

    Or something like that, anyway.

    I also wonder if maybe the real mastermind was someone else (Stephen Miller?) who wanted to continue being the power behind the throne, but didn’t have the chops for the complete execution of the plan.

    Just some late night half-baked ideas.

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