- Counter-Currents Publishing - https://www.counter-currents.com -

Antifa & the Battle of Coburg

[1]

Storm Troopers enter Coburg on October 14, 1922.

4,700 words

The terrorist groups known as Antifa have held the whip hand over the white advocacy movement for a few years now, and that in an utterly brazen manner. Supported explicitly by the entire establishment (except, to his great credit, President Trump), Antifa has taken control of public spaces, attacked whites, and shut down events, with virtually no legal penalties. Furthermore, there is no prospect of the establishment shutting them down, because, well, pro-whites are “Nazis” and deserve to be shamed, beaten up, and silenced.

Antifa has turned episodes such as Charlottesville and Richard Spencer’s recent speech in Michigan into public-relations disasters for the white movement. Whites participating in these and other events have had to run a gauntlet of violent protestors, have seen their events besieged and thwarted, and have stooped to engaging in chaotic and undignified screaming matches and fistfights with Antifa members. Whites have come off looking pathetic, with an evident lack of unity, organization, and discipline. Our cause will experience nothing but further disaster in this arena if it doesn’t change its strategy and tactics.

To win battles against Antifa (let alone the war), a cohesive, disciplined movement is indispensable. I would love to see this type of movement or political group arise under a dynamic leader, even though I understand the counter-arguments against one appearing prematurely. I suspect that most of us – deep down – wish for an intelligent, dynamic, and daring movement to fight for our rights. Such a group would have at least a chance at changing the game, inspiring us with victories, gaining adherents, and demoralizing the opposition. It could, if done correctly, work in tandem with the efforts already underway in the sphere of metapolitics.

I do not wish to discuss the type of movement that may arise. I would simply like to advance some (rather modest) ideas for dealing with Antifa, and then present a compelling historical model of a successful action against violent Leftist repression, one that incorporated the most important of these ideas.

The first principle in approaching tactical situations like a confrontation with Antifa is unity of action. This presupposes, naturally, a strong leader. He must lead an organization big enough to hold a demonstration with enough men to intimidate Antifa forces (yes, I know this fact alone postpones this event further into the future). If other groups want to participate, they must place themselves unreservedly under the one leader. There must be total unified control over the participants, the message, and the optics. There must be no hangers-on waving swastikas or other fascist symbols; on the contrary, there should be a plethora of United States flags. There should be a single, simple message: white rights, free speech, and so on. Again, all this demands tight leadership.

I suggest foregoing public meetings and speeches, at least for a while. Setting up an event in a particular spot causes a tactical disadvantage: it throws the organizers onto the defensive. Therefore, simplify the action: confine efforts to hold simple demonstrations or marches so that our cause may gain a victory or two. Antifa shows some tactical sophistication [2], so our side must counter this with wise measures. In preparing such a demonstration, the terrain must be scouted thoroughly and every step of the march must be planned. Set up tightly-controlled entry and exit points (these might need to be manned by defenders) and means of transport. The men must be able to form up for the march in a secure area. The march should be carried out in close order ranks, five or six abreast; this will help men maintain discipline and protect themselves. The men must maintain perfect order.

The idea is to win a tactical confrontation, not an argument. Tactical considerations are paramount, not speeches or clever arguments or publicity for individuals.

Naturally, organizers will consult good lawyers for technical legal advice. Marchers should carry whatever weapons might be legal, like pepper spray. Lawyers will brief them on the associated legal issues. All participants must know just what they can and cannot do.

Organizers must videotape the entire march from above from at least three angles, for evidence in the inevitable legal proceedings. No marchers can carry phones or devices; there should be no distractions from the objective of a successful march.

If possible, other loyal whites could join the Antifa crowd to dilute its action and force.

When Antifa appears, the marchers must not react in any way. There should be no verbal exchanges or physical displays. Patriots observing from on high can inform the marchers of Antifa dispositions by walkie-talkies. The whites should chant – as thunderously as possible –some simple messages, or alternately belt out patriotic songs. Loudspeakers should be used if legal; the aim is to drown out anything Antifa might say. This is extremely important; imagine the sight of a march like this hitting the Internet, with our message booming away and nothing but futility coming from our opponents. This would produce a powerful effect.

The marchers must even absorb physical punishment without reacting. Obviously they will be equipped to ward off pepper spray and projectiles, but if the enemy presses the attack too strenuously at any point, a group of our people can leave formation and carry out a rapid counterattack, enough to beat back the Leftists and intimidate them. At these times, the marchers should tear off Antifa masks and seize their weapons for evidence. All skirmishes must end in a victory. The marchers will then immediately return to formation. Subordinate leaders in the march can use whistles to signal “attack” and “reform.”

It is possible that a melee could engulf the entire march. In that case, I don’t have any good advice except win the fight and get out of there as quickly as possible. This is also the reason to have big numbers on our side.

Unfortunately, we have to plan for the fact that the police might provide additional – and unexpected – opposition.

Finally, the whites have to get away cleanly. No messy delays or breakdowns. Planning here, like everywhere, is the key to success.

I must say, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs, when I have to formulate these ideas. Nothing here is beyond common sense.

This type of victory over Antifa could have a phenomenal effect not just on whites, but America as a whole. It could win a thousand converts for every one that Matt Heimbach won over with his street-scuffles. Victorious movements gain adherents naturally.

It would be good to remind ourselves that most Antifa are probably college muffins living with Mom. In any case, practically all Leftists are beta males, even if they’re female. Their domination is fragile, based as it is on chimerical ideologies and unreal conceptions of human nature. Their hold upon the people can be broken. The necessary element in breaking it is resolute action. What is the wellspring of this type of action? Quite simply, a resolute and dynamic leader.

Now let us look back at a leader who demonstrated that such a victory could have dramatic and far-reaching effects. Early in his political career, Adolf Hitler was simply a patriotic nationalist faced with the problem of saving his Volk from destruction at the hands of the Jews and Reds. From the beginning, he had had to deal with violent disruptions at his speeches; the Party actually held its earliest meetings in secret for that reason. How was he to get his message out to the masses in the face of pervasive opposition? Hitler was a man of action as well as ideas, and he quickly formed a “Hall Protection Squad” to defend Party meetings. This body eventually grew into the Sturmabteilung, or “Storm Detachment” – the famous SA. The plain fact is that the SA – so often labelled a group of drunken thugs – was a necessary response to Leftist terror, just as the NSDAP was a response to the terrifying menace of Marxism.

Hitler put his SA to good use in his first blitzkrieg, seventeen years before the cannons of the Second World War began to roar. It was a march through the streets of a city far from his home base of Munich, in a town dominated by the Left. He and his Storm Troopers marched and fought to free a German city from the Red terror, in the first resounding victory of Hitler’s fledgling movement. The event is a great example of Hitler’s brilliant political instincts and a beacon to us in our present straits. A resolute nationalist party defeated the seemingly dominant Reds and won the loyalty of a town simply by carrying out an action similar to the one described above.

The “Battle of Coburg” took place in October 1922. A conservative group from that small town of 24,000 in northern Bavaria planned a patriotic two-day festival, a “German Day,” on the weekend of October 14-15. The organizer of the event reached out to Hitler, a rising but still quite minor political figure in Munich, and invited him to take part. He added the cryptic remark that Hitler might bring “some gentlemen of his company.”[1] [3] Hitler, with superb political instincts, enlarged mightily upon this curious invitation. He instantly conceived a masterstroke. He would bring a battalion of Storm Troopers; he would rent a special train, itself a marvelous and novel propaganda stunt; and he would plaster the train with “the most gripping political symbol of the twentieth century,” the dramatic new swastika banners that he himself had recently designed.[2] [4] He would conquer Coburg and show Germany that the Leftist terror could be broken. That he could break it.

Hitler was not concerned that his Party had no money at hand. Destiny was his focus, not daily drudgery. (Hitler’s lax administrative style was later the despair of his Third Reich bureaucrats.) Yet Hitler managed to finance the train and mobilize virtually the entire corps of SA-men, with a 42-piece brass band as well.

Meanwhile, in Coburg they heard all about Hitler’s train. The Red leaders – some combination of union organizers, Social Democrats, and Communist Party officials – harped on the provocative nature of the whole thing, and made so much noise that the town government extracted the condition from the German Day organizers that the proposed festival events take place only indoors. If the patriots moved about town, they must not march in formation or display flags, or even play music. The Left had enough power through its sway over the workers to enforce these restrictions. (The Berlin government had recently passed a law forbidding “provocative” public displays by political parties, but the Bavarian government, resenting the Weimar regime as it did, rarely enforced it.)

How was the march of the National Socialists provocative, you might ask? Well, it would impel the proletariat to react violently, because they would be so damn triggered by the presence of patriots. Chaos would result. Thus, the march must not take place. We see the same argument used repeatedly nowadays to shut down the free speech of patriots despite its irrationality and blame-shifting. One perceptive historian – the only one, actually – commented that “if provocation ever existed in a situation, it would have been Germans being told (in Germany, on German Day) that no parade would be allowed because such was offensive to internationalist proponents of class war.”[3] [5]

The Marxists thus enforced their conditions over the terms in which the conservatives might express themselves. How should the German patriots have tried to break this unnatural stranglehold? Through the ballot? Debates? Or through bold confrontation? Immediate action seemed necessary because of the numerous Red revolutions breaking out all over Europe. Hitler faced this decision just a few years removed from his service in the Great War, a brutal duty he had doggedly embraced. He had been stamped forever with a soldier’s soul after passing through that crucible, and ever after reacted as a soldier – a point that usually escapes the historians. Hitler had physical courage, which he didn’t try to hide.[4] [6] He naturally decided on action.

Over six hundred SA men boarded Hitler’s train, draped with the red, white, and black banners, at Munich’s Central Station on the morning of Saturday, October 14. (How many swarthy “migrants” are loitering about that very station these days?) The train with its electrifying banners – which few Germans had ever seen before – caused a sensation on the way to Coburg. In Nuremberg, Julius Streicher (having recently agreed to place his nationalist group under Hitler) joined their party with some followers. In the same station, a group of Jews from another train expressed their disdain for the Nazis in some manner, and Julius Schreck, factotum to the Leader, “leapt into the midst of them and started laying about him,” according to Hitler’s later account.[5] [7]

With Hitler in his compartment were his inner circle: Dietrich Eckart, the bohemian playwright, political agitator, Thule Society member, and a major influence on Hitler; Max Amann, who had been a Sergeant in Hitler’s regiment in the war and was the Party’s business manager; Hermann Esser, the Party’s number two orator; Ulrich Graf, a former wrestler and Hitler’s faithful bodyguard; Alfred Rosenberg, the Baltic German philosopher and Hitler’s mentor on the nature of Jewish Bolshevism; and Kurt Lüdecke, a wealthy playboy type who had thrown in his lot with Hitler as soon as he heard him speak. All these men, and many more, pledged undying allegiance to Hitler simply on having experienced one of his speeches. This was the power of Adolf Hitler’s oratory [8].

They reached Coburg after an eight-hour journey, just before 3 PM. At the station, a group of German Day organizers (and a police captain) met them and anxiously informed Hitler of the restrictions imposed on their festivities. They earnestly begged him not to march his men through the town with flags and music, as that would be too “provocative.” They had internalized the bogus argument wielded by the Left. These organizers feared the Reds, but Hitler did not. He informed them that he had not been a party to their agreement, and rejected their terms. He could not carry out his purpose – winning a decisive victory over Marxism – if he simply went along. Destiny blinded him to the quibbles of second-rate men.

Hitler ordered his followers to begin the march, band in front, flags unfurled. Many of them secretly carried clubs or knives; Rosenberg and a few others had pistols. Hitler was known to carry a pistol as well. They immediately encountered a mob of Leftist workers who hurled screaming insults and spittle at them. Hitler’s SA kept fine formation, led by eight of their toughest men, armed with the Bavarian alpenstock. Their police escort, however, led them not to their desired destination, a shooting gallery on the outskirts of town, but to the Hofbräuhaus, a beerhall near the city center, the site of that evening’s German Day event. The police then locked them into the courtyard of the beerhall for their “safety.” Once there, the German Day organizers assured Hitler that it was impossible for them to get to their billets on the edge of town, and the police told Hitler he could not leave because they could not guarantee his safety. The Reds had everyone in the town intimidated. Hitler was impervious to this sentiment; he demanded the gates unlocked, and ordered his men to form up. The band was silent now, the drums only – ominously – thudding a beat. They marched out to begin the battle.

The screaming Reds, urged on by agitators, set upon them, armed with lead pipes and clubs with embedded nails, and other instruments of international brotherhood. They tore up cobblestones to hurl at them and threw tiles down from the rooftops. Hitler himself was in the midst of it. He finally gave the signal, and the whole column of his men launched a counterattack. A bloody set-to began. Rosenberg saw Hitler putting his stick to use; the band members dented their trumpets on proletarian noggins. Others used less gentlemanly tools, most often truncheons. The outnumbered police began by trying to subdue the combatants indiscriminately, but most of them soon turned to battling only the Lefties. (A policeman later said to Hitler, “You can’t imagine how we suffer under the domination of these dogs.”)[6] [9] It took the patriots twenty minutes of hard struggle to clear the street. Scores of men on both sides were injured, some of them badly, but the nationalists had won a decisive victory.

It was patently a defensive action on the part of the National Socialist patriots. (Other than that whole “provocation” thing.) The town government later placed the blame for the affray squarely on the Left.[7] [10]

Hitler and his men proceeded to their intended quarters at the edge of town, after taking some of their men to the hospital. They rested, ate, and excitedly reviewed the battle. They must have been exhilarated. Hitler, surely reveling in the military atmosphere and the victory, set up watches and ordered patrols.

That evening Hitler was scheduled to speak at the Hofbräuhaus. When he entered the hall, the organizers of the German Day gazed at him with no little curiosity and awe. They had never seen the likes of him. The Duke and Duchess of Coburg were present, being the guests of honor of the festivities; soon they would become enthusiastic supporters of Hitler. After a few staid speeches, Hitler rose to speak. He called for the spiritual regeneration of Germany through hard work and sacrifice. He demanded respect for workers and an end to divisive class-consciousness. By the time he finished he had – as usual – captured the audience with his reason and fervor and earned a rousing ovation.[8] [11]

During the speech, and even long into the night, small groups of SA men clashed with the local workers. The Reds ambushed SA men several times and left some of them badly wounded. One SA patrol discovered and subdued a group preparing to use hand-grenades against their quarters. Gottfried Schmitt, a member of the patrol, describes what happened next:

. . . we marched them into quarters . . . I turned the precious pair over to Hitler and showed him the bombs. He looked ugly at that, but made no further sign. Quietly he ordered the captives to be taken to a room at the back, beckoned to a hefty couple of our chaps, furnished them with a stout stick apiece, and signed to them to get busy within. Some time afterwards the two would-be bomb throwers were seen to leave our camp, very much sadder and very much wiser men . . .[9] [12]

Hitler slept that night, like his men, on straw in the shooting gallery hall. The frontkämpfer slept on the ground with his men. He had far transcended the rank of Corporal by this time; he had become the Leader.

The next morning, they learned that the Reds had distributed leaflets branding the National Socialists as breakers of the peace and enemies of the workers, and calling for a massive demonstration in the market square to throw them out. Ten thousand workers were to assemble from the surrounding areas. Rumor had it they were already coming into town. Leftist political organization in Weimar Germany was sufficient to make this plausible. Hitler had intended to lead a march up to Coburg Castle that morning, but quickly decided to detour through the market square and complete his conquest of the town. Again, his unerring political instinct was to force a final decision and complete his victory.

The SA contingent had been bolstered by new arrivals, and other participants in the German Day fell in with his men. About two thousand men formed up. Again, they struck up the band and hoisted their flags. At noon they entered the square to find only a couple hundred opponents. These quickly made themselves scarce, and the German nationalists made their way up to the Castle. There Hitler held a review of the troops, and many of them attended a Protestant prayer service in the famous Ehrenburg Palace Church. As they descended from the Castle, they found the town bedecked with German Imperial flags that the burghers had not dared to display under the Red reign of terror. The jubilant citizens hailed the National Socialists from every window. Hitler and his men must have been elated. They had freed the town and won its gratitude with a couple quick marches and a sharp fight, all within twenty-four hours.

They returned to the Hofbräuhaus, and there a number of the workers with whom they had fought approached them seeking rapprochement. A discussion took place, and the locals were surprised to find that the National Socialists were very favorable towards the working man. Hitler’s men laid out their beliefs at some length, and more than a few of the Leftists expressed their desire to change sides and join them.[10] [13] Hitler took great pleasure in converting, rather than repressing, the foot soldiers of the Left. The Left’s leaders, who had far greater culpability, accessed much less mercy from him.

When the National Socialists marched off to the train station that Sunday evening, they received another round of cheers from the townspeople.

Hitler and his adherents, back in their home base of Munich, knew that Coburg was the greatest milestone in their Party’s young history. Munich had heard the news, too; five hundred people joined the Party weekly in the following months. So many men flocked to the SA that within three months it expanded almost tenfold.

Hitler’s blitzkrieg also had a profound effect in Coburg. There was a marked movement towards the Right amongst all its social classes, and it later became the first German city to elect a National Socialist mayor and city council. The Duke of Coburg, already a nationalist, gave “generously” to the NSDAP and joined the SA.[11] [14]

For years afterwards, National Socialists meeting for the first time would ask, “Were you at Coburg?” The fame of the deed sounded long, thanks to the Leader. Ten years later, the Party struck a commemorative medal and awarded it to the select group that had taken part in Hitler’s first blitzkrieg. The recipients wore it proudly, for it was the first combat medal of the Third Reich.

Two years later, in Mein Kampf, Hitler proudly declared his satisfaction with having restored freedom to German cities that had suffered under Red domination:

. . . now we set out to break systematically the Red terror in all places where for many years it had prevented all meetings of people with different opinions, and to restore the freedom of assembly . . . in Bavaria gradually one Red stronghold after the other fell . . . The S.A. had more and more grown up to its task, and thus it was more and more removed from the senseless and lifeless character of a defense movement, and had risen to become the living, fighting organization for the establishment of a new German State.[12] [15]

Kurt Lűdecke, a participant in the battle, commented:

The new tactic which Coburg had inaugurated was to be continued for the next eleven years and more than any other single thing was to contribute to Hitler’s eventual triumph. From then on, systematically, in cities where the Reds reigned, National Socialist Storm Troops were concentrated; flying squadrons travelled there . . . to re-establish liberty of speech and the right of assembly for the Nationalists. Coburg had proved that nothing was to be gained for Germany by allowing the Marxists and other alien-influenced groups to monopolize the franchise, to abuse and thwart it . . .[13] [16] [emphasis added]

German patriots had to wage a war to reestablish the simple right of free speech and free assembly, in a liberal democracy. It is the same fight we face now, in this country, under a similar “democracy.”

Mainstream historians have entirely missed, and thus misrepresented, the true significance of this event. All of them ignore the significance of the Red terror in the streets. Richard “Skunky” Evans, in his boring, hate-filled trilogy on the Third Reich (why would a historian spend years researching and writing on a subject he hates so vociferously?), imprisons the event firmly within his meta-narrative of National Socialism as embodied violence: an “outing to a nationalist rally in Coburg . . . culminated in a pitched battle with Social Democrats in which the Nazis eventually drove their opponents from the streets with their rubber truncheons.”[14] [17] That is his entire summation. A more recent biographer, calling the event “an orgy of violence,” wrote that the SA’s “martial posturing provoked pitched street battles in which the storm troopers showed that they deserved their reputation as brutal thugs.”[15] [18] (There’s that word “provoked” again!) Ian Kershaw, world-class Hitler-hater, portrays the event as little more than a propaganda stunt.[16] [19] Even Werner Maser, who can be insightful on Hitler, says Hitler’s men smashed “popular opposition” in Coburg, a total misreading of the event.[17] [20]

Only Russell Stolfi, in his highly original interpretation of Hitler [21], has teased out some interesting lessons from the battle. Stolfi first points out that Hitler alone conceived the brilliant action, “neither committee nor gray eminence nor mistress advising him . . .” Leftist revolutionaries, in contrast, would have begun by debating whether the proposed action conformed to their talmudically intricate ideology, then conducted endless, hair-splitting discussions on the question. Not the Leader. He sprang into action based on his own confident plan. Stolfi, putting his finger on the crux of the matter, writes that Hitler acted “for the expressed purpose of proving that nationalists could hold mass meetings and demonstrations anywhere in Germany in the face of the pervasive ‘Red Terror.’” Stolfi proceeds to show that Hitler conceived the action in Coburg as merely the first step toward conquering all Germany from Marxism. Hitler had to speak to the masses to win Germany over; and he needed the freedom to speak.[18] [22] Therefore, the SA. Conscious moreover of the vital role of Richard Wagner in Hitler’s self-conception, Stolfi remarks that “Hitler can be seen as composing and directing a . . . heroic political opera using Coburg as the opera house, using its streets as the stage setting, and acting in the lead role.”[19] [23] This is a very suggestive conception of Hitler: a self-conceived Wagnerian hero from Teutonic mythology.

The Germans got their Führer, but he was tragically flawed. That was their sorrow; it was also the sorrow of Western man. What can we look forward to? Hopefully not a gentle slide into that awful night. My advice is, have children and train them to duty and self-sacrifice. Meanwhile, prepare to merit the coming Man. Hell, prepare to be the coming Man, at least in your own sphere. The necessity of struggle, desperate struggle, will not bypass us. The future will not be pretty, but it might – eventually – be good.

Notes

[1] [24] My main sources for this episode include Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1941), pp. 806-11; Kurt Lüdecke, I Knew Hitler (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2013), pp. 63-75; Charles Bracelen Flood, Hitler: The Path to Power (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1989), pp. 299-311; and Russell Stolfi, Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2011), pp. 66-68, 191-2, & 254-59.

[2] [25] Stolfi, Hitler, p. 257.

[3] [26] Ibid, p. 258.

[4] [27] Peter Hoffmann, Hitler’s Personal Security: Protecting the Führer, 1921-1945 (Boston: Da Capo Press, 2000), p. 1: “. . . he not only accepted danger as an inevitable part of his life, but he seemed so seek it . . . During the years of his struggle for political power . . . there were countless occasions when he got into the midst of menacing, violent crowds and into assembly-hall fights . . . [in the Second World War] he often visited dangerous points at the fronts.” This contrasts sharply with most political leaders of the past century.

[5] [28] Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-1944, translated by Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens (New York: Enigma Books, 2008), p. 105.

[6] [29] Hitler’s Table Talk, p. 106.

[7] [30] Stolfi, p. 258.

[8] [31] Flood, pp. 307-08; Lűdecke, p. 73.

[9] [32] Heinz A. Heinz, Germany’s Hitler, rev. ed. (London: Hurst & Blackett Ltd., 1938), pp. 133-34.

[10] [33] Heinz, pp. 134-35.

[11] [34] James & Suzanne Pool, Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler’s Rise to Power 1919-1933 (New York: Dial Press, 1979), p. 421.

[12] [35] Hitler, Mein Kampf, pp. 810-11.

[13] [36] Lűdecke, pp. 74-5.

[14] [37] Richard Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), p. 181.

[15] [38] Volker Ullrich, Hitler: Ascent 1889-1936 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016), p. 116.

[16] [39] Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1889), p. 178.

[17] [40] Werner Maser, Hitler: Legend, Myth & Reality (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), p. 247.

[18] [41] Stolfi, Hitler, pp. 191-92.

[19] [42] Ibid, p. 67.