GERMANY: Eleven Minutes

All along the line there were last-minute changes. The annual meeting of the Nazi Party Old Guard—those hard, mystic, loyal, lower-middle-class men machine-gunned on the streets of Munich on Nov. 9, 1923, in Adolf Hitler's abortive bid for power—had been scheduled at the traditional hour of 8:30. At 6, the Munich radio announced, without giving a reason, that the meeting had been set ahead half an hour.

By 8, the old hands were assembled in the Bürgerbräu Keller, a low, barnlike building on Rosenheimerstrasse beyond the Deutsches Museum, and across the Isar...

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