Since mid-April 1919, the Reichswehrminister (imperial war minister) Gustav Noske (1868-1946) and the Bavarian cabinet in Bamberg assembled troops to crush the Soviet Republic. Basis was the implementation of a "Reichsexekution" (imperial intervention) for the state unity of Germany. Soldiers from Berlin and Württemberg as well as Freikorps members formed about 15,000 strong units, which now advanced against Munich. The troops were under the command of the Prussian General Ernst von Oven (1859-1945). On 30 April, the state capital was surrounded.
Several days earlier, the Hoffmann government had already announced by "airmail" the military action to the Munich population. In it, it first reported the failure of the radical council movements throughout Germany; "throughout the Reich" there was now "peace". It then stated that "military measures against the foreign rule over Munich" were progressing. The Freikorps and a people's army would be set up and the imperial government supported Bavaria militarily. The troops would advance "quickly". The government made it clear that it did not want to reverse the revolution and that it even advocated the establishment of councils in a democratic system. Nonetheless, the Bolsheviks ruled over Munich and "Bolshevism is war".
Power in the state capital was largely in the hands of the Red Army, which on 29 April called on the population to fight the government troops and propagated a new general strike. In the martially formulated leaflet the government troops are described as "White Guard mercenaries of capitalism". The proletariat must now show how it could fight and win, for the enemy would know no mercy.
In reality, however, the sovereignty of the Council had already been dissolved before the invasion of the government troops. The supply situation had worsened dramatically by the end of April. The Red Army had only 2,000 armed men at its disposal, which made a strong, well-planned resistance impossible from the outset.