|Weimar Republic||Nazi Germany||French Resistance|
After the First World War former senior officers in the German Army began raising private armies called Freikorps. These were used to defend the German borders against the possibility of invasion from the Red Army. Later they were used against attempts at revolution in Germany.
Herman Ehrhardt, a former naval commander and Wolfgang Kapp, a right-wing journalist, led a group of soldiers to take control of Berlin in March 1920. The Kapp Putsch was defeated by a general strike of trade unionists and Kapp was forced to flee to Sweden.
(1) Morgan Philips Price, My Three Revolutions (1969)
After I was established in Berlin as Daily Herald correspondent, I began to look into and send dispatches to London about the state of affairs in Germany. I found that considerable irregular military forces had been formed since the Spartakus revolt in January, 1919. I found there were four main forces commanded by former officers of the Kaiser's army, under the general heading of Freikorps. There was the Landesjagerkorps commanded by General Marker, who had taken part in the suppression of the Spartakus rising in Berlin and had then transferred his activities to Middle Germany. Then there was the Marine Brigade Erhardt which had broken up the People's Marine Division in Berlin and had murdered Liebknecht and Luxemburg. Then there was the Garde Kavalerie Schiitzen Division. During the summer of 1919, the Orgesh was formed under the command of Colonel Escherish. None of these were large military units as yet but they kept growing and towards the end of the year a force called the Stahlhelm was created to begin serious military training and become an effective establishment.
(2) Agnes Smedley, letter to Florence Lennon (11th August 1923)
Here in Bavaria, I am in the stronghold of reaction. At night I am often awakened by the military commands and the march of men (Monarchists) who are training at night in the forests and in the mountains. It is a gruesome feeling - this secret training of men to kill other men. And these men being trained are peasants and working-men - not the class we usually think of. In Saxony the same thing occurs; there at night the men who are under training are also workingmen, but the leaders are Communists. And they are preparing to kill their kind also. Sometimes I see no difference between the two. What is this business everywhere - men preparing to murder their own kind for the sake of an idea? Not their own idea either, but that of men who use them as tools to set themselves in power. We only wait for the day when the two groups will start massacring each other. Both groups are bitterly opposed to passive resistance as a method; it isn't bloody or sadistic enough.
(3) Agnes Smedley, The Nation (28th November 1923)
The week has witnessed looting of many shops in various parts of the city, unrest in most cities throughout the country, and actual street fighting in many. Looting and rioting are regarded as so much grist to the mills of the Communists and the reactionaries alike. The Communists take advantage of it and preach their dogma; the monarchists do the same. They smile cynically when they read of the frightful increase in the cost of living and say, "It has not yet gone far enough. It must be worse still before the masses realize the mistake they have made in establishing a republic! We shall wait a bit longer." But most of the townspeople are so weary, so destroyed by uncertainty and long years of nervous strain, that they do not care what happens. They are tired of it all.