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Encyclopedia > Freikorps

The designation of Freikorps (German for "Free Corps") was originally applied to voluntary armies. The first freikorps were recruited by Frederick II of Prussia in the eighteenth century during the Seven Years' War. Other known freikorps appeared during the Napoleonic Wars and were led for example by Ferdinand von Schill and later Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow. The freikorps were regarded as unreliable by regular armies, so that they were mainly used as sentries and for minor duties. This article is about a military unit. ... Frederick II (German: ; January 24, 1712 – August 17, 1786) was a King of Prussia (1740–1786) from the Hohenzollern dynasty. ... Combatants Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Great Britain and its American Colonies Electorate of Hanover Iroquois Confederacy Kingdom of Portugal Electorate of Brunswick Electorate of Hesse-Kassel Philippines Archduchy of Austria Kingdom of France Empire of Russia Kingdom of Sweden Kingdom of Spain Electorate of Saxony Kingdom of Naples and... Combatants Austria[a] Portugal Prussia[a] Russia[b] Sicily[c] Sardinia  Spain[d]  Sweden[e] United Kingdom French Empire Holland[f] Italy Etruria[g] Naples[h] Duchy of Warsaw[i] Confederation of the Rhine[j] Bavaria Saxony Westphalia Württemberg Denmark-Norway[k] Commanders Archduke Charles Prince Schwarzenberg Karl Mack... Ferdinand Baptista von Schill (1776 - 1809), was a Prussian soldier who revolted unsuccessfully against French domination in May of 1809. ... Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm Freiherr von Lützow (en: Louis Adolph William, Baron von Lützow), (May 18, 1782–December 6, 1834) was a Prussian lieutenant general notable for his organization and command of a Freikorps of volunteers during the Napoleonic Wars. ...

However, the meaning of the word has changed over time. After 1918, the term was used for the paramilitary organizations that sprang up around Germany as soldiers returned in defeat from World War I. They were the key Weimar paramilitary groups active during that time. Many German veterans felt disconnected from civilian life, and joined a Freikorps in search of stability within a military structure. Others, angry at their sudden, apparently inexplicable defeat, joined up in an effort to put down Communist uprisings or exact some form of revenge (see Dolchstoßlegende). They received considerable support from Minister of Defense Gustav Noske, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, who used them to crush the Marxist Spartacist League, including the summary execution of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg on 15 January 1919. They were also used to defeat the Bavarian Soviet Republic in 1919. Paramilitary designates forces whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military force, but which are not regarded as having the same status. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Paramilitary groups were formed throughout the Weimar Republic in the wake of Germanys defeat in World War I and the ensuing German Revolution. ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... Magazine title from 1924, example of a propaganda illustration in support of the legend The stab-in-the-back legend (German: Dolchstoßlegende, literally Dagger stab legend) refers to a social myth and persecution-propaganda theory popular in Germany in the period after World War I through World War II... Noske and Ebert Gustav Noske (July 9, 1868 - November 30, 1946) was a German administrator. ... SPD redirects here. ... Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... The Spartacist League (Spartakusbund in German) was a left-wing Marxist revolutionary movement organized in Germany during and just after the politically volatile years of World War I. It was founded by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg (nicknamed Red Rosa) along with others such as Clara Zetkin. ... â–¶ (help· info) (August 13, 1871 - January 15, 1919) was a German socialist and a co-founder of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany. ... Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg (March 5, 1870 or 1871 – January 15, 1919, in Polish Róża Luksemburg) was a Jewish Polish-born Marxist political theorist, socialist philosopher, and revolutionary. ... is the 15th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... The Bavarian Soviet Republic (Bayrische Räterepublik) — also known as the Munich Soviet Republic (Münchner Räterepublik) — was a short-lived revolutionary government in the German state of Bavaria in 1919 that sought to replace the fledgling Weimar Republic in its early days. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ...

Freikorps also fought in the Baltic, Silesia, and Prussia after the end of World War I, sometimes with significant success. After 1918, the term Freikorps was used for the paramilitary organizations that sprang up around German Empire as soldiers returned in defeat from World War I. It was one of the many Weimar paramilitary groups active during that time. ... The Silesian Uprisings (German: ; Polish: ) were a series of three armed uprisings of the Poles of Upper Silesia, from 1919–1921, against Weimar rule; the resistance hoped to break away from Germany in order to join the Second Polish Republic, which had been established in the wake of World War...

Though officially 'disbanded' in 1920, many Freikorps attempted, unsuccessfully, to overthrow the government in the Kapp Putsch in March 1920. Memorial for the suppression of the Kapp putsch in Wetter station The Kapp Putsch —or more accurately the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch —was an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic, based in opposition to the imposed Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I. It was branded right...

In 1920, Adolf Hitler had just begun his political career as the leader of the tiny and as-yet-unknown German Workers Party (soon renamed the National Socialist German Workers Party) in Munich. Numerous future members and leaders of the Nazi Party had served in the Freikorps, including Ernst Röhm, future head of the Sturmabteilung, or SA, and Rudolf Höß, the future Kommandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Hitler redirects here. ... For other uses, see Munich (disambiguation). ... The National Socialist German Workers Party, (German: , or NSDAP, commonly known as the Nazi Party), was a political party in Germany between 1919 and 1945. ... Ernst Julius Röhm, also known as Ernst Roehm in English (Munich November 28, 1887 – July 2, 1934) was a German military officer, and the commander and co-founder of the Nazi Sturmabteilung — the SA. // Röhm was one of three children of Julius Röhm and his wife Emilie... The seal of SA The  , abbreviated SA, (German for Storm division or Storm section, usually translated as stormtroop(er)s), functioned as a paramilitary organization of the NSDAP — the German Nazi party. ... Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Höß (in English commonly Hoess or Höss or rarely Hoeß; November 25, 1900; April 16, 1947) was an SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lt. ... Auschwitz (Konzentrationslager Auschwitz) was the largest of the Nazi German concentration camps. ...

Hermann Ehrhardt, founder and leader of Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, and his deputy Commander Eberhard Kautter, leaders of the Viking League, refused to help Hitler and Erich von Ludendorff in their Beer Hall Putsch and conspired against them. Hermann Ehrhardt (1881-1971) was a Freikorps commander during the period of turmoil in Germany from 1918 to 1920, he commanded the famous II.Marine Brigade, better known as the Ehrhardt Brigade or Marinebrigade Ehrhardt Born in 1881, he later joined the German Imperial navy and served as a Korvettenkapit... The Marinebrigade Ehrhardt was a Freikorps group of around 6,000 men formed by Korvettenkapitän Hermann Ehrhardt in the Aftermath of World War I, also known as II Marine Brigade or the Ehrhardt Brigade. ... General Erich Ludendorff Erich Ludendorff (sometimes given incorrectly as Erich von Ludendorff) (April 9, 1865 - December 20, 1937) was a German officer, noted as a general during World War I. Ludendorff was born near Posen, Prussia (now Poznań, Poland). ... The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed coup détat that occurred between the evening of Thursday, November 8 and the early afternoon of Friday, November 9, 1923, when the Nazi partys leader Adolf Hitler, the popular World War I General Erich Ludendorff, and other leaders of the Kampfbund...

The largest of all the Freikorps was the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, eventually disbanded by the Nazis and combined with the SA. The Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten (English: Steel Helmet, League of Frontline Soldiers) was one of the many paramilitary organizations that arose after the defeat of World War I in the Weimar Republic. ...

See also

Freikorps members:

Rudolf Berthold (1891-1920) was a German World War I flying ace. ... Martin Bormann Martin Bormann (June 17, 1900 - c. ... Wilhelm Franz Canaris (January 1, 1887 – April 9, 1945) was a German admiral and head of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, from 1935 to 1944. ... Friedrich Christiansen was a First World War German seaplane ace who shot down twenty planes and an airship. ... Kurt Daluege (September 15, 1897 – October 24, 1946) was an SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Generaloberst der Polizei, officer of the Central Reich Security Office (RSHA) and the governor of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia. ... Arthur Greiser (born January 22, 1897, in Schroda, Province of Posen, West Prussia (Środa, Poland); executed July 14, 1946, at Poznan, Poland) was a Nazi German politician . ... Wolf-Heinrich Graf von Helldorf (born 14 October 1896 in Merseburg, died 15 August 1944 in Berlin) was a German resistance fighter against the Nazi régime. ... Wilhelm Bodewin Johann Gustav Keitel (September 22, 1882–October 16, 1946) was a German field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) and a senior military leader during World War II. // Keitel was born in Helmscherode, Brunswick, German Empire, the son of Carl Keitel, a middle-class landowner, and his wife Apollonia Vissering. ... Manfred baron von Killinger (born 14 July 1886 on property Lindigt with Ketzerbachtal; died 2 September 1944 in Bucharest, suicide) was a German naval officer, Free Corps (Freikorps) leader, military writer, member of the Reichstag during the Weimar Republic (Reichstagsabgeordneter), National Socialist, politician, and diplomat. ... Wilhelm Friedrich Loeper (born 13 October 1883 in Schwerin; died 23 October 1935 in Dessau) was a Nazi politician and a Nazi Gauleiter in the Gau of Magdeburg-Anhalt. ... Josef “Beppo” Römer (November 17, 1892–September 2, 1944) was an anti-fascist Freikorps leader and KPD organizer. ... Ernst von Salomon (September 25, 1902 - August 9, 1972) was a German writer and one of the assassins of Walther Rathenau. ... Albert Leo Schlageter Albert Leo Schlageter (12 August 1894 — 26 May 1923) was a member of the German Freikorps and a Martyr-figure for the National Socialists. ... Julius Schreck in 1933 Julius Schreck (July 13, 1898 – May 16, 1936) was an early Nazi Party member and also the first commander of the Schutzstaffel (SS). ... Hugo Sperrle Hugo Sperrle (February 7, 1885 - April 2, 1953), was a German Field Marshal of the Luftwaffe during World War II. He joined the German Army in 1903 and transferred to the Luftstreitkräfte (German Army Air Service) at the start of World War I, serving as an observer... Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg (May 10, 1899, Eferding -March 15, 1956, Schruns; Ernst Rüdiger Fürst von Starhemberg until the 1919 abolition of nobility) was an Austrian Fascist and politician prior to World War II. Born in Eferding, Upper Austria, in 1899, von Starhemberg hailed... Gregor Strasser Gregor Strasser (variant German spelling Straßer) (May 31, 1892, Geisenfeld, Germany - June 30, 1934, Berlin) was a politician of the German Nazi Party (NSDAP). ...

External links

  • Axis History Factbook; Freikorps section – By Marcus Wendel and contributors;  site also contains an apolitical forum
  • Freikorps Master list on Axis History Forum {reference only}

  Results from FactBites:
First World War.com - Feature Articles - Munich (2092 words)
On the outskirts of the city the Freikorps' armoured train fired off a few salvoes to emphasise their proximity and the destructive powers they had at their disposal.
As early as 4 May it was clear as to the objective the Freikorps had in mind.
Hitler portrayed himself as a strong man – a man whose politics were 'fought' with the spirit of the trenches and, indeed, the spirit that the Freikorps used to defeat their ideological opponents.
Feldgrau :: Reichswehr - The Armed Forces 1918-1935 (691 words)
Freikorps units could consist of small groups of less than 100 men loosely thrown together along quasi-military lines to defender local areas, while others were divisional sized formations consisting of infantry, artillery, machine gun and motorized units, logistical support, engineers, and air power.
Freikorp units served as the basis for combating communist revolution across Germany, saw service in the Baltic region and fought the Poles along the eastern frontier defending against various Polish territorial incursions.
Many Freikorp units served partly or entirely as the basis of the Vorläufige Reichsheer which consisted of about 400,000 men in nearly 50 Brigade sized units.
  More results at FactBites »



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