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Welch Regiment

Freikorps memoir?

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Welch Regiment

Dear all,

I'm trying to locate a quote I encountered some years ago on a dubious (i.e. untra right-wing) website about the Freikorps and anti-bolshevism in 1918-21. I suppose the quote was from the inter-war memoir of someone who became involved with the Freikorps. I can't remember the exact wording, but the sentiment was that returning soldiers brought the violence of the war home with them as 'unfinished business', that the civil population was naive to expect otherwise and that Freikorps behaviour was a direct continuation of their experience in the Imperial Army. I seem to remember the writer used a phrase like 'we were the war', but I may be mistaken.

Anyone recognise this? I'd be very grateful for a source.


that should be 'ultra' obviously :)

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David Filsell

There is little in English on the Freikorps and much of what there is pretty poor - particularly that on the fruitier of the fruitcake sites.I have never seen a quote upon which the believe the comment based although most of the elements of which you note can be accepted easily and crop in German writing about the post war period - except the public were naïve in expecting any thing else. Equally the Freikorps drew in a large number of young men who had not served at the front or even served all

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Welch Regiment

Thanks David,

I'd like to find the quote as it perfectly illustrates the context of the Neue Sachlichkeit painters like Beckmann and Dix. There's a small show of Dix prints on WW1 subjects on at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill currently, which is what brought the issue to mind. (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_%28painting%29).

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MartH

Hi, My Mission in Finland and the Baltic by Rüdiger von der Goltz has been translated into English by Peter Kalnin and is available in a kindle format on amazon for £5.00. The last chapters cover the Freikorps.

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trajan

...I can't remember the exact wording, but the sentiment was that returning soldiers brought the violence of the war home with them as 'unfinished business',

The quote was in English?

Not an entirely stupid question as it could have been taken from German - e.g., there is a book Unerledigte Einsichten: der Journalist und Schriftsteller Horst Stern; also there is Die Freikorps in der Weimarer Republik: Freiheitskämpfer oder Landsknechthaufen? Wikkide. gives the German equivalent as being present in both...

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David Filsell

I'm sure that most soldiers did not bring back violence back with them. Oublished accounts indicate that the vast majority had not only seen too much of it and were aware that they had been beaten in the field. (see After War, Ludwig Renn), Another theme of German writing on the topic is the number of young men who joined the FK who had not served and wanted to make up for it. Others were of course politically motivated and their main concern, initially, was the nibbling away a German territory.. The link with the NSDAP is there of course, but often over emphasised.

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Frank_East

Not aware of the quote.There must have been many,all designed to prove their worth. However,looking at the background to the oraganisation,the Freikorps took their name from the voluntary force formed by a Major Lutzow in 1813,as a nucleus of a German Army to win liberation from Napoleon.

After the defeat of Germany in 1918,the Freikorps,separate groups normally named after their founder,were created and attracted the likes of former officers,returning soldiers,military adventurers,zealous nationalists,and the young unemployed.Overall the groups were organised by Kurt von Schleicher, a future Chancellor and victim of the Hitler's "Night of the Long Knives" in the summer of 1934.The Freikorps were right wing in their political outlook,blaming the Social Democrats and the Jews for Germany's downfall,calling for the elimination of the "Traitors of the Fatherland",the ones who had signed the Armistice and the Versailles Peace Treaty.Later after the formation of the Reichwehr,remmants of the Freikorps were involved in attacks on the officials of the Weimer Republic.

In 1919,the Allies sanctioned the involvement of Freikorps units against the Bolsheviks in Lithuania and Latvia.Hindenburg initially accepted their worth but the obnoxious behaviour of these volunteers caused resentment to the old military clique.They were active in the dismantling,by force of soldiers and worker's councils in Bavaria and from this, attracted right wing elements.

With the formation of the NSDAP SA,a natural home appeared for many of the Freikorps but when Himmler's SS was formed in 1929 many left the SA to join the new elite.By the summer of 1934,the SA had been relegated in its importance to the NSDAP and the SS reigned supreme.

Harold J Gordon's The Reichswehr and the German Republic 1919-1926 Princeton University Press 1956 might be a source for a further insight.

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