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Hermann Ehrhardt (x) during the Kapp-Putsch in Berlin 1920

Hermann Ehrhardt (29 November 1881 – 27 September 1971) was a German Freikorps commander during the period of turmoil in Weimar Republic Germany from 1918 to 1920, he commanded the famous II.Marine Brigade, better known as the Ehrhardt Brigade or Marinebrigade Ehrhardt.

Born in Diersburg, now part of Hohberg, Baden-Württemberg, he later joined the German Imperial Navy and served as a Korvettenkapitän. A strong opponent of the Treaty of Versailles, he developed strong monarchist views. During the period after the defeat of the German Empire, Ehrhardt formed the II.Marine Brigade.

Holding the rank of Korvettenkapitän, his army equivalent rank was only that of a major, yet he still commanded a force of around 6,000 men. His force fought in north-west Germany, central Germany, Upper Silesia,[1] and Bavaria and participated in the unsuccessful Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch of 1920, afterwards he fled Germany, but later returned. In Bavaria, which was ruled by Gustav von Kahr at that time,[2] he formed the Organisation Consul,[3] and later the Viking Bund, a secret military society.[4]

During the Beer Hall Putsch, Ehrhardt and his deputy commander Eberhard Kautter refused to have the league help Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party. Ehrhardt would later unsuccessfully contest the leadership with Hitler, but unlike their commander, most of Ehrhardt's men joined the Nazi Party.

Ehrhardt was one of those listed to die during the Night of the Long Knives but he managed to escape[5] to Austria. He was later invited back to Nazi Germany.[6] He died in 1971 in Krems an der Donau.

Notes

  1. Silesia - Waite, p 150
  2. Large, p 139
  3. Waite, p 213
  4. Waite, p 204
  5. Waite, p 279
  6. Waite, p 279

Bibliography

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