|March 27th, 2014||#1|
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Organisation Consul (OC)
Hermann Ehrhardt, here in 1920 during the Kapp Putsch in Berlin.
Organisation Consul (OC), 1920-1922
The Organisation Consul, also called "Black Reichswehr", built in 1920 after the failed Kapp Putsch as a successor organization to the Marine Brigade Ehrhardt. The the Freikorps leader Hermann Ehrhardt (1881-1971) under paramilitary secret society was oriented right-wing and nationalistic, and working toward a violent destruction of the Weimar Republic. He presented a military-run organization with around 5,000 members, whose headquarters was in Munich. From the Organisation Consul numerous acts of political violence went out in the early Weimar Republic. Maybe she was already behind the assassination of the Bavarian USPD deputies Karl Gareis (1890-1921). Secured is their responsibility for the killings at the former Finance Minister Matthias Erzberger (1875-1921) and at the AEG-industrialist and Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau (1867-1922) and for the attempted murder at the Kassel mayor and former Prime Minister Philipp Scheidemann (1865-1939). Through the Republic Protection Act of 21 July 1922 prohibited the organization persisted in subsequent years as New German federal government and as a covenant Wiking.
Formation and development of the Organisation Consul
The "in the semi-darkness licensed illegality" (Gotthard Jasper) working Organisation Consul (OC) was a "Janus-faced entity" (Susanne Meinl) of the German post-war period after 1918. The organization ran both as a covert military organization with connivance of the imperial government, the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty and worked on the other as a terrorist organization by the German counter-revolution to the fall of the Weimar Republic through. It was after the failed Kapp Putsch Lüttwitz March 1920 at the instigation of officers of the disbanded Ehrhardt Brigade formed, the commander Hermann Ehrhardt (1881-1971), the arrest by fleeing to the "cell of order" Bayern had withdrawn.
A written charter, the "foreign race" explicitly excluded, made the "resolute national collection of men" to the task to make impossible by setting up a national government, the return of the present-day conditions. In this sense, the statute wrote the members of the Organisation Consul, "to combat anti-everything and international, of Judaism, of social democracy and the radical left-wing parties" before. Your Personnel backbone made 35 to 120 man strong "working groups" who were as intact cells of the dissolved Ehrhardt Brigade in the northeast and south of Germany rural shelter. Furthermore inlet was named after an assumed name of their submerged leader Ehrhardt Organisation Consul of units of the German Navy in the North Sea and in Flensburg, in which the able-bodied marine officers of the brigade had been taken over.
Under the benevolent toleration by the Munich police chief Ernst Pöhner (1870-1925) and disguised as "Bavarian wood-recycling society", coordinated the actual organization-Consul headquarters in Munich-Schwabing (Trautenwolfstr. 8) Since December 1920, the activities of their to protect Head Office at the Dekonspiration into districts divided local groups with the aim to repeat the failed coup in March 1920 right with better preparation. The de facto head of the Organisation Consul took Ehrhardt's chief of staff Alfred Hoffmann (1890-1933), under whose command in the Munich headquarters four rods together with about 30 salaried officers worked to develop the secret society to effective political and military weapon. Around mid-1921 commanded the secret society that financed his activities inter alia through arms smuggling and trafficking (including the Irish Republican Army), a staff strength of putatively at least 5,000 men, which should be ready to march at alarm within a few hours.
The paramilitary force of the secret society was during the 3rd Polish uprising (May 1921) visible when organization-Consul-members came together from all over the empire to assist in its own assault company of the Upper Silesian self-protection in the suppression of the rebellion fomented by the Polish side. Following the Organisation Consul was preparing to ward off further uprisings and with the financial support of the Foreign Office for the establishment of a separate regiment of 2,000 men, which should be expanded, if necessary, on the strength of a division. To this end, the Organisation Consul made contacts with other paramilitary organizations such as the SA and established a branch organization for the recruitment of Austrian volunteer in Vienna.
Detection and reorganization of the secret society after the Erzberger murder in 1921
The public learned of the existence of the Organisation Consul after the attack on the former Finance Minister Matthias Erzberger ( Centre , 1875-1921). Erzberger was on 26 August 1921 have been persecuted and killed during a recovery vacation in the Black Forest by two men. The immediate bombers could evade the police access by fleeing to Hungary. The law enforcement agencies was extensive incriminating evidence in their hands. This rich wide extension and internal organizational structure of working with encrypted instructions and couriers secret society was exposed. Moreover fast access succeeded in the arrest of a part of the Munich line rod so that the Organisation Consul regardless of the discrete support they by the police and influential politicians in Bavaria as George Home ( BVP enjoyed, 1865-1938), excavated for and are smashed could.
In fact, the Organisation Consul reorganized underground amazingly quickly. At the same time Offenburg prosecutor prepared the indictment against the military head of the Organisation Consul, Manfred von Killinger before (1886-1944), and other members of the Munich headquarters for murder and secret societies. As a legal successor to a New German Confederation was founded in Munich. This should speed up Ehrhardt effort to infiltrate other paramilitary groups of German rights and their collection under his leadership and based mainly on the association of nationally minded soldiers. As the public face of the renewed Organisation Consul served a magazine Wiking specially created. At the same time a domestic "intelligence service" was built, who regarded himself as a secret replacement of the banned by the Allied defenses and successfully for connections to the Reichswehr tried.
The provocation theory and the assassinations of Scheidemann and Rathenau
In parallel, the Organisation Consul also renewed their terrorist wings to both for the case of a foreign policy conflict ("Plan A") as to be for a domestic crisis ("Plan B") prepared to take power. Ehrhardt's strategy was based on the experience of the failed Kapp Putsch. A legal coup could succeed only view if it was possible to draw the Reichswehr on your page. Ehrhardt's plans involved not to initiate the planned coup on their own, but to create a situation in which the national government would seek from external or internal political oppression itself out for the assistance of Ehrhardt troops. The Organisation Consul hoped as Freikorps underground on a renewed Polish uprising in the demilitarized plebiscite area of Upper Silesia to only representative of the Reichswehr knock him down and then use this to march on Berlin.
As a secret society, the organization pursued inside at the same time a "provocation strategy", which called for the release of an uprising from the left. Meanwhile, successful control in the service of the Reich Government would then use it to overthrow it and the the Republic. For this purpose, prepared the Organisation Consul for the summer of 1922 a series of bomb attacks, which were perpetrated by mobile terror squads in northern and eastern Germany. At the beginning of the series of attacks a cyanide attack on the Kassel mayor and former Minister President was Philipp Scheidemann (1865-1939) on 4 June 1922 in a forest near Kassel. Scheidemann survived because the wind drove the poison gas. In response to the failure of the assassination plan, the organization-Consul-group changed their approach for the subsequent assassination of the German Foreign Minister and AEG-industrialist Walther Rathenau (1867-1922). Rathenau was born on 24 June 1922 shot in his automobile when he was on his way from his home in Berlin-Grunewald to the Foreign Office.
The prohibition of the Organisation Consul 1922
A continuation of the series of murders was prevented by the government crackdown. Two Republic Protection Regulations (26 and 29 June 1922) and subsequent Republic Protection Act (July 21, 1922) banned along with other right-wing organizations and the Organisation Consul, and laid their organizational structure by rapid search successes lame so far that a continuation of the provocation strategy could be prevented. A connection attempt against the journalist Maximilian Harden (1861-1927) on 3 July 1922 did not go back to the Organisation Consul, but was perpetrated by right-wing free-riders. To successfully overcome the series of murders triggered by the political crisis also contributed significantly disciplined in the whole behavior of the Left and of the nationwide protest. This was not aimed at the overthrow, but to the strengthening of the Weimar Republic and its government, contrary to the expectations of the organization-Consul Guide.
Legal Findings and policy orientation
The judicial processing of the series of murders in front of the newly formed state court to protect the Republic in Leipzig put the nationwide network only, out of which both attacks had been perpetrated, and penalized the participation in two assassination attempts with some long-term prison sentences. The question of the responsibility of the Organisation Consul left the State Supreme Court, however, open and referred her own secret societies process, the opening of which, however, lasted a long time. Although the first again escaped Organisation Consul-chief Ehrhardt was arrested in November 1922 in Munich, but was able in July 1923 with the help of its own people again to escape from custody.
Ehrhardt founded on a concept power elite Wehrbund position in the German right-wing radicalism went against the putting on mass agitation Rally Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) and its - originally founded with the support of the Organisation Consul - SA continuously lost. In November since 1923 , the previous at the Bavarian-Thuringian border to march on Berlin in position Ehrhardt organization (was "Bund Wiking" ) passive because Hitler repeated in Ehrhardt's eyes the fundamental strategic error of the March coup in 1920 and had missed an integration of the Reichswehr. Ehrhardt's subsequent efforts to find a collection of the "patriotic movement" under his leadership were based personnel and organization on the model of a contrite in the summer of 1922, Organisation Consul, but zeitigten after the end of the Ruhr crisis and hyperinflation no notable successes more.
The legal treatment of the "Org" complex took place only in 1924. She was clearly in a judicial character, which did not want to frustrate by the stabilization of the Republic, that they put the foreign policy compromising involvement of public authorities in the illegal rearmament of the "Black Reichswehr" open. The accused organization-Consul members benefited from a national consensus of silence, who honored their "patriotic motives" with quite diffractive acquittals. So was prevented over the period of the Weimar Republic and abroad, that the supporting role of the secret society came first pioneered in the time of the German counter-revolution from 1920 to 1923 to the attention of the contemporary public.
Ehrhardt himself assumed his military organization after the Nazi seizure of power, Hitler and retired to private life. During the Rohm affair in 1934 at risk of persecution, he evaded to Switzerland and went in 1936 to Austria in Brunn am Wald (market Lichtenau in the forest district, the district of Krems, Lower Austria) to manage a family farm until his death in 1971 by law enforcement to remain unmolested.
Organisation Consul (OC) successor in April 1920 to the Brigade Ehrhardt. Of the several Wehrverbände formed in response to the dissolution of the Freikorps, OC was especially infamous.
Organized by Hermann Ehr-hardt, OC made Munich its home since Ehrhardt (alias Consul Eichmann) was wanted by north German authorities for his part in the Kapp Putsch.
Widely tolerated in Bavaria, OC was elitist and militarily well trained. Hoping to sustain a radical Freikorps spirit, Ehrhardt focused less on creating a group of men devoted to him than on generating a corps of leaders capable of infiltrating other organizations.
Because Ehrhardt was persona non grata, OC was supervised by Alfred Hoffmann, while its military affairs were administered by Manfred von Killinger. Ernst von Salomon served as adjutant.
Although OC never exceeded five thousand men, the fact that other former Freikorps units were identified with it led officials to assume that it was far larger. Subordinate to its Munich office were thirteen Gauleiter (regional leaders), responsible for organizing and training auxiliary units.
Persevering during 1921-1922 with military training in both Bavaria and Silesia, OC participated in the Upper Silesian campaign of May 1921. (As the Versailles Treaty prohibited Reichswehr troops from entering the province, paramilitary activity in Silesia enjoyed the tacit support of the Weimar regime.)
While Femegericht was associated with several Freikorps successor groups, the term is especially associated with OC. As its goals included the "fomentation of internal unrest in order to attain the overthrow of the antinationalist Weimar Constitution," OC adopted assassination as its favored means of pro-voking unrest.
On 9 June 1921 members of OC shot and killed Karl Gareis, leader of Bavaria's USPD. Its first renowned target, former Economics Minister Matthias Erzberger, was murdered on 26 August 1921 in the Black Forest. Following this crime, the assassins were smuggled into Hungary.
When the Baden police implicated OC in their investigation, Ehrhardt renamed the group Neudeutscher Bund (New German League). Its aspirations remained unchanged.
In the summer of 1922 Neudeutscher Bund attacked Philipp Scheidemann and Maximilian Harden and assassinated Walther Rathenau. Ehrhardt disappeared after these "triumphs," and the organization was again disguised with a new name, Bund Wiking (Viking League).
Although twenty members of Bund Wiking were brought to trial in 1924, the indictment was membership in a secret military association rather than murder.
In 1926 Carl Severing, Prussian Interior Minister, ordered the League's dissolution as an unlawful organization. Not only did Bund Wiking ignore Severing, it brought suit against him in an attempt to establish the illegality of his order (with twisted logic, it argued that the Republican Reichsbanner was also illegal).
The courts upheld Severing; however, the League failed to act until Ehrhardt published the following in the 27 April 1928 Vossische Zeitung: "Captain Ehrhardt has dissolved Bund Wiking throughout the Reich. The reason is that he is convinced that there is no future in power politics."
REFERENCES- Diehl, Paramilitary Politics; Howard Stern, "Organisation Consul"; Waite, Vanguard of Nazism.
The Accused in the Rathenau Trial (October 13, 1922)
Terror from the Right:
Revolutionary Terrorism and the Failure of the Weimar Republic
The most infamous organization and the one responsible for the most significant assassinations was the Organization Consul (OC). The OC was founded by Captain Hermann Ehrhardt, a Freikorps leader, coup plotter, and popular luminary of the extreme Right. Erhardt reasoned that the only way to destroy the Weimar government was to convince the lower classes that the government was incapable of representing their interests and thus provoke another wave of revolution in Germany. Such chaos would, Erhardt believed, unite right-wing elements behind a national dictator. The OC acted to spark this revolution by systematically murdering key Weimar politicians and leftist figures.19 OC member and popular author Ernst von Salomon actually named the targets: "Scheidemann, Rathenau, Zeigner, Lipinski, Cohn, Ebert and all the men of November [November Revolution of 1918] must be killed. Then we shall see whether or not there are uprisings in the Red Army, the Independent Socialist party, and the Communist party."20 The official face of the OC was carefully constructed to meet the legal requirements for a political organization in the new democracy. The OC constitution admitted its goals included "struggling against . . . internationalism, Judaism, Social Democracy and radical leftist parties," but so did countless other organizations and political parties. The OC also declared that it would struggle against the Weimar constitution "in word and speech."21 Weimar authorities knew the game the OC and a host of similar organizations played, but they lacked both the political will and resources to stop them.
19 Founded in Bavaria, the OC enjoyed legal protection and even financial resources from a sympathetic government.22 Bavaria was a hot bed of right-wing extremism, and it was no secret that the government and local military units supported the efforts of the OC and dozens of other paramilitary organizations wholeheartedly. The president of Bavaria, Gustav Ritter von Kahr, openly despised the Weimar government in Berlin and identified with upstart leaders like Adolf Hitler and Hermann Ehrhardt. Munich served essentially as a secure base where radicals could plot freely against the government.23 Kahr even protected extremists who were wanted for crimes in other parts of Germany. He and the German military forces in Bavaria acted as state sponsors of terrorism because they provided groups like the OC and the NSDAP with political, financial, and military support. As is the case for many more recent terrorist organizations, state-sponsorship (or at the very least, benign neglect) facilitated the extremists’ terrorist acts.
20 The OC was a tightly organized, hierarchical organization directed by Erhardt and a handful of others comprising the "Munich Central." Below the Central were 13 "gauleiters" responsible for recruiting and supervising local cells. Cells formed wherever possible. The Weimar government estimated that the total strength of the OC was approximately 5,000 members.24 In addition to murdering politicians, the OC, like the Freikorps, meted out swift punishment against members suspected of collaborating with the authorities or in any way betraying the secrets of the organization, specifically the dozens of weapons caches hidden throughout Germany. This punishment, which sometimes included death, was administered by ad hoc tribunals comprising extremists. The so-called "Feme courts" were modeled after medieval courts that administered swift and violent justice.25 The fact that the OC was both diffuse and highly organized indicates it operated with relative impunity. Organizations like the OC existed on several planes, only one of which was secretive and conspiratorial. Extremist groups regularly published newspapers and held rallies against the Weimar government, but the core members actually performed the terrorist acts.
21 The assassination that had the greatest impact was that of Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau. The aftermath of the act, which involved no less than five members of the OC, revealed the extent to which anti-Weimar and specifically anti-Semitic sentiment had become popular in Germany. Rathenau was from a powerful and historically important Jewish family. Intensely patriotic, Rathenau was responsible for organizing Germany’s industrial resources and managing its war economy during the First World War. However, his selection as foreign minister confirmed the worst fears of the extreme Right. German racists believed that Jews were responsible for destroying Germany and perceived Rathenau as someone who would deliver Germany on a silver platter to the hated international forces of communism and capitalism. In June 1922, Rathenau was gunned down on his way to work by two assassins. Most Germans were not surprised by the murder, and a significant number celebrated. In the six months since he had assumed the post, German students had begun a popular chant: "Strike down Walther Rathenau/ The God-damned Jewish sow!" After his murder the chant was altered: "Someone struck down Walther Rathenau/Hurrah! When is the next Jewish pig?"26 Alarmingly, more respectable voices shared in this joy. Thomas Mann recalled hearing an eminent professor rejoicing in the prospect of "one less Jew." Nobel prize-winning physics professor Philip Lenard told his students that they could not observe Rathenau’s burial and be "idle on account of a dead Jew."27
22 Although Rathenau’s murder sent shockwaves throughout Germany, it failed to provoke the revolution sought by the extreme Right. However, the long-term effects were significant because it was the first time in the four years of political violence that a Jew in a prominent position was murdered for being just that. The murder was more shocking than those of Luxemburg and Liebknecht because Rathenau was a well-respected politician with an international reputation. His crime was his race and his role in trying to legitimize the Weimar government abroad. Other politicians labeled as "November criminals," a reference to Germans who accepted the hated Peace of Versailles, suffered Rathenau’s fate. Matthias Erzberger, a well-respected Catholic politician and leader of the moderate Center Party, had been murdered in 1921. Historian Carole Fink maintains that the murder of Walther Rathenau "foretold not only the destruction of the Weimar Republic but also the threat to the existence of the Jews of Germany and Europe."28
23 The Weimar government responded to the wave of political violence by banning organizations like the OC, but this was generally ineffective, as paramilitary groups simply re-surfaced with different names, organizational charts, and constitutions. The government created new law enforcement organizations like the Reich Commissioner for the Surveillance of Public Order and passed a host of laws to entangle groups in court and drain their resources.29 Left-wing critics also mobilized and attempted to counteract the extremists by properly labeling them in the public mind as terrorists. Journalist Emil Julius Gumbel exposed the blatant favoritism German judges showed right-wing defendants in contrast to those on the Left. Gumbel also analyzed the ideology and motivation behind the perpetrators. Gumbel noted, "The organization’s extremist attitudes lead them to believe that by killing one’s political opponent, one can thereby do away with the ideas he stands for." Gumbel also highlighted the role youth played as "terrorists" and lamented that they truly believed they were acting in the tradition of Brutus by killing the "few Republicans that Germany possesses."
The grave of Hermann Fischer and Erwin Kern in Berlin.
The Anti-Semitism Behind the Assassination of Walther Rathenau
|April 3rd, 2014||#3|
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