Agnes Smedley describes the Freikorps (1923)


Agnes Smedley was an American journalist who lived in Weimar Germany during the early 1920s. Here she writes to a friend in August 1923, describing the activities of the Freikorps:

“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.”