Order had collapsed in Germany in 1919, after the end on the First World War.
Now, in 1919, the boot was on the other foot.
The German Army had lost the war, but it wanted the blame for the resultant peace terms to fall on civilian politicians. A Social Democrat led coalition government was formed which had the unenviable task of agreeing the Allied terms. The country was broke, and many people were starving.
The Army tried to have it both ways. In the event of refusal to accept the Allied terms an Allied invasion was in immediate prospect.
General Hindenburg advised the Government “We cannot count on repelling a determined attack by our enemies” but avoided the responsibility himself by saying. “ As a soldier, I would perish with honour rather than sign a humiliating peace”.
The Social Democrat led Government faced an even more immediate threat, an attempt to seize power, similar to that in Russia two years earlier, by a group calling for all power to be handed over to soldiers and workers councils on the Soviet model. There were mutinies in the armed forces and the elected Government lacked the means to assert its authority.
So the Social Democrat led Government had to turn to irregular forces, drawn from people who had little sympathy with the Government, but who wanted, even more so, to prevent a Soviet style revolution. Thus the Freikorps were born.
This book gives a very good insight into two turbulent years of German history. It explains some of the present day antipathy between Social Democrats and Communists in Germany.
It also throws light n the chaotic, violent, and unstable state of mind, brought about by the suffering and brutalisation imposed by Great War, that existed between 1919 and 1921 all over Europe, including in Ireland.