A Brief History of the Birth of the Nazis is a timely and concise history of the Freikorps, the voluntary paramilitary groups that dominated German political life from the abdication of the Kaiser in 1918 to Hitler's Beerhall Putsch of 1923. Theirs is an often overlooked story of political intrigue and murder. Raised in the chaotic aftermath of war, the Freikorps were composed mostly of veteran soldiers, embittered and out of place in civilian life, and young, right-wing students determined to crush those forces who had "betrayed" their homeland. First used by the Social Democrats in power to defeat their enemies on the extreme left in Berlin and Bavaria, they soon launched a counteroffensive in which the Freikorps all but overturned the State in their attempt to set up a full-blown Fascist military government. Once thwarted, however, the disgruntled Freikorps embarked on a campaign of political murder; their leaders retired briefly to Bavaria, where they came under the influence of the little-known but rising political agitator Adolf Hitler. The ideology of the Friekorps was adopted, almost unmodified, by the Nazis, who, fittingly, marked their arrival in 1934 with the massacre of many former Freikorps members. Photographs are included.
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