Formation of the Freikorps, mid-April 1919

The Freikorps were voluntary militia associations outside the army, mainly recruited from demobilised soldiers. The Reich government, which had emerged from the revolution in November 1918, set up Freikorps units on the basis of a new law from December 1918. The Bavarian government rejected this law until April 1919, since it wanted to avoid civil war. Only after the failed "Palmsonntagsputsch" in Munich and after the first successes of the "Red Army" Prime Minister Johannes Hoffmann (1867-1930) revised this position. His cabinet now permitted the rapid establishment of Bavarian Freikorps associations and of a People’s Army. In collaboration with the Reich government, Hoffmann planned the military suppression of the Soviet Republics and the restoration of the authority of the democratically elected government in Bavaria.

A special case was the Freikorps Epp, led by the Bavarian colonel and later National Socialist politician Franz Ritter von Epp (1868-1947). After the ban in Bavaria, he had formed the Freikorps in Ohrdruf in Thuringia back in February 1919. Same as other Freikorps associations, the Freikorps Epp was a gathering place of radical nationalists and adherents of the racial movement. Rudolf Heß (1894-1987), Ernst Röhm (1887-1934) and the brothers Gregor (1892-1934) and Otto Strasser (1897-1974) were future NS greats represented in Epp's units.

In mid-April the Freikorps was renamed "Bayerisches Schützenkorps" (Bavarian Rifle Corps) and began recruiting members in Bavaria. One example of this campaign is the flyer from Bamberg, which states as its goal to become a "truly active force for the protection of the government, of home, of culture, of women and children" and is also aimed at recruiting students and high school students. Here, the Freikorps Epp is also called "Freikorps Franken" (Freikorps Franconia). On 22 April, Epp and his 1,000-strong militia moved towards Munich.

Freikorps soldiers often wore a uniform tunic, many of them also armbands. With this white-and-blue brassard, its wearer distinguished himself as a member of the department (detachment) of the Freikorps-Group Denk formed in Franconia.

To the digitised copy of advertisement for the Freikorps Epp

To the digitised copy of the brassard of the Freikorps-Group Denk