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 sus-tain 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 en-tering 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 "fomenta-tion 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 Min-ister, 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 es-tablish the illegality of his order (with twisted logic, it argued that the Repub-lican 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.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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