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The Freikorps were a group of former soldiers who had fought in the First World War but due to the military restrictions placed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles were out of work. When they had been disbanded from the army when the war ended, many had simply held onto their weapons. Many of these former soldiers were still loyal to the Kaiser and supported right wing parties, meaning that they hated the communists. When the Spartacist Revolt broke out in 1919, they were organised by Ebert and told to suppress the uprising. After the Spartacist revolt there were about 250,000 Freikorp members.

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