General von Lüttwitz issues an ultimatum demanding that the Reichspräsident rescind his order directing the Freikorps to disband. He also demands early elections for the office of Reichspräsident and for the Reichstag. On the following day, General von Lüttwitz is discharged.
[Overesch/Saal, p. 93]
A libel action brought by Finance Minister Matthias Erzberger against DNVP politician Karl Helfferich, who claimed Erzberger was mixing his private interests and professional activities, ends in a mild sentence for the defendant, Helfferich. The court also confirms that the substance of the accusations was true in part. On the same day, Erzberger resigns from his office as Finance Minister.
This signifies victory for the right-wing forces, who saw Erzberger as a “November criminal” and an advocate of Erfüllungspolitik.
[Kolb, p. 39]
A group of right-wing extremist putsch troops led by Prussian civil servant Wolfgang Kapp and Officer Walther von Lüttwitz, who is referred to as the “Father of the Freikorps”, attempt to seize power. Via the deployment of the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, the putsch leaders manage to oust the Reich government from Berlin, to bring Berlin under their control, and to appoint Kapp as the new Reichskanzler. Within the Reichswehr, General Walther Reinhardt is the only person to put up resolute resistance against the coup. Head of the Truppenamt (general staff) General Hans von Seeckt rules out Reichswehr intervention with the famous statement “troops do not shoot at other troops”. The Putsch fails nevertheless. This is mainly because of the general strike, resistance of the workers, and the “wait-and-see” strategy of the ministerial bureaucracy, which refuses to obey the putsch leaders’ orders. On 17 March, Kapp and Lüttwitz are forced to leave Berlin and to end the uprising.
[Kolb, pp. 40-41]
March - April
Workers’ groups formed over the course of the Kapp Putsch remain active even after the Putsch is over and provoke unrest for their part. Indeed, the self-protection organizations of workers in Saxony and Thuringia target the Freikorps and Reichswehr groups and in the Ruhr Valley, workers form a “Red Army”. The government deploys the Freikorps and Reichswehr, who have demonstrated their questionable loyalty during the Kapp Putsch, in order to bring the situation under control. This is only achieved after skirmishes lasting several weeks, brutally fought on both sides.
[Kolb, pp. 41-42]
The extreme right decides that further coups are futile as long as the Reichswehr remains neutral. Subsequently, therefore, various secret societies are founded that attempt to destabilize the republic by means of politically motivated murders, also called Feme murders. For example, the Organization Consul (O.C.) is founded in 1920, whose members primarily come from the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt. The Organization is responsible for numerous attacks on Weimar politicians.
[Wirsching, pp. 12-13]