was broken.’’ 1 As traditions and authority were swept away, collapse and defeat exacerbated the di Y culties of ‘‘psychological demobilization,’’ leaving many soldiers unable to return to peacetime normalcy, which younger recruits had indeed never known as adults. As the fronts around Germany buckled and civil unrest gripped the unstable new Republic’s cities, individual soldiers looked to action, any action, to redeem this inner crisis. They organized themselves into hundreds of ‘‘Free Corps’’ units, each owing alliegance only to its commander. New National De- fense Minister Gustav Noske authorized the units on January 4, 1919, impressed by a volunteer formation he reviewed at a camp outside Berlin, underwriting a process already far advanced. These Freikorps, together with the conservative o Y cer caste, would become the embattled Repub- lic’s defenders, helping Noske quell the radical socialists. This fratricidal duty earned Noske his nickname – ‘‘Bloodhound.’’ Such odd cooper- ation began the night after the events of November 9, when Ludendor V ’s successor Groener called the Republic’s new president. His pledge that the army would support the government by keeping order was exchanged for implicit promises that the o Y cer class’s status and the army’s struc- ture would not be remade or abolished in revolutionary reforms. Reassur- ed, the army worked for a retreat in good order back from the fronts. In the East, volunteers were called for ‘‘border guard’’ units to shield the evacuation of troops. In the months that followed, some hurried to con X icts erupting on Germany’s borders, while other Freikorps units took to the cities, crushing workers’ revolts. The most driven and desper- ate men refused to put themselves in service to democracy at home and instead trekked beyond the borders out to the ‘‘Eastland,’’ leaving the new Germany far behind. They were joined by German students and other adolescents too young to have served in the army during the war.