Lützow Free Corps

Recruitment poster for the Lützow Free Corps by Leo Impekoven, 1919
Recruitment poster for the Lützow Free Corps by Leo Impekoven, 1919
German National Library, Signature: Nov.5.12

Lüt­zow Free Corps

The poster by the artist and stage designer Leo Impekoven (1873-1943) appealed to the collective memory of the Germans: it combined publicity for the Lützow Free Corps, founded in January 1919, with pictorial and linguistic references to the Free Corps from Lützow which fought in the liberation wars of 1813/1814.

After the end of the war in 1918, "free corps" were formed as volunteer associations from some of the troops which had returned to Germany. Before being officially dissolved in 1920 these corps were also used by the Council of the People's Deputies and the Reich government to suppress the November Revolution and the ensuing uprisings and unrest.

The soldier demonstratively offering the viewer a sabre is identified as a member of the Lützow Free Corps by his black uniform and shako. This is also underlined by the quotation from the refrain of the poem "Lützows wilde Jagd" ("Lützow's Wild Hunt") by Theodor Körner, who was killed in 1813 as a rifleman of the Lützow Free Corps ("This is Lutzow's wild, reckless hunt"). The only connection between the two free corps of 1813 and 1919 lay in the shared name of the founders. Here, however, it was cleverly deployed to legitimise serving in the Lützow Free Corps in order to "rescue the fatherland".

Further information:
Arnulf Scriba, Freikorps, in: Lebendiges Museum Online, Revolution 1918/19, 11.09.2017