On 28 March 1945 Hitler ordered the formation of a free corps to be composed of very loyal (or rather fanatical) NSDAP members, a Freikorps Adolf Hitler. The command of this unit was given to Reichsarbeitsführer Dr. Robert Ley who also came with the idea. It was supposed to have units all over Germany but as far as is known little came of it though some may have fought in Berlin as anti-tank troops.

Dr. Josepth Goebbels wrote about the plans in his diary:

27 March 1945: “Dr. Ley, who has just returned from a trip to Wien and the Niederdonau, pays me a visit to report. He is pretty well knocked out and is thoroughly rattled by recent developments particularly in the West. Four days ago he was writing in Angriff that the crisis in the West was acting as a healthy restorative. The remark created a considerable public sensation. I reproach him with it. Now he pretends to know nothing about it. He wants to go to the Führer and ask his permission to form a Freikorps of courageous Party members. This Freikorps would undoubtedly be an undisciplined horde and I know in advance that the Führer will refuse permission if only for this reason. In other respects Ley's proposals for dealing with our present emergency are extraordinarily naive, though they are evidence of goodwill. Ley has become somewhat hysterical under the impact of recent developments. It shows that he is not a naturally strong personality. He is only strong when there is some external cause to be so. Moreover he oscillates like a windsock when time are serious and critical.”28 March 1945: “Dr. Ley has been to the Führer and submitted to him the question of formation of... the ‘Freikorps Adolf Hitler’ [to] be composed of activists formed into tank-destroyer units equipped with [Panzerfäuste], assault guns and bicycles. In itself the idea is good but I would not expect the Führer to entrust the command of such a Corps to Dr. Ley. By his last published articles he has forfeited all credibility. In it he referred to the front and the air war in terms of such total cynicism that one could only shudder. Ley wants to talk to me on the question of formation of the Freikorps. I shall give him my opinion quite frankly. In any case the Freikorps idea must be given better and more solid publicity support than can get done by Dr. Ley.”30 March 1945: “... the Führer's view is that Dr. Ley is a real fanatic and that, within certain limitations, he can be useful for tasks requiring fanaticism. This was why he had entrusted him with formation of the 'Adolf Hitler Freikorps'.” (1)

Commanders

Reichsarbeitsführer Dr. Robert Ley

Footnotes

1. "Final Entries 1945: The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels", edited by Hugh Trevor-Roper.

Sources used

Research by Michael Miller
John R. Angolia & Adolf Schlicht - Die Deutsche Wehrmacht: Uniformierung und Ausrüstung 1933 - 1945
Hugh Trevor-Roper (ed.) - Final Entries 1945: The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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