Back in his homeland, Dirlewanger wasn’t content to simply return to a peaceful civilian life. So it perhaps suited him that post-war Germany was being torn apart by conflict between right-wingers and communists, with the latter intent on instigating a revolution.
Dirlewanger was a rightist, and not just an armchair one. He now joined the Freikorps, an extreme right-wing organization dedicated to suppressing communists and socialists by force of arms. And a police report from this time offers us another glimpse into Dirlewanger’s character. In the document, the lieutenant is described as “a mentally unstable, violent fanatic and alcoholic, who had the habit of erupting into violence under the influence of drugs.”
But in addition to his hostile exploits with the Freikorps – which included the commandeering of an armored train – Dirlewanger also found time for some serious study. Indeed, he earned a doctorate in political science from Frankfurt’s Goethe University. Dirlewanger also held down respectable jobs in the 1920s and ‘30s, working in a bank and managing a textiles factory.