The German army is one of the most efficient and modern in the world. It is also a very different army to what it was even a decade ago.
Checkout this video:
Germany’s History with an Army
Germany has a long and complicated history with having an army. They have been through multiple periods of having and not having an army, and the reasons for these changes are just as varied. Currently, Germany does have an army, and it is a member of NATO. This paragraph will explore Germany’s history with having an army.
The German Empire
On January 18, 1871, the German Empire was proclaimed in Versailles, uniting the scattering of German-speaking principalities into a single country. Kaiser Wilhelm I became its first emperor. The new constitution gave considerable power to the traditionally weaker executive branch of government, headed by the kaiser. The legislative bodies were kept weak to prevent any one group from dominating them. For most Germans, however, the important changes were not in politics but in daily life. In particular, a unified Germany meant standardized weights and measures and a common currency—the mark—replacing the confusing variety of local coins. These improvements in efficiency coincided with rapid industrialization, which made Germany one of the leading industrial powers by the end of the 19th century.
World War I
Germany had one of the largest and most powerful armies in the world at the start of World War I. The German Army was made up of professional soldiers and was very well-trained and equipped. However, the German Army was not able to defeat the Allied forces and was forced to surrender in 1918.
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles banned Germany from having an army. However, Adolf Hitler ignored the treaty and began to build up the German Army again in the 1930s. The German Army played a major role in Nazi Germany’s victories in Europe during World War II.
World War II
During World War II, the German Army (Grossdeutsche Wehrmacht) fought on multiple fronts in Europe. At the beginning of the war, the German Army was one of the most modern and powerful militaries in the world. The German Army had multiple successes early in the war, including the invasions of Poland and France. However, as the war progressed, the Allied Powers (including the United States) began to outpace Germany in terms of technology and resources. By 1945, Germany was facing a losing battle on all fronts, and surrendered to the Allies in May of that year.
Since 1945, Germany has not had an army of its own. Instead, it has relied on NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) for its defense. NATO is a military alliance between several countries, including Germany, that have pledged to come to each other’s aid if any member is attacked. Germany is one of NATO’s most important members, and contributes a large number of troops to NATO’s military efforts.
The Fall of the Berlin Wall
In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, signaling the end of the Cold War between the East and the West. This event also signaled the end of the German Democratic Republic, commonly known as East Germany. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German Army was dissolved and Germany was left without an army for the first time since the end of World War II.
The Reunification of Germany
In 1990, the Berlin Wall—which had divided the city of Berlin into East and West since 1961—came down, symbolizing the end of Communist rule in Eastern Europe. Just one year later, on October 3, 1990, the two parts of Germany were reunited as a single country.
The process of reunification began on May 18, 1990, when the five states of East Germany agreed to join the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). This event is known as “die Wende”—the turn.
On September 12, 1990, East and West Germany signed a treaty that paved the way for their political unification. The treaty also allowed for the possibility that East Germany would eventually adopt the West German currency, the deutsche mark.
In preparation for unification, East and West Germany held free elections in March 1990. Voters in East Germany elected members of a new parliament, which then chose Lothar de Maiziere as prime minister. De Maiziere was a member of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which was also the leading party in West Germany.
The first step towards economic unification was taken on July 1, 1990, when East and West Germany completed a currency union. This meant that the deutsche mark became the official currency of both countries. price controls were also lifted in East Germany, and a new stock exchange was opened in Berlin.
The German Army Today
The German Army, or Bundeswehr, is the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration. The Bundeswehr is divided into the Heer (Army), Navy, and Air Force. Germany has compulsory military service for men and women between the ages of 18 and 35.
The Bundeswehr (German: [ˈbʊndəsˌveːɐ̯] (listen)) is the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and emergency management organization. TheStates of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the German Constitution states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the federal government.
The Bundeswehr is divided into a military part (the active component) and a civil part with the armed forces administration. In addition to the armed forces, the Bundeswehr has a joint medical service, support commands and schools.
Since 1999, the Bundeswehr has been involved in more than 60 international operations, including peacekeeping and military interventions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and most recently in Libya assisting in repelling Gaddafi loyalists.
Military Service in Germany
All able-bodied German men between the ages of 18 and 65 are required to perform military service. Currently, about 8% of the German population is fit for military service. The length of service depends on the branch of the military, but most men serve between nine and twelve months.
There are three branches of the German military: the Army (Heer), the Navy (Marine), and the Air Force (Luftwaffe). The majority of men serve in the Army, followed by the Air Force. very few serve in the Navy.
Women are not required to perform military service, but they may volunteer. Currently, about 3% of all soldiers in the German Army are women.