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German General Staff

From Academic Kids

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This article is part of the series
Politics of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
Prime Minister of Prussia
German General Staff
Prussian Minister of War
Foreign Minister of Prussia


The German General Staff or Groer Generalstab was the most important German "weapon" for nearly two centuries.

Contents

History

Prussia was first among nations to create a separate standing unit dedicated entirely to the rational planning of all aspects of war. It was the work of the Prussian General staff which was one of the main factors responsible for the unification of all the independent German states and the creation of a German Empire under Prussian control in 1870. The Prussian General staff was also responsible for the defeat of the French army in that same year, to the surprise of so many military professionals around the world. With unification it became the German General Staff and began planning for the upcoming war with France.

When imperial Germany was defeated in 1918, the articles of peace specifically forbade the creation or recreation of the General Staff. Despite this, the German officer corps carefully set about planning the next war in a camouflaged general staff hidden within the Truppenamt ("troop office"), an innocent-looking human-resources bureau within the small army permitted by the peace accord and the Treaty of Versailles in particular.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 all he had to do was to follow the Truppenamt-General Staff plan to build up the German war machine. However, the General Staff advised Hitler that the German army would be fully modernised and ready in 1944-45 only. As a result most artillery pieces were still horse drawn at the outbreak of war in 1939. Also, for all the duration German industry could not furnish small arms in sufficient quantities, forcing the Army to rely heavily on older weapons, prizes of war, and adaptations of former designs produced in conquered countries, thus producing an arsenal filled with a stunning array of incompatible pieces, unlike the smaller number of standard small arms used by the allies.

Chiefs of the Prussian General Staff (1808 - 1871)

Chiefs of the German General Staff (1871 - 1919)

Chiefs of Troop Office (1919 - 1933)

Chiefs of the General Staff (1933 - 1945)

Notes

  1. Template:NoteWith the creation of the Wehrmacht in 1936, it became the Generalstabs des Heeres (Army General Staff).

Readings

  • Addington, Larry H. The blitzkrieg era and the German General Staff, 1865-1941. New Brunswick, N.J., Rutgers University Press, 1971.
  • Goerlitz, Walter. History of the German General Staff, 1657-1945. New York, Praeger, 1959.

See also

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