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Encyclopedia > Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
Active 1935–45
Country Nazi Germany
Size 18.2 Million
Patron Adolf Hitler
March Goosestep
Battles/wars World War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Adolf Hitler
The straight-armed Balkenkreuz, a stylized version of the Iron Cross, the emblem of the Wehrmacht.
The straight-armed Balkenkreuz, a stylized version of the Iron Cross, the emblem of the Wehrmacht.
A decal for the helmets of the Wehrmacht (model 1942).
A decal for the helmets of the Wehrmacht (model 1942).

Wehrmacht (listen)  ("armed forces", literally "defence might") was the name of the unified armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945. The Wehrmacht consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe (air force). The Waffen-SS, an initially small paramilitary section of Heinrich Himmler's Allgemeine SS that grew to nearly a million strong during World War II, was not officially part of the Wehrmacht, but subject to OKW, OKH, as well as Field Command. Thus, the Waffen-SS was, de facto, a fourth branch of the Wehrmacht. Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Hitler redirects here. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Hitler redirects here. ... Image File history File links Balkenkreuz. ... Image File history File links Balkenkreuz. ... A stylized version of the Iron Cross, the emblem of the Bundeswehr, Germanys Armed Forces. ... Image File history File links Heer_-_decal_for_helmet_1942. ... Image File history File links Heer_-_decal_for_helmet_1942. ... Image File history File links De-Wehrmacht-pronunciation. ... Alternate cover US 1979 and 2002 reissue cover, also known as paint spatter cover For the military meaning, see Armed forces. ... Von Brauchitsch was the high army commander from 1938 to 1941 Heer (German: Heer ) is the german word for Army, though in English it refers to the Army branch of the Wermacht. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The Kriegsmarine (or War Navy) was the name of the German Navy between 1935 and 1945, during the Nazi regime, superseding the Reichsmarine. ... Naval redirects here. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, literally Air Weapon, pronounced lufft-va-fa, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... For a particular Air Force, see List of air forces. ... Waffen-SS recruitment poster; Volunteer to the Waffen-SS The Waffen-SS was the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel. ... Heinrich Luitpold Himmler ( ; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was commander of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and the Nazi hierarchy. ... The Allgemeine-SS was the name for the General SS (as in generic or basic SS) which consisted of part-time mustering SS formations created under the Nazi Party between 1925 and 1945. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Oberkommando der Wehrmacht OKW most notably stands for Oberkommando der Wehrmacht - the high Command of the Third Reich armed forces. ... The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) was Germanys Army High Command from 1936 to 1945. ... Waffen-SS recruitment poster; Volunteer to the Waffen-SS The Waffen-SS was the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel. ...

Contents

Origin and use of the terms

Before the rise of the NSDAP, the term Wehrmacht was used in a generic sense to describe armed forces of any nation, being utilized as the "home defense" version of the more general Streitmacht. For example, the term Britische Wehrmacht would identify the British armed forces. Article 47 of the Weimar Constitution of 1919 declared "Der Reichspräsident hat den Oberbefehl über die gesamte Wehrmacht des Reiches" (meaning: "The Reichspräsident holds supreme command of all armed forces of the Reich"). To make a distinction, the term Reichswehr was commonly used to identify the German armed forces. The Nazi swastika The National Socialist German Workers Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), better known as the NSDAP or the Nazi Party was a political party that was led to power in Germany by Adolf Hitler in 1933. ... The Weimar Constitution in booklet form. ... Reichswehr flag (1921-1935). ...


In 1935, the Reichswehr was renamed Wehrmacht. After World War II and under the Allied occupation of Germany, the Wehrmacht was abolished. When West Germany remilitarized in 1955, its newly-created armed forces became known as the Bundeswehr ("Federal Defence Force"). East Germany's armed forces, formally established in 1956, were known as the National People's Army (Nationale Volksarmee). When East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) was incorporated into "West Germany" (the Federal Republic of Germany) in 1990, much of the Volksarmee property and some of the staff were also incorporated into the Bundeswehr. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Bundeswehr (German for Federal Defence Force;  ) is the name of the unified armed forces of Germany. ... This article is about the state which existed from 1949 to 1990. ... The National People’s Army (German: Nationale Volksarmee) served as the military of the German Democratic Republic. ... “East Germany” redirects here. ...


Hence the term Wehrmacht customarily refers to Germany's armed forces during the Nazi Germany era and World War II, both in German and English. Note: It is incorrect to equate Wehrmacht with only the army (Heer). Wehrmacht vehicles used by Heer, Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine units had license plates with WH, WL or WM. Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Von Brauchitsch was the high army commander from 1938 to 1941 Heer (German: Heer ) is the german word for Army, though in English it refers to the Army branch of the Wermacht. ... The digraph wh is used to express a phoneme: In the English language, (voiceless labial-velar fricative) the continuation of the PIE labiovelar (formerly spelled hw, see hwair). ... WL can stand for: Wavelength Weakest Link (television program) Weapons lab Wetland Woods lamp This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... WM may refer to: Windows Media is a multimedia framework for media creation and distribution for Microsoft Windows. ...


History

After World War I ended with the armistice of 11 November 1918, the armed forces were dubbed Friedensheer (peace army) in January 1919. In March 1919, the national assemby passed a law founding a 420,000 strong preliminary army as Vorläufige Reichswehr. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May, and in June Germany was forced to sign the contract which, among other terms, imposed severe constraints on the size of Germany's armed forces. The army was limited to one hundred thousand men with an additional fifteen thousand in the navy. The fleet was to consist of at most six battleships, six cruisers, and twelve destroyers. Submarines, tanks and heavy artillery were forbidden and the air force was dissolved. A new post-war military (the Reichswehr) was established on 23 March 1921. General conscription was abolished under another mandate of the Versailles treaty. “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Front page of the New York Times on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918 The armistice treaty between the Allies and Germany was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on November 11, 1918, and marked the end of the First World War on the Western Front. ... This article is about the Treaty of Versailles of June 28 1919, which ended World War I. For other uses, see Treaty of Versailles (disambiguation) . The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was a peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany. ... For other uses, see Battleship (disambiguation). ... USS Port Royal (CG-73), a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser (really an uprated guided missile destroyer), launched in 1992. ... USS McFaul underway in the Atlantic Ocean. ... For other uses, see Submarine (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Artillery (disambiguation). ... Reichswehr flag (1921-1935). ... is the 82nd day of the year (83rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... “Conscript” redirects here. ...


Germany immediately began covertly circumventing these conditions. A secret collaboration with the Soviet Union began after the treaty of Rapallo. Major-General Otto Hasse traveled to Moscow in 1923 to further negotiate the terms. Germany helped the Soviet Union with industrialisation and Soviet officers were to be trained in Germany. German tank and air force specialists could exercise in the Soviet Union and German chemical weapons research and manufacture would be carried out there along with other projects. Around three hundred German pilots received training at Lipetsk, some tank training took place near Kazan and toxic gas was developed at Saratov for the German army. The Treaty of Rapallo was an agreement of April 16, 1922 between Germany (the Weimar Republic) and Bolshevist Russia under which each renounced all territorial and financial claims against the other following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and World War I. The two governments also agreed to normalise their diplomatic... For other uses, see Moscow (disambiguation). ... Historic Coat of Arms of Lipetsk introduced in 1781 Lipetsk (Russian: ) is a city located in the Central Federal District of Russia. ... This article is about the capital city of Tatarstan. ... Saratov (Russian: ) is a major city in Russia. ...


After the death of President Paul von Hindenburg on 2 August 1934, Hitler assumed the office of Reichspräsident, and thus became commander in chief. All officers and soldiers of the German armed forces had to swear a personal oath of loyalty to the Führer, as Adolf Hitler now was called. By 1935, Germany was openly flouting the military restrictions set forth in the Versailles Treaty, and conscription was reintroduced on 16 March 1935. While the size of the standing army was to remain at about the 100,000-man mark decreed by the treaty, a new group of conscripts equal to this size would receive training each year. The conscription law introduced the name Wehrmacht, so not only can this be regarded as its founding date, but the organisation and authority of the Wehrmacht can be viewed as Nazi creations regardless of the political affiliations of its high command (who nevertheless all swore the same personal oath of loyalty to Hitler). The insignia was a simpler version of the Iron Cross (the straight-armed so-called Balkenkreuz or beamed cross) that had been used as an aircraft and tank marking in late World War I. The existence of the Wehrmacht was officially announced on October 15 1935. Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known universally as Paul von Hindenburg (2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German field marshal and statesman. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The term Hitler oath refers to the oaths of allegiance sworn by German Wehrmacht officers and soldiers as well as civil servants during the Third Reich between the years 1934 and 1945. ... Hitler redirects here. ... is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... A stylized version of the Iron Cross, the emblem of the Bundeswehr, Germanys Armed Forces. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...


Numbers

The total number of soldiers who served in the Wehrmacht during its existence from 1935 until 1945 is believed to approach 18.2 million. This figure was put forward by historian Rüdiger Overmans and represents the total number of people who ever served in the Wehrmacht, and not the force strength of the Wehrmacht at any point. About 2.3 million Wehrmacht soldiers were killed in action; 550,000 died from non-combat causes; 2.0 million missing in action and unaccounted for after the war; and 459,000 POW deaths, of whom 77,000 were in the custody of the U.S., UK, and France; POW dead includes 266,000 in the post war period after June 1945, primarily in Soviet captivity.


Command structure

Legally, the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht was Adolf Hitler in his capacity as Germany's head of state, a position he gained after the death of President Paul von Hindenburg in August 1934. In the reshuffle in 1938, Hitler became the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and retained that position until his suicide on 30 April 1945. Administration and military authority initially lay with the war ministry under Generalfeldmarschall Werner von Blomberg. After von Blomberg resigned in the course of the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair (1938) the ministry was dissolved and the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or OKW) under Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel was put in its place. It was headquartered in Wünsdorf near Zossen, and a field echelon (Feldstaffel) was stationed wherever the Führer's headquarters were situated at a given time. Army work was also coordinated by the German General Staff, an institution that been developing for more than a century and which had sought to institutionalize military excellence. Commander-in-Chief (in NATO-lingo often C-in-C or CINC pronounced sink) is the commander of all the military forces within a particular region or of all the military forces of a state. ... Hitler redirects here. ... For the comedy film of the same name, see Head of State (film). ... President is a title held by many leaders of organizations, companies, trade unions, universities, and countries. ... Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known universally as Paul von Hindenburg (2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German field marshal and statesman. ... is the 120th day of the year (121st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... Replica of the marshals baton of Generalfeldmarschall von Richthofen (Third Reich) Generalfeldmarschall ( ) (general field marshal, usually translated simply as field marshal, and sometimes written only as Feldmarschall) was a rank in the armies of several German states, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Austrian Empire. ... Werner von Blomberg. ... The Blomberg-Fritsch Affair (also known as Blomberg-Fritsch-Krise or Blomberg-Fritsch crisis) were two related scandals in early 1938 that resulted in the subjugation of the German Wehrmacht to Adolf Hitler who had been dissatisfied with these two highest ranking military officials, regarding them as too hesitant towards... The command flag for the Chief of the High Command of the German Armed Forces (1938 - 1941) The command flag for a Generalfeldmarschall as the Chief of the High Command of the German Armed Forces (1941 - 1945) The Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or OKW (Wehrmacht High Command, Armed Forces High Command... Wilhelm Bodewin Johann Gustav Keitel (September 22, 1882–October 16, 1946) was a German field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) and a senior military leader during World War II. // Keitel was born in Helmscherode, Brunswick, German Empire, the son of Carl Keitel, a middle-class landowner, and his wife Apollonia Vissering. ... This article needs copyediting (checking for proper English spelling, grammar, usage, etc. ... The German General Staff, (Großer Generalstab, literally, Great General Staff) was an institution whose rise and development gave the German military a decided advantage over its adversaries. ...


The OKW coordinated all military activities but Keitel's sway over the three branches of service (army, air force, and navy) was rather limited. Each had its own High Command, known as Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH, army), Oberkommando der Marine (OKM, navy), and Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL, air force). Each of these high commands had its own general staff. In practice the OKW had operational authority over the Western Front whereas the Eastern Front was under the operational authority of the OKH. The Oberkommando der Heeres (OKH) was Germanys Army High Command from 1936 to 1945. ... The Oberkommando der Marine (or OKM for short) was Germanys Naval High Command until 1945. ... The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) was the Airforce High Command of the Third Reich. ...

Flag for the Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces (1935-1938)
Flag for the Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces (1935-1938)
  • OKW — the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces
Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces - Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel (1938 to 1945)
Chief of the Operations Staff (Wehrmachtführungsstab) - Colonel-General Alfred Jodl
  • OKH — the Supreme Command of the Army
Army Commanders-in-Chief
Colonel-General Werner von Fritsch (1935 to 1938)
Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch (1938 to 1941)
Führer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler (1941 to 1945)
Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner (1945)
Chief of Staff of the German Army - General Ludwig Beck (1935 to 1938); General Franz Halder (1938 to 1942); General Kurt Zeitzler (1942 to 1944); General Oberst Heinz Guderian (1944 to 1945) General Hans Krebs (1945, committed suicide in the Führer Bunker)
  • OKM — the Supreme Command of the Navy
Navy Commanders-in-Chief
Grand Admiral Erich Raeder (1928 to 1943)
Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz (1943 to 1945)
General Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg (1945)
  • OKL - the Supreme Command of the Air Force
Air Force Commanders-in-Chief
Reich Marshal Hermann Göring (until 1945)
General Field Marshal Robert Ritter von Greim (1945)

The OKW was also tasked with central economic planning and procurement, but the authority and influence of the OKW's war economy office (Wehrwirtschaftsamt) was challenged by the procurement offices (Waffenämter) of the single branches of service as well as by the Ministry for Armament and Munitions (Reichsministerium für Bewaffnung und Munition), into which it was merged after the ministry was taken over by Albert Speer in early 1942. Image File history File links Wermacht_Commander-in-Chief_flag. ... Image File history File links Wermacht_Commander-in-Chief_flag. ... Oberkommando der Wehrmacht OKW most notably stands for Oberkommando der Wehrmacht - the high Command of the Third Reich armed forces. ... Replica of the marshals baton of Generalfeldmarschall von Richthofen (Third Reich) Generalfeldmarschall ( ) (general field marshal, usually translated simply as field marshal, and sometimes written only as Feldmarschall) was a rank in the armies of several German states, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Austrian Empire. ... Wilhelm Bodewin Johann Gustav Keitel (September 22, 1882–October 16, 1946) was a German field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) and a senior military leader during World War II. // Keitel was born in Helmscherode, Brunswick, German Empire, the son of Carl Keitel, a middle-class landowner, and his wife Apollonia Vissering. ... Colonel General is a senior military rank which is used in some of the world’s militaries. ... Alfred Jodl (May 10, 1890 – October 16, 1946) was a German military commander, attaining the position of Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, or OKW) during World War II, acting as deputy to Wilhelm Keitel. ... The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) was Germanys Army High Command from 1936 to 1945. ... Colonel General is a senior military rank which is used in some of the world’s militaries. ... Werner Freiherr von Fritsch (4 August 1880 in Benrath - 22 September 1939 Praga near Warsaw) was a prominent Wehrmacht officer, member of the German High Command, and the first German general to die in the Second World War. ... Replica of the marshals baton of Generalfeldmarschall von Richthofen (Third Reich) Generalfeldmarschall ( ) (general field marshal, usually translated simply as field marshal, and sometimes written only as Feldmarschall) was a rank in the armies of several German states, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Austrian Empire. ... Walther von Brauchitsch in 1939. ... Nazi propaganda poster. ... The head of government in Germany has traditionally been called Kanzler (Chancellor). ... Hitler redirects here. ... Replica of the marshals baton of Generalfeldmarschall von Richthofen (Third Reich) Generalfeldmarschall ( ) (general field marshal, usually translated simply as field marshal, and sometimes written only as Feldmarschall) was a rank in the armies of several German states, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Austrian Empire. ... Ferdinand Schörner (December 5, 1892 - February 7, 1973) was a general and later Field Marshal in the German Wehrmacht during World War II. // Early life He was born in Munich, Bavaria. ... Ludwig Beck General Ludwig Beck (June 29, 1880 – July 21, 1944) was Chief of Staff of the German Armed forces during the early years of the Nazi regime in Germany before World War II. Born in Biebrich in Hesse-Nassau, he was educated in the conservative Prussian military tradition. ... Franz Halder Franz Ritter Halder (June 30, 1884 – April 2, 1972) was a German General and the head of the Army General Staff from 1938 until September 1942, when he was dismissed after frequent disagreements with Adolf Hitler. ... Kurt Zeitzler (June 9, 1895 - September 25, 1963) was an officer in the German Reichswehr and its successor the Wehrmacht, most prominent for being the Chief of the Army General Staff from 1942 to 1944. ... This article is about the World War II general Heinz Guderian. ... General of Infantry Hans Krebs (4 March 1898, Helmstedt - d. ... The Oberkommando der Marine (or OKM for short) was Germanys Naval High Command until 1945. ... Alternate meaning: Grand Admiral (Star Wars). ... Erich Raeder. ... Alternate meaning: Grand Admiral (Star Wars). ... Karl Dönitz (IPA pronunciation:  ) (born 16 September 1891; died 24 December 1980) was a German naval leader, who commanded the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) during the second half of World War II. Dönitz was also President of Germany for 23 days after Adolf Hitlers suicide. ... In the German Kriegsmarine, of the Second World War, General Admiral was a rank considered senior to a full Admiral, but junior to a Grand Admiral. ... Hans-Georg von Friedeburg (born July 15, 1895-died May 23, 1945) was the deputy commander of the U-Boat Force of Nazi germany, September 1941 until January 1943, Commanding Admiral of the U-Boat Force February 1943 until April 1945, and Commanding Admiral of the Kriegsmarine in May 1945... The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) was the Airforce High Command of the Third Reich. ... The original uniform of the Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring shown in the Luftwaffe-Museum in Berlin. ... Hermann Wilhelm Göring ( ) (also Goering in English) (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, and commander of the Luftwaffe. ... Replica of the marshals baton of Generalfeldmarschall von Richthofen (Third Reich) Generalfeldmarschall ( ) (general field marshal, usually translated simply as field marshal, and sometimes written only as Feldmarschall) was a rank in the armies of several German states, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Austrian Empire. ... Robert Ritter von Greim. ... For the son of Albert Speer, also an architect, see Albert Speer (the younger). ...


War years

Army

German Army troops photographed with a PaK 36 anti-tank gun.
Main article: Heer

The German Army furthered concepts pioneered during the First World War, combining ground (Heer) and Air Force (Luftwaffe) assets into combined arms teams. Coupled with traditional war fighting methods such as encirclements and the "battle of annihilation", the German military managed many lightning quick victories in the first year of the Second World War, prompting foreign journalists to create a new word for what they witnessed: Blitzkrieg. Image File history File links Wehrmacht_Action_Eastern_Front. ... Image File history File links Wehrmacht_Action_Eastern_Front. ... German 3. ... Von Brauchitsch was the high army commander from 1938 to 1941 Heer (German: Heer ) is the german word for Army, though in English it refers to the Army branch of the Wermacht. ... This article is about the military term. ...


The Heer entered the war with a minority of its formations motorized; infantry remained approximately 90% foot-borne throughout the war, and artillery primarily horse-drawn. The motorized formations received much attention in the world press in the opening years of the war, and were cited as the reason for the success of the German invasions of Poland (September 1939), Norway (April 1940), Denmark, Belgium, France and Netherlands (May 1940), Yugoslavia (April 1941) and the early campaigns in the Soviet Union (June 1941).


With the entry of the United States in December 1941, the Wehrmacht found itself engaged in campaigns against two major industrial powers. At this critical juncture, Hitler assumed personal control of the Wehrmacht high command, and his personal failings as a military commander arguably contributed to major defeats in early 1943, at Stalingrad and Tunis in North Africa.

The Panzerjäger-Abteilung 39 (part of "Kampfgruppe Gräf", part of the 21. Panzer Division) of the Afrika Korps on the move.
The Panzerjäger-Abteilung 39 (part of "Kampfgruppe Gräf", part of the 21. Panzer Division) of the Afrika Korps on the move.

The German's military strength was managed through mission-based tactics (rather than order-based tactics) and an almost proverbial discipline. In public opinion, the German Army was and is sometimes seen as a high-tech army (e.g. The movie "Star Wars" features an MG42, used by the Empire's storm troopers.). These technologies were featured by propaganda, but were often only available in small numbers or late in the war, as overall supplies of raw materials and armaments became low. For example only forty percent of all units were motorised, baggage trains often relied on horse drawn trailers and many soldiers went by foot or used bicycles (de:Radfahrtruppen). Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x629, 91 KB) Advance of the tank hunter department 39 Vormarsch der Panzerjäger-Abteilung 39 Title: Vormarsch der Panzerjäger-Abteilung 39 (original) Advance of the Panzerjäger 39º section Description The Panzerjäger-Abteilung 39 (part of Kampfgruppe Gr... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x629, 91 KB) Advance of the tank hunter department 39 Vormarsch der Panzerjäger-Abteilung 39 Title: Vormarsch der Panzerjäger-Abteilung 39 (original) Advance of the Panzerjäger 39º section Description The Panzerjäger-Abteilung 39 (part of Kampfgruppe Gr... Mission-type tactics (German: Auftragstaktik, also known as Directive Control in the US), have (arguably) been a central component of the tactics of German armed forces since the 19th century. ... The MG42 (shortened from German: Maschinengewehr 42, or Machine Gun 42) was a machine gun that was developed for and entered service with Nazi Germany in 1942, during World War II. The 7. ...


Max Hastings, British author, historian and ex-newspaper editor, said in a radio interview on WGN Chicago "...there's no doubt that man for man, the German army was the greatest fighting force of the second world war". This view was also explained in his book "Overlord: D-Day and the battle for Normandy". In the book World War II : An Illustrated Miscellany, Anthony Evans writes: 'The German soldier was very professional and well trained, aggressive in attack and stubborn in defence. He was always adaptable, particularly in the later years when shortages of equipment were being felt'. These views of German warriors are an attempt to evaluate their fighting abilities and not trying to excuse or justify some of the aims or actions of the Nazi regime. Sir Max Hastings (born December 28, 1945) is a British journalist, editor, historian and author. ... Land on Normandy In military parlance, D-Day is a term often used to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. ... For other uses, see Normandy (disambiguation). ...


Among the foreign volunteers who served in the Heer during World War II were ethnic Germans, Dutch, and Scandinavians along with people from the Baltic states and the Balkans. Russians fought in the Russian Liberation Army or as Hilfswilliger. Non-Russians from the Soviet Union formed the Ostlegionen. These units were all commanded by General Ernst August Köstring and represented about five percent of the forces under the OKH. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... A soldier of the Russian Liberation Army Russian Liberation Army or ROA (Русская Освободительная Армия, Russkaya Osvoboditelnaya Armiya), also known as the Vlasov army, was a group of volunteer Russian forces allied with Nazi Germany during World War II. The ROA was organized by former Red Army general Andrey Vlasov, who tried... Hiwi is a German abbreviation. ... Ostlegionen or Ostgruppen (literally Eastern Legion) were conscripts and volunteers from occupied territories who fought in the Wehrmacht of the Third Reich during the Second World War. ... The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) was Germanys Army High Command from 1936 to 1945. ...


Air Force

The German Air Force, led by Hermann Göring, contributed many units of ground forces to the war in Russia as well as the Normandy front. In 1940, the Fallschirmjäger paratroops conquered the Belgian Fort Eben-Emael and took part in the airborne invasion of Norway, but after suffering heavy losses in the Battle of Crete, large scale airdrops were discontinued. Operating as ordinary infantry, the 1st Fallschirmjäger Division took part in the Battle of Monte Cassino. The Luftwaffe Field Divisions were eventually considered by historians to be a drain on manpower and resources that would have been better used in Army formations, and are used as an example of how poorly co-ordinated the three branches of the Wehrmacht were. This was partly due to the rivalry between the branches in general, but mainly due to Göring's ambitions. The Luftwaffe, being in charge of Germany's Anti-aircraft warfare, also used thousands of teenage Luftwaffenhelfer to support the FlaK units. The German Luftwaffe was one of the most powerful, doctrinally advanced, and battle-experienced air forces in the world when World War II started in Europe in September 1939. ... Hermann Wilhelm Göring ( ) (also Goering in English) (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, and commander of the Luftwaffe. ... Fallschirmjäger Fallschirmjäger photo taken from The Hague, Bezuidenhout during the invasion of the Low Countries, morning of May 10, 1940   (often rendered Fallschirmjager in English; from German Fallschirm parachute and Jäger, hunter; ranger a term for light infantry) are German paratroopers. ... Map of the area between Belgium and the Netherlands near Fort Eben-Emael Fort Eben-Emaels cupola penetrated by a shaped charge Eben-Emael was a Belgian fortress in between Liège and Maastricht, near the Albert Canal, defending the Belgian-German border. ... Combatants Greece United Kingdom New Zealand Australia Nazi Germany Kingdom of Italy Commanders Bernard Freyberg Kurt Student Strength United Kingdom: 15,000 Greece: 11,000 Australia: 7,100 New Zealand: 6,700 Total: 40,000 (10,000 without fighting capacity[2]) Germany: 14,000 paratroopers 15,000 mountain troopers 280... The German 1st Parachute Division was a German military parachute-landing Division that fought during World War II. A division of paratroopers was termed a Fallschirmjäger Division. ... Combatants United Kingdom United States Poland New Zealand Canada Free France India and others Germany Commanders Harold Alexander Mark Clark Oliver Leese Albert Kesselring Heinrich von Vietinghoff Frido von Senger Strength 105,000 80,000 Casualties 54,000 20,000 The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle... “Flak” redirects here. ... Luftwaffenhelfer (commonly: Flakhelfer) are terms commonly used for German students deployed as child soldiers during World War II. The Luftwaffenhelfer (Luftwaffe support personnel) program was the implementation of the Kriegshilfseinsatz der Jugend bei der Luftwaffe (Deployment of the youth to support the war effort with the air force) order issued... FLAK was a punk rock side project of members of the band Machinae Supremacy in 2001. ...


Navy

Main article: Kriegsmarine

The German Navy (Kriegsmarine) played a major role in the Second World War as control over the commerce routes in the Atlantic was crucial for Germany, Britain and later the Soviet Union. In the Battle of the Atlantic, the initially successful German U-boat fleet arm was eventually defeated due to Allied technological advances like sonar, radar, and the breaking of the Enigma code. Large surface vessels were few in number due to construction limitations by international treaties prior to 1935. The "pocket battleships" Admiral Graf Spee and Admiral Scheer were important as commerce raiders only in the opening year of the war. No aircraft carrier was operational as German leadership lost interest in the Graf Zeppelin which had been launched in 1938. Following the loss of Bismarck in 1941, with Allied air superiority threatening the remaining battlecruisers in French Atlantic harbours, the ships were ordered to make the Channel Dash back to German ports. Operating from fjords of Norway, which had been occupied in 1940, convoys from the USA to the Soviet port of Murmansk could be intercepted even though the Tirpitz spend most of her career as Fleet in being. The Kriegsmarine (or War Navy) was the name of the German Navy between 1935 and 1945, during the Nazi regime, superseding the Reichsmarine. ... Battle of the Atlantic can refer to either of two naval campaigns, depending on context: World War I - First Battle of the Atlantic World War II - Second Battle of the Atlantic A Third Battle of the Atlantic was envisioned to be be part of any Third World War that arose... U-boat is also a nickname for some diesel locomotives built by GE; see List of GE locomotives October 1939. ... For a discussion of how Enigma-derived intelligence was put to use, see Ultra (WWII intelligence). ... Maximilian Graf von Spee (22 June 1861 - 8 December 1914) was a German admiral, born in Copenhagen, Denmark, who joined the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) in 1878. ... Reinhard Scheer Reinhard Scheer (September 30, 1863 – November 26, 1928) was a Vice-admiral in the German navy. ... Four aircraft carriers, (bottom-to-top) Principe de Asturias, amphibious assault carrier USS Wasp, USS Forrestal and light V/STOL carrier HMS Invincible, showing size differences of late 20th century carriers An aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and in most cases recover aircraft, acting as a sea... Graf Zeppelin was an aircraft carrier of the Kriegsmarine, named like the famous airship in honour of Graf (Count) Ferdinand von Zeppelin. ... Alternate meanings: See Bismarck (disambiguation). ... Operation Cerberus (German: Zerberus) was the name given to the escape during World War II of the Kriegsmarines ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Prinz Eugen and a number of smaller ships from Brest to ports in Germany and Denmark via the English Channel. ... Tirpitz was the second Bismarck class battleship of the German Kriegsmarine, sistership of Bismarck. ... In naval warfare, a fleet in being is a naval force that extends a controlling influence without ever leaving port. ...


Theaters and campaigns

German cavalry and motorized units entering Poland from East Prussia during the Invasion of Poland of 1939
German cavalry and motorized units entering Poland from East Prussia during the Invasion of Poland of 1939

The Werhmacht was the Axis Army that fought during most time (from 9-9-1939 to 5-08-1945) in World War Two and the second one considering all that participated in the conflict. U.K & Commomwealth fought from 09-09-1939 to 08-15-1945. However Polish and French resistance fought during the same length of time but not continuously. The Most lettal and large land battles that the German Army fought were in the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front, this teather was tactically and strategically the most crucial for Germany on the war because of the enormous casualties the German Armies took, it was also the one that drained more soldiers and equipement from other fronts. But the Wehrmacht had to fight on other fronts, sometimes surpassing three at once, that stretched its fighting power far too thin. As a result, the ability to even successfully defend Germany became a moot point. Image File history File links German_cavalry. ... Image File history File links German_cavalry. ... East Prussia (German: Ostpreu en; Polish: Prusy Wschodnie; Russian: Восточная Пруссия — Vostochnaya Prussiya) was a province of Kingdom of Prussia, situated on the territory of former Ducal Prussia. ... For the Soviet Unions military action against Poland under the same alliance, see Soviet invasion of Poland (1939). ...


The strategic air battles that the Luftwaffe proved capable of winning were in 1939 and 1940 but the air force was unable to defeat the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain. During 1941 to the end of 1943 the Luftwaffe entered to a long and bloody air battle with the Russian Air Force. Allied air forces enjoyed aerial superiority on all fronts by the summer of 1944. Although, in respect to the Battle of Britain, had the Luftwaffe continued toward its early goal of bombing RAF airfields and fighting a war of attrition against Britain's air force, it is likely they would have been victorious. However, in response to a string of events beginning with a small scale air raid on Berlin by British bombers, Hitler ordered the German bomber formations to attack English cities. These reprisal attacks allowed the weight of the Luftwaffe to be shifted away from the RAF and onto British civilians, and, thusly, allowed the RAF to rebuild and, within a few short months, turn the tide against Germany in the skies above England. RAF redirects here. ... This article is about military history. ...


The Battle of the Atlantic saw greater German successes early on, and Winston Churchill confided after the war that the only real threat he felt to Britain's survival was the "U-Boat peril." Battle of the Atlantic can refer to either of two naval campaigns, depending on context: World War I - First Battle of the Atlantic World War II - Second Battle of the Atlantic A Third Battle of the Atlantic was envisioned to be be part of any Third World War that arose...

Soldiers of German Wehrmacht in front of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the occupied Paris, 1940
Soldiers of German Wehrmacht in front of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the occupied Paris, 1940
  • Battle of Poland (Fall Weiss) -The joint invasion and division of Poland between the U.S.S.R and Germany. Western Poland going to the latter, and eastern Poland to the former.
  • Phony War (Sitzkrieg)
  • Scandinavian Campaigns
  • Battle of France (Fall Gelb) The defeat of the French and British forces on Continental Europe.
  • The Battle for the Lowlands (Belgium, the Netherlands, etc)
  • Balkans and Greece (Operation Marita)
  • North African Campaign (Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Desert fighting between mainly the U.K. and the German/Italian forces in North Africa).
  • Eastern Front (initially Operation Barbarossa) The vast majority of land based fighting and casualties occurred here.
  • The Italian Theatre (1943-45)
  • Western Front (WWII) In 1940 against French and British forces as well as the low countries, and then again in 1944 – 1945 against the Western Allied forces led by the U.S.A. and the U.K.
  • Anti-Partisan operations against guerrilla units on the Eastern Front and then a switch, during last few months of WWII, to Guerrilla Operations by German Units behind Allied lines. This even lasted years after the war ended.

Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 544 pixelsFull resolution (883 × 600 pixel, file size: 112 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Description: Soldiers of german Wehrmacht in front of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the occupied Paris, 1940 Source: Owned by family/John N. Uploaded... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 544 pixelsFull resolution (883 × 600 pixel, file size: 112 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Description: Soldiers of german Wehrmacht in front of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the occupied Paris, 1940 Source: Owned by family/John N. Uploaded... For the Soviet Unions military action against Poland under the same alliance, see Soviet invasion of Poland (1939). ... British Ministry of Home Security Poster of a type that was common during the Phony War The Phony War, or in Winston Churchills words the Twilight War, was a phase in early World War II marked by few military operations in Continental Europe, in the months following the German... Combatants Germany Denmark Norway Operation Weserübung was the German codename for Nazi Germanys assault on Denmark and Norway during World War II and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign. ... German battle cruisers in a Norwegian port in June 1940 The Norwegian Campaign, lasting from 9 April to 10 June 1940, led to the first direct land confrontation between the military forces of the Allies — United Kingdom and France — against Nazi Germany in World War II. The primary reason for... Combatants  France  United Kingdom  Canada  Czechoslovakia  Poland  Belgium  Netherlands  Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) Leopold III H.G. Winkelman Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R.H. Umberto di... Combatants Germany Italy Bulgaria Albania Greece United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Yugoslavia Commanders Maximilian von Weichs Giovanni Messe Alexander Papagos Henry Maitland Wilson The Balkans Campaign was the Italian and German invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia during World War II. It began with Italys annexation of Albania in April... During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943. ... The Eastern Front was the theatre of combat between Nazi Germany and its allies against the Soviet Union during World War II. It was somewhat separate from the other theatres of the war, not only geographically, but also for its scale and ferocity. ... Combatants Germany Romania Finland Italy Hungary Slovakia  Soviet Union Commanders Adolf Hitler Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb Fedor von Bock Gerd von Rundstedt Heinz Guderian Günther von Kluge Franz Halder Ion Antonescu C.G.E. Mannerheim Giovanni Messe, CSIR Italo Garibaldi, ARMIR Iosef Stalin Kliment Voroshilov Semyon Timoshenko Fyodor Kuznetsov... During World War II, the Western Front was the theater of fighting west of Germany, encompassing France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemberg, and Denmark. ...

War crimes

Mass grave of 300 Polish POWs of the Polish 74 Infantry Regiment murdered near Ciepielów by the German 15th Motorized Infantry Regiment of German 29th Motorized Division Commanded by General Joachim Lemelsen

The Wehrmacht was widely employed as a tool of state policy in the Second World War, being used for both military and political objectives. The Wehrmacht was found to be complicit in the Holocaust. It also implemented its own plans to loot the occupied territories to supply its needs, with the resulting deprivation and famine. In the Soviet Union this policy, the Hunger Plan, was planned in advance. War crimes of the Wehrmacht are those carried out by traditional German armed forces during World War II. While the principal perpetrators of the Holocaust amongst German armed forces were the Nazi German political armies (the Waffen-SS and particularly the Einsatzgruppen), the traditional armed forces represented by the Wehrmacht... Image File history File links Mass grave of 300 Polish POWs murdered near Ciepielów by the German 15th Motorized Infantry Regiment of German 29th Motorized Division Commanded by General Joachim Lemelsen File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this... Image File history File links Mass grave of 300 Polish POWs murdered near Ciepielów by the German 15th Motorized Infantry Regiment of German 29th Motorized Division Commanded by General Joachim Lemelsen File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... Ciepielów is a village in Poland, in southern part of the Mazovian Voivodeship. ... Joachim Lemelsen (September 28, 1888 - March 30, 1954) was a German general during the Second World War. ... For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation). ... Hunger Plan The Wehrmacht invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) included in the planning phase an economic management scheme called the Hunger Plan. ...


The Wehrmacht ordered and participated in numerous war crimes during World War II — massacres of civilians, executions of POWs, summary executions of Soviet political officers as sanctioned by the Commissar Order, and executions of prisoners of war and civilian hostages as punishment for partisan activities in occupied territories. Though the massive exterminations associated with the Holocaust were primarily committed by the SS and the Einsatzgruppen, the Wehrmacht was also involved, as there are cases in which German Army officers and soldiers cooperated with the Einsatzgruppen, rounding up Jews and others for internment or execution. In the context of war, a war crime is a punishable offense under International Law, for violations of the laws of war by any person or persons, military or civilian. ... The Commissar Order (German: Kommissarbefehl) was a written order given by Adolf Hitler on 6 June 1941, prior to Operation Barbarossa. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... Look up partisan in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... “Shoah” redirects here. ... SS or ss or Ss may be: The Schutzstaffel, a Nazi paramilitary force Steamship (SS) (ship prefix) The United States Secret Service A submarine not powered by nuclear energy (SS) (United States Navy designator), see SSN A Soviet/Russian surface-to-surface missile, as listed by NATO reporting name Shortstop... A member of Einsatzgruppe D is just about to shoot a Jewish man kneeling before a filled mass grave in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, in 1942. ...


As the extent of the Holocaust became widely known by the end of the war, many former members of the Armed Forces promoted the view that it was "unblemished" by the crimes allegedly committed exclusively by the SS and the political police forces, which both were not,officially, part of the Wehrmacht. Though it convicted OKW chief Wilhelm Keitel and chief of operations Alfred Jodl for war crimes, the Nuremberg tribunal did not declare the Wehrmacht to be a criminal organization, as it did with party organizations such as the SS. This was seen by many Germans as an exoneration of the Wehrmacht. Among German historians, the deep involvement of the Wehrmacht in war crimes, particularly on the Eastern Front, became widely accepted in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Public awareness in Germany has been lagging behind - as exemplified by controversial and often emotionally charged reactions to an exhibition on these issues in the mid-1990s[1] Polish historians also want the German public to become more aware of the Wehrmacht's atrocities regarding the Polish September Campaign.[2] In 2007 a book has been published which contains research regarding secretly recorded conversations of captured German generals and other senior officers, all without their knowledge or even suspicion. The 64,427 conversations have been recorded by British secret service in POW camps. Most of the officers, up to High Command knew about Holocaust and atrocities against Russians, Poles, Gypsies and others targeted by Nazi Germany[3] in the opinion of reviewers, the research finally dispels the myth of lack of knowledge among ordinary Germans regarding their contribution to genocide in WW2. Oberkommando der Wehrmacht OKW most notably stands for Oberkommando der Wehrmacht - the high Command of the Third Reich armed forces. ... Wilhelm Bodewin Johann Gustav Keitel (September 22, 1882–October 16, 1946) was a German field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) and a senior military leader during World War II. // Keitel was born in Helmscherode, Brunswick, German Empire, the son of Carl Keitel, a middle-class landowner, and his wife Apollonia Vissering. ... Alfred Jodl (May 10, 1890 – October 16, 1946) was a German military commander, attaining the position of Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, or OKW) during World War II, acting as deputy to Wilhelm Keitel. ... The Nuremberg Trials is the general name for two sets of trials of Nazis involved in World War II and the Holocaust. ... Combatants Soviet Union,[1] Poland, Tannu Tuva (until 1944 incorporation with USSR), Mongolia Germany,[2] Italy (to 1943), Romania (to 1944), Finland (to 1944), Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Spain (to 1943, unofficial) Commanders Joseph Stalin, Aleksei Antonov, Ivan Konev, Rodion Malinovsky, Ivan Bagramyan, Kirill Meretskov, Ivan Petrov, Alexander Rodimtsev, Konstantin Rokossovsky... Combatants Poland Germany Soviet Union Slovakia Commanders Edward Rydz-Śmigły Fedor von Bock (Army Group North) Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group South) Ferdinand Čatloš (Field Army Bernolak) Strength 39 divisions 16 brigades 4,300 guns 880 tanks 400 aircraft Total: 1,000,000[1] 56 German divisions, 33+ Soviet...


Casualties

Approximately over 5,533,000 German soldiers and from other nationalities fighting for the German army are considered killed or MIA in World War II. The number of wounded surpasses the 6,000,000 and the number of Prisoners of war reaches 11,000,000. Making a total of 22 million casualties from all causes during that conflict.[4]


Politics of the Wehrmacht

Due to the constitution of Weimar Republic any soldier of the Reichswehr was neither allowed to become a member of a political party nor to vote in an election because there was a strict separation between politics and the armed forces. The same applied later to the Wehrmacht. Most of its leadership was politically conservative and therefore not in favour of a Nazi revolution conducted by “uneducated proletarians". However, after Adolf Hitler gained power he had promised to rebuild Germany's military strength and thus some officers became sympathetic towards the National Socialist movement. Political influence in the military command began to increase later in the war when Hitler's flawed strategic decisions began showing up as serious defeats for the German Army and tensions mounted between the military and the government. When Hitler appointed unqualified personnel such as Heinrich Himmler to lead his armies failure ensued. He also gave to his commanders impossible orders, such as to shoot all officers and enlisted men who retreated from a front line. Anthem Das Lied der Deutschen Germany during the Weimar period, with the Free State of Prussia (in blue) as the largest state Capital Berlin Language(s) German Government Republic President  - 1918-1925 Friedrich Ebert  - 1925-1933 Paul von Hindenburg Chancellor  - 1919 Philipp Scheidemann(first)  - 1933 Kurt von Schleicher (last) Legislature... Heinrich Luitpold Himmler ( ; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was commander of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and the Nazi hierarchy. ...


Resistance to the Nazi regime

Main article: German Resistance

From all groups of German Resistance those within the Wehrmacht were the most feared by the Nazis. There were several attempts by resistance members like Henning von Tresckow or Erich Hoepner to assassinate Hitler as an ignition of a coup d'état. Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff and Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche-Streithorst even tried to do so by suicide bombing. Those and many other officers in the Heer and Kriegsmarine such as Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and Wilhelm Canaris opposed the atrocities of the Hitler regime .Combined with Hitler's problematic if not senseless military leadership, this also culminated in the famous 20 July plot (1944), when a group of German Army officers led by von Stauffenberg tried again to kill Hitler and overthrow his regime. Following this attempt every officer who approached Hitler was searched from head to foot by his SS guards. As a special degradation all German military personnel were ordered to replace the standard military salute with the Hitler salute from this date on. To which extent the German military forces were in opposition to the Hitler regime or supported it is nevertheless highly disputed amongst historians up to the present day. Bust of Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (Memorial to the German Resistance, Berlin) The German Resistance refers to those individuals and groups in Nazi Germany who opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler between 1933 and 1945. ... Bust of Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (Memorial to the German Resistance, Berlin) The German Resistance refers to those individuals and groups in Nazi Germany who opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler between 1933 and 1945. ... Henning Hermann Robert Karl von Tresckow (January 10, 1901 – July 21, 1944) was a Major General in the German Wehrmacht who is known for organizing German resistance against Hitler. ... Erich Hoepner Erich Hoepner (September 14, 1886 - August 8, 1944) was a German general in World War II. Hoepner was born in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany and served in the German Army during World War I. He remained in the army in the post-war years and reached the... Coup redirects here. ... Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff (March 27, 1905–January 27, 1980) was a military officer in Germany’s Weimar-period Reichswehr and Nazi-period Wehrmacht. ... Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche-Streithorst (24 April 1919 - 26 January 1993), usually referred to as Axel von dem Bussche in English, was a German Army officer and member of the German Resistance to Adolf Hitlers regime. ... Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf[1] von Stauffenberg (15 November 1907 – 21 July 1944) was a German army officer and one of the leading figures of the failed July 20 Plot of 1944 to kill Adolf Hitler and seize power in Germany. ... Wilhelm Franz Canaris (January 1, 1887 – April 9, 1945) was a German admiral and head of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, from 1935 to 1944. ... Claus von Stauffenberg The July 20 Plot was an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Germany, on July 20, 1944. ... Adolf Hitler and others at a Nazi party rally, Nuremberg, Germany, performing the salute. ...


Prominent members

Prominent German officers from the Wehrmacht era include:

Ludwig Beck General Ludwig Beck (June 29, 1880 – July 21, 1944) was Chief of Staff of the German Armed forces during the early years of the Nazi regime in Germany before World War II. Born in Biebrich in Hesse-Nassau, he was educated in the conservative Prussian military tradition. ... Fedor von Bock (December 3, 1880 - May 4, 1945) was an officer in the German military from 1898 to 1942, attaining the rank of Generalfeldmarschall during World War 2. ... Walther von Brauchitsch in 1939. ... This article is about the World War II general Heinz Guderian. ... Franz Halder Franz Ritter Halder (June 30, 1884 – April 2, 1972) was a German General and the head of the Army General Staff from 1938 until September 1942, when he was dismissed after frequent disagreements with Adolf Hitler. ... General Hermann Hoth Hermann Papa Hoth (12 April 1885 - 26 January 1971) was a general of the Third Reich during World War II, notable for victories in France and on the Eastern Front, and later, after serving six years in prison for war crimes, as a writer on military history. ... Ewald von Kleist Ewald von Kleist Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist (August 8, 1881, Braunfels an der Lahn - ca. ... ==Biography== Albrecht von Kesselring (August 8, 1881 - July 16, 1960) was a Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. One of the most respected and skillful generals of Nazi Germany, he was nicknamed Smiling Albert or Smiling Kesselring. At least one source claims that Kesselring was born on August 8, 1881 [2... Günther von Kluge Günther von Kluge (nicknamed Hans) (October 30, 1882 - August 19, 1944), was a German military leader. ... Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... General Friedrich Olbricht Friedrich Olbricht (born 4 October 1888 in Leisnig, Saxony; died 21 July 1944 in Berlin) was a German general and one of the plotters involved in the attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler at the Wolfs Lair in East Prussia on 20 July 1944. ... Friedrich Paulus. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most famous German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (4 April 1889 - 11 September 1962), was a German colonel-general of cavalry, serving during World War II. He was born in Ernsdorf, Germany in 1889, the son of General Sixt von Arnim. ... Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt (December 12, 1875 - February 24, 1953) was a Generalfeldmarschall of the German Army during World War II. He held some of the highest field commands in all phases of the war. ... Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf[1] von Stauffenberg (15 November 1907 – 21 July 1944) was a German army officer and one of the leading figures of the failed July 20 Plot of 1944 to kill Adolf Hitler and seize power in Germany. ... Job-Wilhelm Georg Erwin von Witzleben (born 4 December 1881 in Breslau; died 8 August 1944 in Berlin, executed) was a German army officer (by 1940 a Generalfeldmarschall) and in the Second World War an Army commander and a resistance fighter in the July 20 Plot. ...

After World War II

Following the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht which went into effect on 8 May 1945, some Wehrmacht units remained active, either independently (e.g. in Norway), or under Allied command as police forces.[5] By the end of August 1945, these units had been dissolved, and a year later on 20 August 1946, the Allied Control Council declared the Wehrmacht as officially abolished (Kontrollratsgesetz No. 34). While Germany was forbidden to have an army, Allied forces took advantage of the knowledge of Wehrmacht members like Reinhard Gehlen. is the 128th day of the year (129th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... is the 232nd day of the year (233rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Kammergericht, Headquarters of the Allied Control Council The Allied Control Council or Allied Control Authority, known in German as the Alliierter Kontrollrat, also referred to as the Four Powers, was a military occupation governing body of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany after the end of World War II in... Reinhard Gehlen (April 3, 1902 – June 8, 1979) was a Major General in the Nazi Wehrmacht during World War II, with the position of chief of intelligence-gathering on the Eastern Front. ...


It was over ten years before the tensions of the Cold War led to the creation of separate military forces in the Federal Republic of Germany and the socialist German Democratic Republic. The West German military, officially created on 5 May 1955, took the name Bundeswehr, meaning Federal Defence Forces, which pointed back to the old Reichswehr. Its East German counterpart, created on 1 March 1956, took the name National People's Army (Nationale Volksarmee). Both organizations employed many former Wehrmacht members, particularly in their formative years. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... “East Germany” redirects here. ... is the 125th day of the year (126th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... The Bundeswehr (German for Federal Defence Force;  ) is the name of the unified armed forces of Germany. ... is the 60th day of the year (61st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A car from 1956 Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The National People’s Army (German: Nationale Volksarmee) served as the military of the German Democratic Republic. ...


See also

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Wehrmacht

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... The Bundeswehr (German for Federal Defence Force;  ) is the name of the unified armed forces of Germany. ... Reichswehr flag (1921-1935). ... The Armenian Legion was the name given to the 812th Armenian Battalion which was a foreign unit comprised of about 18,000 Armenians that were conscripted into the German Wehrmacht during World War II. Many of these soldiers were Soviet Red Army POWs. ... The Bundeswehr is the armed forces of Germany. ... The German General Staff, (Großer Generalstab, literally, Great General Staff) was an institution whose rise and development gave the German military a decided advantage over its adversaries. ... Waffen-SS recruitment poster; Volunteer to the Waffen-SS The Waffen-SS was the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel. ... When in 1933 German dictator Adolf Hitler gained power, the world was little (if at all), aware of the intensity and duration of the armed conflict that would follow in just a few short years. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Bust of Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (Memorial to the German Resistance, Berlin) The German Resistance refers to those individuals and groups in Nazi Germany who opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler between 1933 and 1945. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The seal of the Deutsches Afrikakorps. ... As the number of German armed forces committed to the North Africa Campaign of World War II grew from the initial commitment of a small corps the Germans developed a more elaborate command structure and placed the now larger Afrika Korps, with Italian units under this new German command structure...

References

  1. ^ http://www.verbrechen-der-wehrmacht.de/pdf/vdw_en.pdf
  2. ^ http://www.ipn.gov.pl/a_130804_wehrmacht_wyst.html
  3. ^ ,http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=469883&in_page_id=1879
  4. ^ Rűdiger Overmans (2000). Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Wikipedia, 335. ISBN 3-486-56531-1. 
  5. ^ Alexander Fischer: „Teheran – Jalta – Potsdam“, Die sowjetischen Protokolle von den Kriegskonferenzen der „Großen Drei“, mit Fußnoten aus den Aufzeichnungen des US Department of State, Köln 1968, S.322 und 324
  • Max Hastings, Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy 1944, 1985, reissued 1999, Pan, ISBN 0-330-39012-0
  • Max Hastings, Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1945, 2004, Macmillan, ISBN 0-333-90836-8
  • Anthony A Evans, World War II: An Illustrated Miscellany, 2005, Worth Press, ISBN 1-84567-681-5
  • Geoffrey P. Megargee, "War of Annihilation. Combat and Genocide on the Eastern Front, 1941", 2006, Rowman & Littelefield, ISBN 0-7425-4481
  • W.J.K. Davies, German Army Handbook, 1973, Ian Allen Ltd., Shepperton, Surrey, ISBN 0-7110-0290-8
  • Fest, Joachim; Plotting Hitler's Death -- The Story of the German Resistance, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1996. ISBN 0-8050-4213-X

Sir Max Hastings (born December 28, 1945) is a British journalist, editor, historian and author. ... Sir Max Hastings (born December 28, 1945) is a British journalist, editor, historian and author. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Die Wehrmacht (1500 words)
Mit der Namensänderung von Reichswehr in Wehrmacht änderte sich 1935 auch offen die während der Weimarer Republik entwickelte Defensivstrategie der Armee.
Heroische Darstellungen von der Kampf- und Opferbereitschaft von Soldaten der Wehrmacht auf Gemälden, Plakaten und Postkarten standen in starkem Kontrast zu ihren alltäglichen Fronterfahrungen sowie zu den von ihnen erlebten Strapazen und Schrecken des Kriegs.
Ausländische Verbände in der Wehrmacht setzten sich größtenteils aus Kriegsgefangenen oder in den besetzten sowjetischen Gebieten rekrutierten "Osttruppen" sowie aus West- und Nordeuropäern zusammen.
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