German Army

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Part of the Reichssturmfahne (imperial storm flag), the black, red and gold battle flag or war ensign of the Holy Roman Empire with the imperial eagle (Reichsadler)

The German Army (German: Deutsches Heer) refers to the armed forces of Germany. The term "Heer" in the German language can mean not only army (ground force or land force), but, especially before navy and air force were introduced, also the armed forces as a whole (also sometimes called "Armee").

Chronology of the German armed forces

A Genius For War The German Army and General Staff, 1807-1945.jpg
History Of The German Army Keith Simpson.jpg
German soldiers of the Bundeswehr

German Legion

  • Legio I Germanica (48 BC – AD 70), a legion in the Roman army in Germania
  • King's German Legion (1803–1816), a unit of the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars
  • Russian-German Legion (1812–1815), a unit of the Imperial Russian Army and, later, the Prussian Army
  • German Legion (Philhellenes) [el] (c. 1823), a unit of volunteers from Germany in the Greek War of Independence, at the call of Professor Friedrich Wilhelm von Thiersch
  • German Democratic Legion (1849–1849), a unit involved in the Revolution of 1848 in Baden
  • British German Legion (1853–1856), a unit of the British Army in the Crimean War
  • Independent Battalion of New York Volunteer Infantry (1862–1864), also known as German Legion, a unit of the Union Army during the American Civil War
  • German Legion (1919), a unit of the Freikorps in the Baltic
  • Condor Legion (1936–1939), a unit of volunteers from Germany in the Spanish Civil War


See also

External links


  1. Military review: Students of modern military history will agree that one of the most influential elements of the modern command system in most if not all countries has been the legacy of the German General Staff System, developed under the auspices of The Reformers (Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Clausewitz, Grolman and Boyen) following the collapse of the Prussian military at the Battles of Jena and Auerstadt in 1807. Dupuy’s work traces the development, institutionalization and influence of this system on the German military and, by extension, State up to the end of 1945. This is a brilliant analysis of the staff system. Revolutionary in scope and visionary in implementation; it served to transform the Prussian and German States from a third rate power to the standard by which other militaries were measured. While the narrative is clear and logical, there are three elements which stand out as being key to the success and ultimate failure of the German military. The first two and the foundation of the system (and that which gave it such resiliency and capacity) was the Founders success at “Institutionalizing Military Excellence”. This entailed ensuring the development and maintenance of a military as free as possible from the ‘vagaries of change’ resultant from human fallibility. In effect ensuring military excellence regardless of the influence of changing leadership. Dupuy provides an insightful and concise discourse on how the Germans developed a process of ensuring an Army of consistent and reliable ‘Organizational Genius’ while concurrently providing the structure within which leaders of ‘Operational Genius’ were developed. Additionally, the military leadership was to remain aloof and disconnected to the political machinations of the State. The third aspect that they endeavoured to implement, but were ultimately unsuccessful, was ensuring that the military and its leadership were seen and understood to be tools of and accountable to the people of Prussia and ultimately, Germany. Where this failed was in the relationship between the Kaiser and the Reichstag (or Parliament). The Kaiser insisted upon an Army that was loyal to and controlled by Him. Thus it was that the leadership and the Army swore fealty to the Kaiser and not to Germany (as represented by the people). The book goes a long way towards providing an explanation as to why the German Army remained an effective, focussed fighting force right up until the last days of the Second World War. It also, by extension, explains why the military did not intervene with the rise of Hitler and also swore an oath to him. Dupuy’s analysis shows the strength of the system that the Germans had created and how it translated into such an effective military force. Additionally, the dangers of providing such an effective tool to an individual as opposed to an accountable entity is also made abundantly clear. This is a great book, logically laid out and comprehensive in its scope. It serves as an outstanding review of the strengths and weaknesses of the German Staff system.