Reichswehr

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War Ensign of the Vorläufige (preliminary or provisional) Reichswehr (1919–1921)
War Ensign of the Reichswehr after 1921

The Reichswehr (English: Imperial Defence) formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was united with the new Wehrmacht (English: Defence Force).

History

Due to the Versailles Treaty, the Reichswehr was limited to a standing army of 100,000 men and a navy of 15,00. Heavy weapons such as armoured vehicles, submarines and capital ships were forbidden, as were aircraft of any kind.

The Reichswehr was a unified organization composed of the following (as was allowed by the Versailles Treaty):

  • The Reichsheer, an army consisting of:
    • seven infantry divisions, and
    • three cavalry divisions.
  • The Reichsmarine, a navy with a limited number of certain types of ships and boats.

Despite the limitations, the Reichswehr conducted analysis of the loss of World War I, research and development, and secret testing abroad in co-operation with the Soviet Union. See also Soviet offensive plans controversy. After the NSDAP came to power in 1933, the Reichswehr began a secret program of expansion, which became public in 1935.

Leadership

Stahlhelm "M18" of the Reichswehr with federal state coat of arms

Head of the Army Command (Chef der Heeresleitung):

  • Generalmajor Walther Reinhardt – 13 September 1919 (with effect from 1 October) to 22 March 1920 (191 days)
  • Generalmajor Hans von Seeckt – 26 March 1920 (official appointment on 5 June 1920) to 9 October 1926[1] (6 years, 197 days)
  • Generalleutnant Wilhelm Heye – 9 October 1926[2] to 31 October 1930 (4 years, 22 days)
  • General der Infanterie Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord – 1 November 1930 to 31 January 1934 (3 years, 91 days)
  • Generalleutnant Werner Freiherr von Fritsch – 1 February 1934 to 1 June 1935 (1 year, 120 days)

Commander-in-chief of the Army/Wehrmacht (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres):

  • General der Artillerie Werner Freiherr von Fritsch – 1 June 1935 to 4 February 1938 (2 years, 248 days)

Chef des Truppenamtes

Chief of the Troop Office (Chef des Truppenamtes), de facto the in Versailles forbidden German General Staff:

  • Generalmajor Hans von Seeckt – 1 October 1919 to 27 March 1920 (de jure until 4 June 1920)
  • Generalmajor Wilhelm Heye – 5 June 1920 to 31 March 1922 (since 28 March 1920 commissioned with the duties)
  • Generalmajor Otto Hasse – 1 April 1922 to 31 January 1926
  • Generalmajor Georg Wetzell – 1 February 1926 to 31 March 1927
  • Generalmajor Werner von Blomberg – 1 April 1927 to 30 September 1929
  • Generalleutnant Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord – 1 October 1929 to 31 October 1930
  • Generalmajor Wilhelm Adam – 31 October 1930 to 30 September 1933

See also

External links

References

  1. Some sources state with effect from 31 October 1926
  2. Some sources state with effect from 1 November 1926