EVDOKIMOVA T.V. Impact оf the First World War оn the Transformation of German Army

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2014.5.7

Evdokimova Tatyana Vasilyevna

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor, Department of General History,

Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University

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Prosp. Lenina, 27, 400066 Volgograd, Russian Federation

Abstract. Germany’s defeat in World War I and proclamation of the first German republic significantly influenced the change of the role of the army in the German state. At the stage of reorganization of the Kaiser’s army into the Reichswehr (1918–1921) the main result of this transformation became the creation of a new model of the German Army in which the principle of “distancing” the army from politics was replaced by new legislative and political realities that raised the question of inevitability of relationship between the army and the state. The Versailles Treaty and the Weimar constitution put forward the task of turning the German army into integral part of the state apparatus which led to losing its apoliticality. They also contributed to the emergence of Reich Ministry and the post of Reich Minister combined in one person the representative of the army and the state power. Besides, they helped to form a united German professional army and provided joint search of allies in the field of armaments by politicians and military men. The army tried to defend the old Prussian military traditions in terms of the German State called itself the Reich, and Weimar politicians sought to put the army under a parliamentary-presidential control. At the later stage of the Weimar Republic political generals will appear in the army, and important government positions will be taken by the representatives of the Generalitat. But the outcome of the force balance already at the stage of development of the temporary Reichswehr, when the real power in the army was in hands of the commander of the ground forces, and not of the Reich President and Reich Minister largely predetermined the strength of the conservative military elite in the future.

Key words: World War I, Kaiser’s army, Reichswehr, Weimar Republic, Versailles Treaty, Weimar constitution, temporary Reichswehr.

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