18 Facts About Reichswehr


The Reichswehr was officially formed on January 1,1921, with the Defense Law of March 23,1921 regulating the details.

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Reichswehr was divided into the Reichsheer and the Reichsmarine.

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Until 1924 this unit, as the Bavarian Reichswehr, enjoyed certain rights of autonomy with respect to the Reich government.

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The Reichswehr leadership considered them not only physically superior to young men from the cities but as able to stand up against the "temptations" of social democracy.

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The proposal led to fierce opposition from conservative circles and the Reichswehr, who believed that opening the Reichswehr to all social groups would lower its effectiveness.

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Under the terms of the Versailles Treaty, the Army of the Reichswehr was allowed 4,000 officers, while the Navy could have 1,500 officers and deck officers.

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Since the Reich government did not bring the officer candidate recruitment process under state control, regimental commanders in the Reichswehr continued to be responsible for selecting officer candidates, as they had in the old Imperial Army.

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The Reichswehr cooperated with nationalist Freikorps units when it took action against leftist governments in Thuringia and Saxony in October and November 1923 during the so-called 'Reich Executions' – interventions against an individual state led by the central government to enforce national law.

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The Reichswehr generals maintained close contacts with politically right-wing, anti-republican military associations such as the Stahlhelm and Kyffhauserbund, although the Reichswehr officially described itself as 'apolitical'.

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Reichswehr leadership began early on to circumvent the arms restrictions in the Versailles Treaty through a series of secret and illegal measures.

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In return, the Reichswehr was able to expand secretly in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles.

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Reichswehr was supported by the cabinet, so Hindenburg asked for and received Seeckt's resignation.

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Under his leadership, the Reichswehr intervened in politics more often in order to achieve its goals, with the result that the Republic and the Reichswehr moved closer together.

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Reichswehr did this in his capacity as acting Minister of the Interior, whereas his goal as Defense Minister was to integrate the SA into a non-partisan paramilitary force.

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Reichswehr identified two tendencies that were united in this long-term goal but advocated different methods.

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The Reichswehr hoped for increased efforts to revise the Treaty of Versailles and the building of a strong military and firm state leadership.

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The Reichswehr supported Hitler in taking power away from the SA in the summer of 1934.

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The original seven infantry divisions of the Reichswehr were expanded to 21, with military district headquarters increased to the size of a corps headquarters on October 1,1934.

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