November 30, 2021
The Wehrmacht (German: Wehrmacht) is the name of Nazi Germany's armed forces from 1935 to 1945. The Wehrmacht consisted of the Army (Army), the Kriegsmarine (Navy) and the Luftwaffe (Air Force). The name Wehrmacht for the army of Nazi Germany replaced the previously used name Reichswehr, used during the period of the Weimar Republic. The Wehrmacht was the result of Nazi Germany's efforts to arm itself more than the Peace of Versailles allowed. After Germany's defeat in World War I, the Peace of Versailles allowed it a limited army of only 100,000 members, barely enough to defend the country. After the Nazi conquest of power, one of Hitler's most open and daring moves was to form a powerful modern army, fully capable of offensive actions. Fulfilling the long-term goal of the Nazi regime to regain lost territories and rule over neighbors required large investments in the arms industry, as well as recruitment to expand the army. In December 1941, Hitler appointed himself the supreme commander of the Wehrmacht. The Wehrmacht represented the core of German political and military power. In the early stages of World War II, Hitler's generals used blitzkrieg, an innovative gender combination tactic (close air support, mechanized armored units, and infantry), very successfully. The new military structure of the Wehrmacht, unique combat techniques, newly developed weapons and unprecedented speed broke their opponents. At the peak of their success in 1942, the Nazis ruled over more than 3,898,000 km of territory. Acting sometimes together with SS formations, soldiers on the front (especially on the Eastern Front) sometimes committed war crimes. By the end of the war in Europe, the Wehrmacht had lost about 11,300,000 men, about half of whom were killed in combat. Only a few senior officers have been tried for war crimes. Although it more or less ceased to exist by September 1945, the Wehrmacht was officially dissolved by Law No. 34 of the Allied Control Council. The Wehrmacht had no direct successor in post-war Germany and was completely replaced by the Bundeswehr, which renounced the tradition of the disbanded Wehrmacht.