July 6, 2022

The Wehrmacht (from the German Wehr - defense, German Macht - strength) is the armed forces of Nazi Germany, which existed during 1935-1945. The Wehrmacht was created according to the law of March 16, 1935. The base for the creation and deployment of the armed forces was the Reichswehr, renamed after the introduction of general military service. The Wehrmacht consisted of the Ground Forces, the Air Force (Luftwaffe) and the Navy (Kriegsmarine). The Wehrmacht was officially dissolved by Allied Control Council Act No. 34 of August 20, 1946. The Bundeswehr was later created in its place.


According to the Law on the Creation of the Wehrmacht, the number of divisions was to increase to 36, and the total strength of the ground army was to reach 500,000 people. Military formations of the SS ("Waffen-SS"), the number of which by the end of the war amounted to more than a million people, were not formally part of the Wehrmacht, but were subordinated to its Supreme Command (OKV). The Wehrmacht was headed by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces of Germany (OKV), under which the ground forces, the Air Force and the Navy were subordinated. The OKV included: an operational department (General A. Jodl), military intelligence and counter-intelligence - Abwehr (chief - Admiral V. Canaris), an economic department dealing with the supply and armament of the army (R. Thomas) and general management. General V. Keitel is the chief of staff of the OKV. Another highest military body was the OKG — command of the ground forces (V. Brauhich, F. Halder, F. Paulus). Commander of the Air Force (Luftwaffe) — H. Goering. Navy (Krigsmarine) — E. Reder. But the most important were OKV and OKG, which, in fact, competed with each other. The Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht was Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler. On the eve of the Second World War, the Wehrmacht numbered 3 million people; its maximum number was 18 million people (December 1943).

Creation History

After the First World War and the armistice of November 11, 1918, the regular armed forces of Germany were disbanded and received the name (German: Friedensheer "army of peace"). However, already in March 1919, a law was passed that provided for the creation of transitional armed forces on the way to restoring the regular army (German: Vorläufige Reichswehr). The terms of the Treaty of Versailles are prohibited