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Reichswehr

1921–1935 combined military forces of Germany / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Reichswehr (lit.'Reich Defense') was the official name of the German armed forces during the Weimar Republic and the first years of the Third Reich. After Germany was defeated in World War I, the Imperial German Army (Deutsches Heer) was dissolved in order to be reshaped into a peacetime army. From it a provisional Reichswehr was formed in March 1919. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the rebuilt German army was subject to severe limitations in size and armament. The official formation of the Reichswehr took place on 1 January 1921 after the limitations had been met. The German armed forces kept the name 'Reichswehr' until Adolf Hitler's 1935 proclamation of the "restoration of military sovereignty", at which point it became part of the new Wehrmacht.

Quick facts: Reichswehr, Founded, Disbanded, Service branc...
Reichswehr
War ensign of the Reichswehr
Founded6 March 1919; 103 years ago (6 March 1919)
Disbanded16 March 1935; 87 years ago (16 March 1935)
Service branches
HeadquartersZossen, Brandenburg
Leadership
Commander-in-chiefFriedrich Ebert (1919–25)
Paul von Hindenburg (1925–34)
Adolf Hitler (1934–35)
Minister of DefenceSee list
Chief of the ministerial officeSee list
Personnel
Military age18–45
ConscriptionNo
Active personnel115,000 (1921)
Related articles
HistoryGerman Revolution
Greater Poland uprising
Silesian Uprisings
Ruhr Uprising
RanksMilitary ranks of the Reichswehr
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Although ostensibly apolitical, the Reichswehr acted as a state within a state, and its leadership was an important political power factor in the Weimar Republic. The Reichswehr sometimes supported the democratic government, as it did in the Ebert-Groener Pact when it pledged its loyalty to the Republic, and sometimes backed anti-democratic forces through such means as the Black Reichswehr, the illegal paramilitary groups it sponsored in contravention of the Versailles Treaty. The Reichswehr saw itself as a cadre army that would preserve the expertise of the old imperial military and form the basis for German rearmament.