Insignia of the Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr (German for "Federal Defence Force"; listen (help·info)) consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities. The States of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the German Constitution states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the federal government.
The Bundeswehr is divided into a military part (armed forces or Streitkräfte) and a civil part with the armed forces administration (Wehrverwaltung), the federal bureau of procurement (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung) and the federal bureau for information management and information technology of the Bundeswehr (Bundesamt für Informationsmanagement und Informationstechnik der Bundeswehr, sometimes abbreviated as IT-AmtBw). The military part of the federal defense force consists of Army (Heer), Navy (Marine), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Joint Support Service (Streitkräftebasis), and Central Medical Services (Zentraler Sanitätsdienst) branches.
By international agreement, the Bundeswehr may not exceed an active strength of 370,000. The Bundeswehr currently has 247,100 active troops. Of these, 188,112 are professional soldiers, 25,566 18–25-year-old conscripts, who used to serve for at least six months, until conscription was ended in January 2011, and 33,417 volunteer conscripts serving a longer military service. In addition the Bundeswehr has approximately 350,000 reserve personnel.
Women have served in the medical service since 1975. From 1993 to 2000, they were also allowed to serve as enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers in the medical service and the army bands. In 2000, in a lawsuit brought up by Tanja Kreil, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling allowing women to serve in more roles than previously allowed. Since 2001 they can serve in all functions of service without restriction, but they were not subject to conscription. There are presently around 14,500 women on active duty and a number of female reservists who take part in all duties including peacekeeping missions and other operations. In 1994, Verena von Weymarn became Generalarzt der Luftwaffe ("Surgeon General of the Air Force"), the first woman ever to reach the rank of general in the armed forces of Germany.
docked in Gibraltar in 1936
Admiral Scheer was a Deutschland-class heavy cruiser (often termed a pocket battleship) which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. The vessel was named after Admiral Reinhard Scheer, German commander in the Battle of Jutland. She was laid down at the Reichsmarinewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven in June 1931 and completed by November 1934. Originally classified as an armored ship (Panzerschiff) by the Reichsmarine, in February 1940 the Germans reclassified the remaining two ships of this class as heavy cruisers.
The ship was nominally under the 10,000 long tons (10,000 t) limitation on warship size imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, though with a full load displacement of 15,180 long tons (15,420 t), she significantly exceeded it. Armed with six 28 cm (11 in) guns in two triple gun turrets, Admiral Scheer and her sisters were designed to outgun any cruiser fast enough to catch them. Their top speed of 28 kn (52 km/h; 32 mph) left only a handful of ships in the Anglo-French navies able to catch them and powerful enough to sink them.
Admiral Scheer saw heavy service with the German Navy, including a deployment to Spain during the Spanish Civil War, where she bombarded the port of Almería. Her first operation during World War II was a commerce raiding operation into the southern Atlantic Ocean; she also made a brief foray into the Indian Ocean. During the operation, she sank 113,223 gross register tons (GRT) of shipping, making her the most successful capital ship surface raider of the war. Following her return to Germany, she was deployed to northern Norway to interdict shipping to the Soviet Union. She was part of the abortive attack on Convoy PQ-17 and conducted Operation Wunderland, a sortie into the Kara Sea. After returning to Germany at the end of 1942, the ship served as a training ship until the end of 1944, when she was used to support ground operations against the Soviet Army. She was sunk by British bombers on 9 April 1945 and partially scrapped; the remainder of the wreck lies buried beneath a quay. (Read more)
Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling (Norwegian: [ˈʋɪdkʉn ˈkʋɪʃlɪŋ] ( listen); 18 July 1887 – 24 October 1945) was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat that garnered him international infamy. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President, working with the occupying forces. His government, known as the Quisling regime, was dominated by ministers from Nasjonal Samling, the party he had founded in 1933. The collaborationist government participated in Germany's Final Solution. Quisling was put on trial during the post-war legal purge in Norway and found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason. He was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on 24 October 1945. During World War II, quisling became a synonym for traitor.
The son of a Church of Norway pastor, Quisling blended Christian fundamentals, scientific developments and philosophy into a new theory he called Universism. Before going into politics, he proved himself in the military, joining the General Staff in 1911 and specialising in Russian affairs. He was posted to Russia in 1918, and worked with Fridtjof Nansen during the 1921 famine in the Ukraine, returning to Russia to work with Frederik Prytz in Moscow. When Prytz left in 1927, Quisling stayed on as the Norwegian diplomat responsible for managing British diplomatic affairs. For these services he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by King George V, though the honour was later rescinded. He returned to Norway in 1929, and served as Minister of Defence during the Agrarian governments (1931–33). Although Quisling achieved some popularity after his attacks on the political left, his party never polled well and was little more than peripheral at the time of his 1940 coup. (Read more)