Wiederbewaffnung

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Wiederbewaffnung (rearmament) refers to the United States of America plan to help build up West Germany after World War II. They could not function outside an alliance framework.[1] These events led to the establishment of the Bundeswehr, the West German army, in 1955.

Heinz Guderian stated that the fight was mainly between the Soviet Union and the United States. “People resent the fact that while the United States followed a policy of German disarmament and of friendship with Russia after the war, it now advocates rearmament they could just as easily argue that it was for cooperation with the Soviet Union and to change its policy”.[2]

During the NATO meeting in September 1950 France decided to become isolated for the operation because they did not want Germany to join NATO. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) wanted to join NATO because the then German chancellor Konrad Adenauer decided that it would appease the fears of its neighbors and it would gain Germany's trust and show willingness to cooperate.[3] At first the US was skeptical about the whole operation, but after Dwight D Eisenhower agreed to endorse the deal then the US was for the operation. The Federal Republic of Germany in Paris, France, agreed to support the operation.[4] In 1955 West Germany joined NATO.

East and West Germany were still then unarmed but had defense systems (western Bundesgrenzschutz and eastern Kasernierte Volkspolizei). Slowly, West German sailors were put on US navy ships and also West Germany helped to supply the navy. This whole operation was West Germany to possess an effective military force. The US supplied the potential sailors with intensive training to help build up the navy for the future as West Germany set a goal to have up to 50,000 men. Theodor Blank wanted to have a bigger military than Italy because he wanted to project German power and make bigger contributions.[5] To get his point across he used this chart:

Country Peacetime Military Strength in Thousands Percentage of population
United States 2865 1.8
United Kingdom 772 1.5
France 850 2.0
Belgium 145 1.65
Netherlands 125 1.2
West Germany 500 1.0

To reach that goal they took the West German border security force (Bundesgrenzschutz) and changed them into military personal, they used young men having “difficulty” finding something useful to do, and then there were men who volunteered. West Germany issued a draft. At first West Germany was skeptical of that because they did not want to have people think about the Hitler army (Wehrmacht). There was enough favor for the new army the state then became a more right sided party. The social democrats still argued that even though the numbers were high and there was enough positive reaction, it would still not be enough to revive German militarism.

To build the military's strength the US established the Naval Historical Team (NHT) to help with the British-American World War II navy historical project. Both countries recruited naval veterans and naval activists to help build up the navy by gaining a better perspective of the war in the water. NHT was not there for long studying the history and tactics for fighting at sea.[4] They were then told to get information about the Soviet naval forces. The first thing they tried to study was the landing and targets of the Soviet navy. Eventually this agency became the coordinating staff of Bundesmarine, the West German navy. Another group of veterans were called the labor service units to do similar tasks. The veterans that were hired were from former Kriegsmarine and they did a lot of converting of surveillance. Eventually the operations were set to the ground as well. Chancellor Adenauer created the Blank Office (Amt Blank) to gain sovereignty through the defense contribution. He also hired Kriegsmarine veterans to work with him.[4] With the different organizations working together a naval proposal referred to as the Wagner Paper was adopted to use as a negotiation tool at the conference of the European Defence Community (ECD). The ECD was held in Paris and it became a dead lock for all the navel issues in 1951. France did not approve of West Germany having its own navy for defense. They did not want them to have submarines or destroyers as a part of their navy because it was a threat to France and the weapons were perceived as Nazi regime. The resolve the issue the Wagner Paper was sent to the SHAPE organization. SHAPE wanted the navy to have weapons and have a big navy. Eventually France came to a conclusion, they offered some escorts and they got their desired size on the navy. The West German military was under the supreme allied NATO control. This hurt the militaries command positions.[6]

The growth of the German Bundeswehr proved a key element in the growth of West German influence in central Europe. This, along with the Treaty of Paris which cemented the elements of Western European economic cooperation helped to integrate post-war West Germany into European life. At the same time, the Soviet Union used this as foundational justification to implement the Warsaw Pact, which provided substantial military and political control over key Eastern European states.[7] In April 1985 Eastern Europe got together in Warsaw to sign an extension to the 1955 Treaty on Friendship. The Warsaw pact ensured that it will be a part of the international political and military for years to come.[8] It has been used to develop some other Eastern European militaries in a reasonable manner so there is no conflict between ranks, power, and alliances.

References[edit]

  • Guderian, Heinz, Kann Westeuropa verteidigt werden?, Göttingen, 1950; and idem, So geht es nicht, Heidelberg, 1951.
  • Snyder, David R.,” Arming the "Bundesmarine": The United States and the Build-Up of the German Federal Navy, 1950-1960” The Journal of Military History, Vol. 66, No. 2. (Apr., 2002), pp. 477–500.
  • Speier, Hans. German Rearmament and Atomic War. Evanston, Illinois: Row, Peterson and Company, 1957.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ David R. Snyder,” Arming the Bundesmarine: The United States and the Build-Up of the German Federal Navy, 1950-1960” The Journal of Military History, Vol. 66, No. 2. (Apr., 2002), pp. 477-500.
  2. ^ Heinz Guderian, Kann Westeuropa verteidigt warden?, Göttingen, 1950; and idem, So geht es nicht, Heidelberg, 1951.
  3. ^ Hans Speier, German Rearmament and Atomic War. Evanston, Illinois: Row, Peterson and Company, 1957. 198
  4. ^ a b c David R. Snyder,” Arming the "Bundesmarine": The United States and the Build-Up of the German Federal Navy, 1950-1960” The Journal of Military History, Vol. 66, No. 2. (Apr., 2002), pp. 477-500.
  5. ^ Hans Speier, German Rearmament and Atomic War. Evanston, Illinois: Row, Peterson and Company, 1957, 196
  6. ^ Hans Speier, German Rearmament and Atomic War. Evanston, Illinois: Row, Peterson and Company, 1957, 199
  7. ^ Halsall, Paul. "TREATY OF FRIENDSHIP, CO-OPERATION AND MUTUAL ASSISTANCE." Modern History Sourcebook. November 1998 . Internet Modern History Sourcebook. 18 Feb 2008 <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1955warsawpact.html>.
  8. ^ Curtis, Glenn . "THE WARSAW PACT." THE WARSAW PACT. Czechoslovakia: A Country Study. 17 Feb 2008 <http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/WarPact.html>.