Talk:German General Staff

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The introduction is pretty poor. I have absolutely no idea what the German General Staff is after reading it... -- Pluke 22:23, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree it was not clear, so editors have continue to add more background explanatory information. The key concept is that the General Staff was the first full-time, war as well as peacetime organization of extremely gifted and carefully chosen officers who did operational and logistics planning for the Army. The selection of these officers was no longer limited to the German nobility although the nobility continued to provide the bulk of the talent. Every candidate, noble an non-noble was carefully screened by a selection and training process that started with universal exams administered to interested boys throughout the German Empire. Prior to that, great planners often only appeared because of the threat of war or actual warfare. So much of the planning that goes into War making has to happen LONG before an actual war is declared. The Germans realized that they could no longer afford to leave this planning to chance nor to the talents of a particular monarch. So they began the process of what Colonel Trevor N. Dupuy calls the "institutionalization of military excellence." That's what we have made edits to better explain these things. SimonATL 21:59, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

All in the details[edit]

1Q: "the Prussian Army's top 120 junior officers"? Junior? I doubt there were many Lts... Can somebody specify?

Quoted from McElwee, "Waterloo to Mons". The phrase "junior officers" probably also embraced Captains. However, the secret of the training system was to pick the most promising officers when young. HLGallon 00:40, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Also, re this:

"In the French (and British) armies of the time, there was an anti-intellectual prejudice in favour of brave and unimaginative regimental officers over intelligent and well-trained staff officers."

This persisted, at least in British case, into WW2. Include that factoid here, or no? Trekphiler 23:03, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Probably irrelevant to the period under discussion. HLGallon 00:40, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Making a production out of it[edit]

I rewrote this:

"Also, for all the duration German industry could not furnish small arms in sufficient quantities, forcing the Army to rely heavily on older weapons, prizes of war, and adaptations of former designs produced in conquered countries, thus producing an arsenal filled with a stunning array of incompatible pieces, unlike the smaller number of standard small arms used by the Allies."

Hitler insisted on maintaining civilian production, to maintain morale, as well as believing the war would be short. Also, it isn't just a matter of rifles, but tanks & motor vehicles.

In re women in the workforce, this was opposed by Hitler, too.

Also, looking at list of World War II firearms of Germany, I'm not surprised it features large numbers of captured weapons. Armies routinely use captured stocks of weapons & ammo; it saves having to manufacture & transport. The Germans were compelled to it, but look at pix of WW2 U.S. tanks; they're festooned with captured gear.

Trekphiler 23:25 & 23:28, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

You're so fine[edit]

I'd add the fact that "the Prussian General Staff system gave Germans about ten times as many really good generals" as the Allies. Or so says Dyer, in War, as I recall... Maybe it was Dupuy in Evolution of Weapons & Warfare. Include it? Trekphiler 00:07, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Early history[edit]

May add some detail, important developments in staff work, esp. where I can use Dupuy or his sources. Hotfeba 23:26, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Over-emphasis on von Moltke's role in unification[edit]

Bismark's diplomacy and intrigues were much more important to the unification of Germany, while von Moltke was aware that his own role was the preparation of the King's army for mobilization and action against military enemies, including the pre-incorporated states. In combination, the actions of von Moltke and Bismark did result in unification, but there is no historical evidence that the staff under von Moltke incorporated the forces of the independent German states into friendly Prussian planning until after the unification; von Moltke had little if anything to do with the steps leading to unification except to provide Bismark with the leverage needed to make his diplomatic work that much easier. Hotfeba 16:27, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Rated as high importance[edit]

The material covered by this article is highly significant to understanding the military and political actions taken by Prussia and Germany in history. The adoption of Prussian military staff techniques by all modern armed forces of industrialized nations supports the high importance rating of this article within the Wikipedia. If a concensus on suitable quality is reached, the article should be top-rated in the Germany project; the top-importance rating in the military history project is not unreasonable. Hotfeba 19:43, 28 July 2007 (UTC)


I take issue with the harsh criticalness of the staff and WWI. The article makes some strong assertions on hotly debated subjects and cites very limited sources. An unsigned article should not put forth the strong opinions of the author but rather cite and attribute opinions and indicate where there is conflict among authorities. 98uuy65; Qaemul 20:42, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes; see comments below regarding possible OR. Hotfeba (talk) 22:44, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I have not yet obtained a copy of de Landa's book, but a reading of the Wikipedia article on it that analyzes the text shows some remarkable inconsistencies in light of this article on the GGS, citing Prussian mission tactics as an example of decentralized thinking, in relation to this article's implication that the staff that gave rise to mission tactics was too centralized in its thinking to adopt winning strategies in the world wars. Since the text article admits that de Landa's conclusions were adaptations or revisions of others' revisionistic ideas, one wonders at the suitability of de Landa's re-interpretations of history as a source for this article. Hotfeba (talk) 19:01, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Citation and sourcing[edit]

Despite the critism of the article I enjoyed it. There remains a problem in that the inline citation is woefully lacking. I am one of the contributing editors of the Battle of Waterloo and you might look at that article for where your citations level should be. If this article is expanded with examples and citations this subject has the ability to be an FA class article.

Examples: Prussian Army Command and control during the 100 days campaign, defeated, reorganised, and defeated Napoleon in 48 hours. Something that the other 2 armies couldn't do. Note the tight control of coordination of the 4 corps and compare to the lack thereof by Armie du Nord.

Again you see it in the Austro-Prussian war and again at the Franco-Prussian war. C3I is the prevalent theme here and should be noted by examples throughout. There should be enough material to cite from to sink sevral battleships. Tirronan 02:09, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

I concur with your analysis regarding the lack of in-line citation. Personally, I am tempted to brand the conclusion of the second paragraph in the section leading up to and including World War I as OR, but I am going to have a look at de Landa's book anyways. In any case, Dupuy gives coverage of the Reformer's views on the Landwehr issue and the failure of the King to adopt a military constitution around 1810 (see Dupuy's A Genius for War, chapters 3 & 4), leading to his published conclusions on the lack of accountability of the military to civilian authority, currently a better explanation of what happened to the GGS in the world wars rather than the unsupported statement that exists in the article now.
I do not consider the article ready for any featured status, but I still think that it is of the highest importance due to its relevance in understanding the development of modern military staffing systems. Hotfeba (talk) 22:40, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

André Chéradame[edit]

I have removed the following text from the article:

"According to french scholar André Chéradame by 1941, Germany when invaded the Soviet Union was somehow just implementing another part of a long-term Pan-Germanist, militarist plan to first dominate Europe and then, the rest of the world. To stop the German expansionist plans, he correctly predicted that to develop a huge Allied Air Power superiority during the war and to completely dismantle the German military institutions after that was the only ways to assure a future non-aggressive Germany.[22]"

The first problem with this passage is that poor grammar and wording makes it nearly unintelligible. But the main issues are that it deals with a subject beyond the scope of the article (Allied air superiority's importance in WWII) and presents an opinion as a fact (that dismantling German military institutions was the only way to prevent future German aggression).

I am noting this because I am afraid that later edits will quickly revert to add the text back. I am not totally opposed to inclusion of material regarding André Chéradame on the staff system, but if it is included the problems I have identified need to be addressed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Baron von HoopleDoople (talkcontribs) 20:43, 8 October 2009 (UTC)


Missing the General Staff of the Luftwaffe and its variyng organization. Wschroedter (talk) 23:01, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Probably requires only a link to the article on the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, which definitely requires some serious attention. I would oppose including much text of the Luftwaffe's staff organisation, except to illustrate points of commonality with the Army's General Staff. The Luftwaffe had none of the historical development and continuity of the Army General Staff and was far more greatly politicised from its creation. HLGallon (talk) 01:43, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree completely with you. However, the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe is not the same as the Generalstab der Luftwaffe which was only a part of it, and there has been a time with a Genst.Lw. without an O.K.L. - Well, I see, I should start writing something along these lines over there. Problem is that I have some material but nearly no time. Nevertheless, I'll see what I can do. I'd like to start with a redirect page Generalstab der Luftwaffe redirecting to the OKL, and then add some of this comment to the OKL talk page. If you added your proposed text - in the intro or as a see-also - you could then link to Generalstab der Luftwaffe. Wschroedter (talk) 19:53, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:German General Staff/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

== Rated as high importance, Germany == See talk page comments on high importance rating. Hotfeba 19:42, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 19:42, 28 July 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 16:09, 29 April 2016 (UTC)