Talk:Military history of Germany

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Military history (Rated C-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
C This article has been rated as C-Class on the quality assessment scale.

== Improvments == List your improvments here, like what you changed or what content you added. Weirdperson11 01:28, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Change this from a bulleted list to paragraph form. Define Germany. The term can be elusive. There's some truth to the sequence of ancient Germanic tribes - Holy Roman Empire - modern German state, but it needs qualification. Some ancient tribes stopped considering themselves German, e.g. the Franks. The Holy Roman Empire included non-German areas, e.g. Hungary, and its emperors held only nominal authority of many of its 300 subject states.
Provide a narrative structure. The decentralized Holy Roman Empire collapsed under Napoleon. The 1815 Congress of Vienna established 15 German states. Prussia, the largest, controlled two geographically isolated regions. This motivated Prussia's drive for political unity and later its expansionism beyond the Congress of Vienna boundaries. Bismarck's conquest of Denmark's southernmost provinces Schleswig and Holstein in 1867 foreshadows the 1870 Franco-Prussian war, which in turn prefigures some aspects of Nazi expansionism. The territorial gains from Denmark and France had not been entirely German-speaking.
With the exception of the confused policy Weltpolitik (which led to World War I), the dominant theme of nineteenth century German military history was to unite German-speaking populations under a single government. This had disastrous consequences in the late 1930s. European statesmen interpreted Hitler's early annexations in that context. See the Munich Agreement. [1] Nineteenth century Germany had not been a significant colonial power. Lebensraum is a far cry from Schlegel's Kulturnation, yet more than a century of military history shows the shift.
The present article ends with 1945. The Nuremberg Trials introduced the significant concept of war crimes. Following World War II Germany has been extremely reluctant to participate in United Nations military actions. Postwar Germany was the first country to add a conscientious objector clause to its draft. German law offers an alternative two years of peaceful public service. Durova 16:37, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
Everything what I read here is unhistorical - to say it gentle...

1. Karl der Große (Charlemagne) wasnt French, he was a Frank: the name France comes from the germanic tribe of the Franken 2. To talk about Germany and France in this time is simply a joke. nationbuilding began more than 200 years later 3. they watched the Romans building a bridge and then they ran away? Dont take it personal, but this article isnt about Britain - witch was invaded as Gallien was. The Romans where overruled by trying to invade "Germania" more than 3 times. The building of the colonies Germania magna and Germania inferior was more to make some good propaganda in Rome, cause the main population was there was Celtic, and the Germanic people there where new settlers looking for new ground. 4. There is no Germany till 1871. Till that days Germany was splitted into 39 states, before 1815 into the unbelievable amount of more than 200 states. The states where fighting more each other than the foreign states, and so every invasion made by foreign nations was made with the help of some German states against some others. 5. What about the 30 years of war 1518- 1548, where the half of the population died? I know that you are obsessed with WWI and WWII but the history of Germany is mutch longer than that. 6. Austria and Germany where part of the holy roman empire of the German nation, and its unhistorical to devide them from Germany till the year of 1871 7. I know you will hate the idea, but when you take all of this together you have to write 200 German war- historys (Brandenburg, Sachsen, Hessen, Bayern, Schlesien, Hanse- cities...) till 1871, and from that day on you can begin your article 8. Its better to end this project; or start it 1871.

I tend to agree with the previous comment - before 1871 there is no 'Germany' in the sense of a nation state, and any attempt to write a military history covering the period before that date (with the possible exception of the period immediately leading up to it) is likely to drown in ever changing definitions of what the concept of 'germany' meant at a given point in time. I know the same applies in theory for the period 1945-1989, but at least there is convergence at the end...Averscha 08:27, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
My introductory comment about the Franks might have been oversimplified, but does it really help the reader to correct it in so much detail? Perhaps a better compromise would be to say some of the Franks later identified themselves as French. The main point of the paragraph is to illustrate the difficulty of defining German in early history. Durova 17:56, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
While I sympathize with your larger objections (see above), I also see value in providing at least a cursory and qualified summary of earlier periods with links to more appropriate resources. We cannot assume that the Wikipedia reader knows how recently Germany unified. Encyclopedias exist to provide such information. Durova 18:21, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Removed detailed insertions from the introduction. To the author of those additions: they're good. Please work them into the medieval section. Durova 06:01, 6 November 2005 (UTC)


It seems odd to me that all the sections besides the last one are in bullet form while the last one was in paragraph form. It seems like a good idea to change this so they're all the same. --kralahome 02:36, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

They should be changed to paragraph form where possible Astrokey44 04:10, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Then change them, what's so hard about that? This still seems like a fragmented article with the bullets --Weirdperson11 14:00, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

language detail?[edit]

"Over time the hypothesised Proto-Germanic Language (PGmc) split into four main groups. 1. The Western Groups: gave rise to the Friesland dialects, English and Dutch 2. The Central Groups: gave rise to the modern High German and Platt Deutsch as well as many regional dialects. 3. The Eastern Groups: (now extinct) gave rise to the Gothic languages and related groups (eg Heruli) 4. The Northern Group: gave rise to the languages of modern Scandinavia."

  • Anon user User: (who I think is a new user) just added some sections to the article, some of them were good additions, but is this detail about languages necessary at the start in an article about the military of germany? Astrokey44 10:26, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
I agree, Astrokey. While the info is interesting, it is not necessary in this context. I invite everyone with expertise on the matter to rewrite it in a more suited way as to the subject of this article. Shauri Heart.gif smile! 15:44, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
I've given the article a new introduction per your suggestions. My own expertise is strongest for the period 1789 - 1914. Unfortunately it's more political, economic, and cultural than military. I may contribute more if no one else steps in. Durova 16:52, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Holy Roman Empire[edit]

I edited the previous 'Hussite' text rather extensively, my reason being that although it was good information, it was probably written more from the 'czech' rather than 'german' perspective, and some of the detail (notably the Joan D'arc reference) would fit better in the Hussite article. Any thoughts? (Averscha 11:58, 8 November 2005 (UTC))

I am not sure the paragraph on Louis the German/Lothar adds much to the subject, since there is no 'military' angle here. If the difference between German monarchs/Holy Roman Emperors is indeed relevant (and it couldwell be), then I would suggest it is worked into the narrative instead of a note. At the moment, it doesn't seem to fit in. (Averscha 12:22, 9 November 2005 (UTC))

There should be made a difference between Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. When the Empire of the Frank's were splittet in the year 843 this was actually the beginning of todays France and also of todays Germany. From that moment on the Germans had their own kingdom and they did not mix it up with the Empire of Rome for the next five centuries. When Otto I conquered Rome in the year 962 he regarded himself still as king of Germany and additionally (from that moment on) king of Italy and emperor of Rome. In the days of Frederick I the Empire konsistet of three differend kingdoms with three differend chancellors: Germany, Italy and Burgundy. His grandson Frederick II was famous for naming seven differend crowns his own (among them the crown of the kingdom of Jerusalem). Later, when the Germans lost control over Italy, they renamed their kingdom into "Heiliges Römisches Reich deutscher Nation" (Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation). It's true, that the Emperor still had control over some non-german people, but the same is true for the Zzar of Russia and nobody denies that there was a Russian nation establishing at the outgoing medieval. Some one argued: Prussia had some non-german inhabitants at it's eastern border. The same is true for France, which had control over a lot of Germans at its eastern borders (the inhabitants of Straßburg and the Alsace to be exactly). I must say that I was really a little bit shocked, when I read this article and read, that some people deny that there was a German Nation before the year 1871. --jake

German Unification[edit]

Could someone help out with the details of nineteenth century German unification? It's been years since I studied this in college and I've been looking for sources to refresh my memory. The sources I'm finding on the Web slide over the 1850 - 1866 period. We leap from Friedrich Wilhelm IV refusing the crown of a united Germany to Bismarck leading an expansionist united Germany into war against Denmark. Durova 18:58, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

I'll have a look through some reference works to make absolutely sure, but from memory I don't believe there was much in terms of 'military' history which might explain the gap... Averscha 19:26, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Added what I could find, hope this helps. Fact is that there was indeed very little in the terms of military activity from the 'German' states (except Austria, which declared against Russia at a very late stage of the Crimean War). Averscha 19:59, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, the most important fact for this article in that case was that this stage of German unification was peaceful. Durova 17:18, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Ancient Germany[edit]

The one part that still needs serious attention is ancient Germany. Anyone up to the task? Durova 03:40, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

one of the problems is its difficult to define who exactly you should include - germanic tribes who invaded rome? or just the things that happened in the present day boundaries of germany Astrokey44 04:25, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Second World war[edit]

The Germans never succeeded in their strategic objective of splitting the allied lines (hence the reference to a 'bulge'). The last edit seemed to indicate that they did, so reworded that change. If there was another reason for splitting that sentence, pls advise (Averscha 12:29, 11 November 2005 (UTC))

Germany army in Afghanistan today[edit]

Does anyone know what German army units are currently in Afghanistan? Chwyatt 08:53, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

To the regular editor(s):[edit]

This article seems to have a strange historical twist ... If one were exact than the military history of Germany, starts in 1871 with the founding of (a unified) Germany. Of course this would be a bit strange so I myself think its logical this article also treats the historical German states and political entities with a large German presence as a part of Germany's military history. But to treat or make it seem as if the Germanic tribes are a real part of Germany's military history strikes me as a bit off ... if no one objects I'll remove them soon. Rex 16:51, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

The history of Germany did not start in 1871. The first political entity under one king that would correspond with todays Germany would be the Kingdom of Germany or East Frankia which was established in 843 AD. Because of its historic relevance it makes sense to even go back before the formation of a german kingdom and implement military tacticts of ancient germanic tribes which shaped europe in a most significant way.

b class[edit]

Cannot believe this is B class when the link between the text and the external links are arbitrary. I would reserve B status until the REF tag had been used.... and maybe the cite tag Victuallers 10:38, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Bundeswehr logo.gif[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Bundeswehr logo.gif is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 04:12, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Holy Roman Empire[edit]

Many basic matters about this large empire are not explained clearly on Wikipedia. When there was a war abroad - was the army of the Empire composed of units from its constituent parts? Also, I can't find a list of capitals of that empire - if someone was the king/emperor, did he have his court in his own land and spend a lot of time travelling around the Reich and abroad? Was his private army the core of the larger army of the Empire?--Revery (talk) 10:07, 30 November 2009 (UTC) I understand there were dozens of residences around the country kept for emperors: --Revery (talk) 10:14, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Speaking for medieval times, in case of war abroad every constituent of the empire had to sent troops for the "Reichsaufgebot" (imperial army) if the emperor demanded for them (the principle is called "Heerfolge", meaning the duty to follow the call-to-arms). This timespan of this duty varies through the ages (one quote says: 40 days of service on this (german) site of the alps and up to 410 days of service an the other(italian) site of the alps. However, the amount of soldiers sent to the imperial army by each constituent depended largely on the emperors influence on the said constituents: great amount of troops were sent from what is today southern and central germany, the rhineland, bohemia, etc. nearly no troops from northern germany or italy.
The problem about capitals is, that there wasn't such a thing during the early- and high-middleages. the king/emperor moved around the country with his court, using the Kaiserpfalzen as temporary capitals. in this context mark the saying "Das Reich ist, wo der Kaiser ist" (THe empire is located, where the emperor is located). In later periods Prague and Vienna became somewhat of a capital. (talk) 22:55, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Page numbers[edit]

The Wikipedia rule is that Page numbers are not required for a reference to the book as a whole. and it's not much help to cite a book and give "pages 1-234". see WP:Page numbers Rjensen (talk) 02:37, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

The many passages which have the entire books as references are generally short, and quite specific. It isn't credible that there isn't a specific passage, page, or chapter which could support each one. It is not reasonable to reference the entire book in these cases, and it is not supportive of the policy of verifiability.
It might be reasonable to reference an entire book when you make a very general point about the book itself, like "A Short History of the World" gives a short, populist account of major events in world history, written in an engaging style." - But it clearly is not when making more specific statements.
I ask other interested editors to comment. (Hohum @) 02:51, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Hohum on this. I've had a look over what the books are being used to support in the artcle, and they are specific points that in my opinion require page references to be verifiable.
e.g. "In 1226 Konrad I of Masovia appealed to the Teutonic Knights, a German crusading military order, to defend his borders and subdue the pagan Baltic Prussians." - this is a specific fact, and should be certainly tied down to a specific page (or pages) in Henryk Sienkiewicz and Miroslaw Lipinksi's edited volume of articles on The Teutonic Knights.
I'd offer to help pin down the page ref's, but my library of German history works is very limited. Hchc2009 (talk) 20:05, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Hchc2009 (talk) 20:05, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
In my experience it's very unusual for a whole book reference to be necessary. When we are using references, we're not using them to say (as some academics do) "read this book and you may understand this point". We're using them to say "if you are in doubt as to whether this is the case or not, this is how you can verify our information is accurate". It is almost never helpful to refer someone to a whole book to justify a particular statement. The only reason I can think of referencing a whole book in a military history article is in a discussion of historiography... The Land (talk) 20:14, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
With rare exception, I believe page numbers are necessary to establish WP:V. Giving just a title forces a reader to trawl through the entire book to find the fact or subject under discussion. I certainly require them when doing a GA or higher review.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 21:09, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
From the responses here, and at Wikipedia Talk:WikiProject Military history#References without page numbers. - it seems appropriate to have page numbers except in special circumstances - which this isn't. (Hohum @) 14:21, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

useful article?[edit]

I seriously question that this article significantly covers german military history. You get the impression that the author used this platform for allied postwar propaganda more than anything else. I assume the author is british by the way he is emphasizing German-British engagements and using words like "the germans underestimated the quality of british aircrafts" and "the powerful british navy" is pure feelgood jingoism.

These are only some points that should be taken into consideration:

The first parts are confusing by throwing around all kinds of germanic tribes instead on focusing on germanic military tactics of these tribes.

There should be a section which explains the significance of the medieval "German School of Fencing" for european combat strategy.

There is no mention of the german tradition of weapon and armor production which supplied large parts of europe including France and England from medieval times to this day.

There should be a section which emphasizes that modern german military tactics including coup de main etc, were successfully adopted by many countries including the USA and the UK

The section dealing with WW2 should exclude or at least reduce the Battle of Britain and instead focus on the much more intense operations in the east which are unique for their strategies in modern tank warfare and their overall scale. The author tends to write the history from the end and thereby deliberatly omits the succesfull tactics which lead to the conquest of europe.

In addition, german military innovations like "Führung von vorne" and the concept of the modern infantryman should be included.

some more edits:

"The British Expeditionary Force and other allied units were driven back to the coast at Dunkirk, but managed to escape with most of their troops when Germany made a mistaken decision not to attack with tanks" should be changed into: "Guderians tank army drove back the British Expedtionary Force to the coast at Dunkirk. Hitler ordered Guderian to halt his army which had since been a matter of speculation whether Hitler was still in hope to come to an agreement with the british for ideological and strategic reasons. The British managed to organize a hasty retreat across the canal but had to leave all of their equipment and weapons on the beaches which caused the british army to loose its foothold in europe for years.

"Farrell argues that the historiography of the army in World War Two has been "extremely difficult" because of the stark dichotomy between its superb combat performance and the horrors of its destruction and crimes against civilians and prisoners." Sentences like this clearly show that the author is following a pattern of superior allied morality. You could argue that there were crimes against civilians but strangely enough nobody calls allied raids on civilians a crime. If you want to play this card, play it objectively and balanced. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lokith (talkcontribs) 19:00, 26 July 2014 (UTC)


It maybe a usefull hint to emphasize the mentioning of the somewhat unique conception of war in the german language. Most romanic languages took over the older german term "Wirren" (war, guerra, guerre...), which was shove aside - metaphoricly spoken - by the outgoing or achieving image of "Krieg" (kriegen= to get, to obtain...). Since this predomination of the positive term goes along with the hayday of early german militarism (meaning the mercenaries of dutch/flemish, swiss, scandinavian and german descent throughout the late medieval centuries), one might consider to give that aspect of german military history the same importance as the prussian role model for the last 200 years. For those, who like to distinct between the nation of Germany and earlier political phenomena I would advise to begin with the 3rd Reich. -- (talk) 14:49, 25 June 2015 (UTC)