Tuesday, November 12, 2019
A re-decorated vehicle hall and a uniform that makes for mockery: The birth of the Bundeswehr is not very glamorous. In addition, Chancellor Adenauer defends the fact that the troop is Nazi-zipped.
Did you know that … facts were created in the dispute over German rearmament 64 years ago? On November 12, 1955 – ten and a half years after the end of the Second World War – Federal Defense Minister Theodor Blank appoints the first 101 volunteers of a new force. This begins the history of the Bundeswehr. The official birth of the Bundeswehr is not very glamorous and without much fanfare. In the former Bonner Ermekeilkaserne the organizers hang a vehicle hall with red cloth, a big iron cross on a wall refers to the German military tradition, which had ended a decade earlier in the greatest possible disaster. Despite public concerns dozens of volunteers attend the improvised ceremony to lay the groundwork for a new military start. At the ceremony in the Ermekeil barracks Bonn 101 men were appointed soldiers of the new armed forces. (Photo: picture alliance / dpa) The date has been deliberately chosen: The 200th birthday of the Prussian military reformer Gerhard von Scharnhorst is to begin a rethinking of German defense policy. At first, however, this reorientation is not going smoothly. Not only are the oversized and enormously limited uniform jackets of the early days mocked as "monkey jackets" or "queen Luise blouses". No, rather, the circumstance public impetus that former Wehrmacht generals such as Adolf Heusinger and Hans Speidel and sometimes ex-members of the Waffen-SS support the new beginning. Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer sees this less problematic and refers to the experience of the former Hitler followers: "Gentlemen, I believe that the NATO 18-year-old generals will not decrease." Ebenjene Nato had previously opened in May for the Federal Republic, after the Paris treaties of the Federal Republic of Germany paved the way for state sovereignty and overruled the occupation statute. The background to this was the Cold War, which made the positioning of NATO countries and a contribution to defense indispensable from the West's point of view. First, however, the new West German troop is an unnamed army. When the first soldiers entered the barracks Andernach, Nörvenich and Wilhelmshaven on January 2, 1956, Adenauer described them as "soldiers of the new armed forces". At this time, the title of the troupe is still debated. The FDP in the Bundestag favors the old name "Wehrmacht", but with the so-called Soldiers Act of March 20, 1956 is clear: The new army is called "Bundeswehr". Barely four months later, the Bundestag decides the general compulsory military service, which will be suspended from 2011. Editor Christoph Rieke casts a daily glance into the past in "Rieke's rearview mirror".