On 1st November the Joint CBRN Defence Centre of Excellence celebrated the 62nd anniversary of the German Armed Forces (“Bundeswehr”). COL Volker R. Quante, German Senior National Representative, invited all COE members to commemorate the foundation of the Bundeswehr in 1955.
The Bundeswehr was officially established on the 200th birthday of LTG Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst on 12 November 1955. General von Scharnhorst was in his capacity as chairperson of the Prussian Military Re-Organisation Committee the most influential organiser of the Prussian army reform. In personnel and education terms, the most important initial feature of the new German armed forces was to be their orientation as citizen defenders of a democratic state, fully subordinate to the political leadership of the country.
When the Bundeswehr was established in 1955, its founding principles were based on developing a completely new military force for the defence of West Germany. In this respect the Bundeswehr did not consider itself to be a successor to either the Reichswehr (1921 – 1935) of the Weimar Republic or Hitler's Wehrmacht (1935 – 1946). Neither does it adhere to the traditions of any former German military organization. Its official ethos is based on three major themes: the aims of the military reformers at the beginning of the 19th century such as Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Clausewitz; the conduct displayed by members of the military resistance against Adolf Hitler, especially the attempt of Claus von Stauffenberg and Henning von Tresckow to assassinate him; and its own tradition since 1955.
Text: LTC Bernd Allert, (DEU-A)
Photo: LTC Aleš Mylan, (CZE-A)