The nation and the soldier in German civil-military relations, 1800-1945
Brumley, Donald W.
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This study of civil-military relations treats the parallel development of: a.) the professional soldier and the Prussian- German army in the era from 1806 until 1945, as well as; b.) the rise of nationalism in central European politics and society, which culminated in the union of the professional soldier and National Socialism after 1933. These two political phenomena of modern Europe, in the first instance, the army, and in the second instance, voelkisch nationalism became a deadly combination in the Germany of the era 1914-1933. The abdication of the monarchy in 1918 forced the professional soldier to look for a substitute sovereign, who would insure the survival of the privileged role of the soldier in republican state and society. This study provides case studies of civil-military episodes in German history from 1806-1944, where civilian control and liberal oversight of the aristocratic military structure might have been possible, but liberal and socialist forces squandered the opportunities at hand. This study counter poses episodes of civil-military conflict in the Prussian German past, with an analysis of the origins and character of integral nationalism and National Socialism. In particular, the study analyzes the ideological effort to influence the Reichswehr during the Weimar Republic. The missed civil-military opportunities for democratic forces in the 1920s resulted in the culmination of political, military, and socio-economic conditions ideal for the National Socialists in their quest for power. This failure of important political-military reform set the stage for interwar cooperation between military and the Nazis. The National Socialists wanted to make the army an instrument of power via a â bottom upâ revolution to subjugate the military command structure. This study speaks to this historical series of case studies within the general analysis of democratic civil-military relations. The failure of liberal and later democratic forces to integrate the military into constitutional mechanisms stands as one of the more grievous catastrophes of the story of the soldier and the state.
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