The demilitarization of Germany and plans for the revival of the army
As you know, after the defeat of Nazi Germany, the victorious powers decided to “demilitarize” Germany in both the eastern - Soviet and western - US-English-French occupation zones. Even at the Potsdam Conference, it was decided to demilitarize the country. German militarism was accused of starting two world wars, for which reason Germany was no longer supposed to have its own armed forces. After 1945, only some units of the former naval army continued to serve under the control of the Allied forces. fleet Germany - they were engaged in mine clearance of ports and coastal waters and were completely deprived weapons. Even after the independent states of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic appeared in 1949, they were not supposed to have their own armed forces. However, a few years later, the rashness of this decision became clear to both the leadership of Western countries and the Soviet leadership. After all, the changed geopolitical situation in Europe, the growth of the military-political confrontation of the USSR and its allies, on the one hand, and the United States and its allies, on the other, implied the need to build a developed defense system in both parts of Germany. It is known that in 1942, Winston Churchill, in a letter to the British government, proposed to create a “European Union” - an association of all the countries of Western and Eastern Europe, which, as he suggested, could become a defense against the probable threat from the Soviet Union. However, it is natural that during the years of the Second World War, this proposal of Churchill was not advertised, but officially both the prime minister and other top leaders of Britain and France expressed respect and sympathy for the Soviet leadership. But after the end of the Second World War, plans to create a "pan-European army" received a new breath. This time they were used by supporters of the revival of the German army to conceal their revanchist plans - after all, the European army, as it were, was not German, although it was clear to everyone that if it was created, the German component would play the leading role. Many West German politicians, including Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, actively supported plans to create a "European Defense Community" (EOS).
Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) was difficult to call a revenge-seeker and accuse of sympathy for Hitlerism. After all, this politician in 1917-1933. former Ober-burgomaster of Cologne, was in opposition to the Hitler regime, and in 1933 refused to meet Hitler during a visit to Cologne and ordered the Nazi flags to be removed in the city. Adenauer was arrested by the Gestapo more than once, so it is not surprising that he, who headed the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, in the year 1949 took the post of German Chancellor. An absolute supporter of Christian values, Adenauer opposed state intervention in private and economic life. However, the entire humanism of the Chancellor ended when it came to relations with the USSR and the countries of the Soviet bloc. Adenauer was convinced that against the communist state it is possible to use the methods of power pressure. For this reason, he did not object to the accession of the Federal Republic of Germany to the NATO bloc and was one of the initiators of the beginning of the revival of the German national armed forces. Although Adenauer officially opposed the participation of former members of the Nazi party in the formation of the new armed forces of the country, in fact, the Nazi past did not attach much importance to the majority of future generals and officers of the Bundeswehr.
In 1950, a special commission was convened in West Germany, whose responsibility was to organize preparations for the creation of national armed forces. Theodore Blanc (1905-1972) was appointed chairman of the commission. This German politician was one of the founders of the Christian Democratic Union conservative party, from which he was a member of the Bundestag in 1949-1972 until his death. In 1950, it was Teodor Blanc (pictured) who headed the agency responsible for contacts with the command of the occupying forces in West Germany. This structure is called the “empty office” or “Blanca’s office”. In fact, it was she who was responsible for preparing for the creation of national armed forces. In 1951, the first paramilitary structure appeared in the Federal Republic of Germany - the Federal Border Guard - Bundesgrenzschutz. She had about 10 thousands of employees and was a light police unit. Employees of Bundesgrenzschutz were stationed on the territory of the former sanatorium NSDAP Prora, on the island of Rügen. With the creation of the Bundesgrenzschutz, the West German authorities responded to the appearance in East Germany of the militarized Barracks People's Police (Kasernierte Volkspolizei), which was a military unit responsible for the protection of public order and important state facilities. It is clear that Bundesgrenzschutz could not be called armed forces, but the formation of the border service was the beginning of their creation.
May 27, 1952 in Paris, agreements were signed on the establishment of the European Defense Community. Representatives of the United States, Britain, France and the Federal Republic of Germany signed documents on the fate of West Germany, including the “Agreement on Relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Three Western Powers.” A significant part of the agreements reached by the West German leadership was not advertised. In particular, they tried to keep secret all that related to the future defense system of West Germany. In 1954, in Paris, historical event - an agreement was signed according to which the occupation regime was lifted in Germany. The state sovereignty of Germany was proclaimed, which also suggested the possibility of creating its own armed forces, the presence of which was forbidden until 1954. Germany was accepted into the NATO bloc, the development of the concept of building the armed forces of new Germany began. The Paris Agreement also contained references to certain “special agreements” concluded at the time of signing the agreement on the EOS. In this regard, the leadership of Germany was forced to confirm that on May 27, 1952 there was an agreement on determining the size of the future army of West Germany at 500 thousand people. Germany refused "from the production of atomic, chemical and bacteriological weapons. Moreover, nothing was said that West Germany could not use the atomic, chemical and bacteriological weapons that would be provided to it by other states, for example, the United States. The USA and Great Britain actually "gave the green light" to the creation of the West German army, although they officially preferred to hide their participation in the adoption of relevant decisions in every way. It was planned to create a pan-European army, which would include French, Italian, Belgian, Dutch, Luxembourgish and German troops. However, this project was never implemented - first of all, due to doubts from France. Paris was extremely afraid of the revival of the power of the German army, therefore, opposed any plans for the "militarization" of Germany.
Campaign against “remilitarization”
It should be noted that the process of recreating the German army did not go smoothly. From the very beginning, the German left opposed the re-establishment of the army, believing that this would lead to the restoration of the political positions of the “military”, among which the majority at that time were Wehrmacht veterans. In addition, the left forces were convinced that the creation of the German army was able to "revive Nazism" - after all, the revanchist sentiments in the Weimar Republic developed in parallel with the strengthening of the country's armed forces. Frankfurt am Main became the center of the anti-militarist movement in West Germany. The position of the trade union movement was strong in this large industrial center, the Social Democrats were active, and they sharply criticized the plans to create a new army. “Soldiers' mothers” - the mothers and widows of German servicemen who died during the Second World War, were attracted to the protest movement. “Anyone who organizes military blocs can talk as much as necessary about the need for reunification of the country, but in reality it creates real obstacles on this path,” said the German Manifesto, adopted by opponents of the creation of armed forces at a meeting in Frankfurt Maine
An important role in counteracting plans to recreate the German army was played by the German Communists. In 1951, the Communist Party of Germany organized a nationwide survey on the issue of remilitarization of the Federal Republic of Germany. Naturally, the West German leadership officially banned this survey, but the people took it with great enthusiasm. By November 1951, 4,5 million signatures were collected from residents of West Germany, and by April 1952 more than 9 million (9119667) residents of West Germany, West Berlin and the Saar region had opposed the remilitarization of Germany. As for the German Democratic Republic, practically the entire adult population opposed the militarization of the FRG. However, the West German authorities did not intend to listen to the opinion of their own population, especially since American patrons demanded that they accelerate measures to create armed forces. Therefore, Bonn did not stop at the use of open violence against opponents of the militarization of West Germany. So, 11 May 1952 German police dispersed thousands of youth demonstration, held in Essen. In the rally of "caravans of the world", more than 20 of thousands of young people took part - residents of West Germany, representing public and religious organizations. The police attacked the demonstration, as a result of her actions, a young worker from Munich, Philip Muller, was killed. 250 demonstrators were arrested. So the West German government openly showed the world its readiness for the most extreme measures in the struggle against the dissent of its own population. It should be noted that it was precisely the mass youth movement against the remilitarization of Germany and the creation of the Bundeswehr that became the immediate predecessor of the many thousands of left-wing student movement that swept Germany in the 1960s. It was then that the leftist opposition to the West German authorities, whose activities were defined as revanchist, was set, and the authorities themselves were openly accused of fascism (after all, among the West German establishment 1950-1960-s. Kaiser Germany and successfully making a career during the Hitler regime).
Creation of the Ministry of Defense and the Bundeswehr
Meanwhile, France opposed the ratification of the EOS Treaty, which allowed the opponents of militarization to hope for the implementation of their plans to prevent the creation of the armed forces of Germany. However, the German government, headed by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, decided to create armed forces, guided by the exacerbation of the foreign policy situation and, above all, by the presence of a neighborhood with the Warsaw Bloc. In addition, the revival of the German army was part of the plans of the United States, which sought to create an effective counterbalance to the Soviet presence in Europe. The beginning of active work on the formation of the armed forces of West Germany was welcomed by conservative German politicians who in the Soviet and left German press were accused of revanchism and neo-fascism. One of the most ardent supporters of the creation of the West German armed forces was Franz-Josef Strauss (1915-1988) - a Bavarian politician, leader of the Christian-Social Union - the conservative party of Bavaria, speaking at the federal level in conjunction with the CDU / CSU. Like many of his peers, Strauss did not escape service in the Wehrmacht. In 1939, he, at that time - a student at the University of Munich, was drafted into the army. He served in the artillery unit, but received leave to complete his studies at the university. In 1940, he received a non-commissioned officer rank, and in 1941, after graduating from the officer school, Strauss was sent as a platoon commander of an anti-aircraft artillery battery to the eastern front, and participated in the Battle of Stalingrad. However, before the surrender of the army of Paulus, he was sent to the courses of the battery commanders, but on the way, Strauss froze his feet, was hospitalized and no longer returned to the army, serving as an instructor officer, and then as an officer in the National Socialist education at the air defense school in bavaria. After the war, Strauss spent some time in a prisoner of war camp, but was later released because he did not commit war crimes. Strauss became a translator to the American military commander's office and new employers soon nominated him for administrative work in the West German administrative bodies being formed. He entered politics and quickly made a career in the Christian Social Union, in 1949 he became a deputy of the Bundestag, and in 1953 he was appointed Federal Minister of Germany for special assignments. In this post, he actively participated in the preparations for the creation of national armed forces and in every way justified the need for this step, explaining it by the presence of a “threat from the East”.
On June 7, 1955, the Ministry of Defense of West Germany was created, and on June 8, Theodor Blanck was appointed Minister of Defense. On November 12, 1955, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer welcomed the first hundred soldiers of the new Germany. In the city of Andernach, on the left bank of the Rhine, 500 km. a ceremony was held from Bonn, the then capital of Germany. The chancellor welcomed the first volunteers who decided to enlist in the military. On January 2, 1956, the first training battalion of the new West German army was formed in Andernach. Thus began the history of the Bundeswehr - one of the most combat-ready Western European armies in the post-war period. On October 16, 1956, Theodor Blanca was replaced by the very same Franz Josef Strauss as Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany, who remained in this position until 1962. Naturally, immediately after the creation of the Bundeswehr, a symmetrical response was received from the German Democratic Republic. On January 18, 1956, the creation of the National People's Army of the GDR was announced (we will talk about it in the corresponding article). Thus, both Germany entered into a military-political confrontation. If the NNA GDR was created with the active participation of the Soviet Union, the United States played the main role in the formation of the Bundeswehr. At the same time, the Bundeswehr could not do without the involvement of professional military personnel who had previously served in the Wehrmacht. Moreover, in the mid-1950s. all of them were still young people - almost any German man over 30 years old then had experience in the Wehrmacht or other power structures of the Third Reich. Naturally, it was they who made up the backbone of the officer and non-commissioned corps of the forming West German army. Moreover, until 1957, the rank and file of the Bundeswehr was staffed by hiring volunteers, and only after 1957 was compulsory military service introduced for all male citizens of West Germany. This moment also testified to the growing aggressiveness in the foreign policy of Germany. Indeed, switching to the recruitment system of the Bundeswehr on conscription, the West German government signed the need to prepare an impressive mobilization reserve for the armed forces, which in itself was necessary only if there was a threat to the country's security or its own aggressive plans for neighbors.
Heuzinger and Speidel - the first generals of the Bundeswehr
It should be noted that even before the creation of the Bundeswehr, alliances and fraternities of former soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers of the Wehrmacht were active in West Germany. In fact, the situation developed according to the scenario of the Weimar Republic. Then, after the defeat of Germany in the First World War, it was precisely in the ranks of the “unions of front-line soldiers” that revanchist sentiments matured, and military training was carried out to young people. In the post-war period, in fact, the national communities and unions of former Wehrmacht soldiers became the main base for the deployment of units of the Bundeswehr, the main personnel resource of the new West German army. After all, it was in these communities that it was possible to recruit a sufficient number of volunteers for officers, non-commissioned officers and privates in the formed parts of the Bundeswehr. The direct work on the formation of the Bundeswehr was led by Adolf Heusinger (1897-1982) - a professional military, just a representative of the classical German military elite. In the German army, Heusinger served since the First World War - in the 1915 year, the 18-year-old youth, he enrolled as a fan-junker (candidate officer) in the 96 infantry regiment, then received the rank of lieutenant, was awarded two-degree Iron Crosses, visited in British captivity. After World War I, he continued service in the Reichswehr, then in the Wehrmacht. Since 1937, Mr. Major Heusinger served in the 1 (operational) section of the ground forces general staff, where he grew up in the ranks. In 1940, Colonel Heusinger became Chief of the Operations Division of the General Staff of the Ground Forces, and in 1944 Mr., with the rank of Lieutenant General, became the Acting Chief of the General Staff of the Ground Forces. Later, he came under suspicion of conspiracy against Hitler and was arrested, but later released. 25 March 1945, just before the end of the war, he led the Wehrmacht’s map service, and 8 May was captured by American forces. In 1950, Heusinger became adviser on military issues under German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and in 1952-1955. headed the military department in the “office of Blanca”, thereby directly participating in the preparatory process for the creation of the national armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. After the creation of the German Ministry of Defense, Heusinger returned to military service, was promoted to lieutenant-general, and was appointed chairman of the military leadership council. Naturally, the appointment of the former Hitler general as one of the key leaders of the Bundeswehr, completely fit into the general course of revanchist sentiments in West Germany. On the basis of the “office of Blanka”, the apparatus of the command of the Bundeswehr was formed - the operational headquarters, to which the inspectors of the branches of the armed forces and their headquarters were subordinate. The Inspector General of the Bundeswehr and the inspectors of the arms of the armed forces were the military governing council (military operational council) under the Minister of Defense of Germany. It was him and headed by General Heusinger. Even in the Wehrmacht, he was engaged in planning military operations of the ground forces, which made it possible to use the experience gained by Heusinger in creating a new West German army. At the same time, it was somehow overlooked that during his service in the operational department of the General Staff of the Wehrmacht land forces, Heusinger bore the immediate burden of planning punitive operations against partisan units operating in the Soviet Union. However, the rumors about Heusinger’s involvement in the conspiracy against Hitler became his peculiar indulgence for the Anglo-American command. In contrast to the figures more exposed in war crimes, Heusinger did not bear any responsibility for his activities. It was not issued to the Soviet Union in 1961, when the Soviet leadership raised the issue of extradition of Heusinger, who by that time served as chairman of the NATO military committee in Washington.
The basis of the command staff of the Bundeswehr, as we have already noted above, were the generals and officers of the "old school" - former soldiers of the Wehrmacht. The first generals of the Bundeswehr were Lieutenant-General Adolf Heusinger, appointed as the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, and Lieutenant-General Hans Speidel (1897-1984). Hans Speidel, like Adolf Heusinger, was also a professional soldier who started his service in the Kaiser army in 1914 year. In 1940, Mr. Speidel was already a Wehrmacht lieutenant colonel and was appointed to the post of chief of staff of the occupying forces in France. In 1944, he took the post of Chief of Staff of Army Group “B”. An undoubted advantage of Speidel in the changed political situation was his involvement in the anti-Hitler plot (July 20 plot 1944). However, the officer court of Speidel’s honor justified, but he spent seven months in prison, despite this decision, and was already released by the allied forces. After the war, Speidel became a history teacher at the University of Tübingen, but after starting the process of forming the Bundeswehr, he was invited to cooperate - as one of those senior Wehrmacht officers who had not been tainted by the frank participation in the war crimes of the Hitler regime. 22 November 1955, General Speidel was appointed head of the department of the armed forces of the German Federal Ministry of Defense, and from 1957 to 1963. served as commander of NATO ground forces in Central Europe. It should be noted that one of the main reasons why, in addition to Heusinger, Hans Speidel appeared among the first generals of the Bundeswehr, were the close ties of the latter with the British and American command, established in the second half of the 1940s. More than a commander, General Speidel was a military diplomat - and that was what played a major role in determining his candidacy for the post of commander of NATO ground forces in Central Europe. In this post, Speidel actually remained the intermediary between the American and German leadership.
From the Wehrmacht - in the Bundeswehr. Staffing problem
Naturally, Speidel and Heusinger were not the only generals of the Wehrmacht who found themselves in top positions in the command of the Bundeswehr. But there was no other option than to invite Hitler's generals and colonels to senior positions in the Bundeswehr. It should be understood that in Germany there was no place where professional military men could take, capable of holding senior and senior officer positions, except from among the former generals and officers of the Wehrmacht. At the same time, Adenauer was afraid to take on the highest positions in the Bundeswehr too prominent people of the Nazi Wehrmacht. Therefore, the Bundeswehr generals were formed from senior Wehrmacht officers who did not occupy too visible and significant posts in Nazi Germany. Field marshals, admirals, and colonel-generals of the Wehrmacht were recruited as military advisers, experts, and advisers, but the “Bundeswehr” was to be raised primarily by generals who were corps and division commanders, chiefs of corps and divisions during the war. Thus, the post of inspector of the Bundeswehr ground forces was taken up by General Hans Rettiger, in 1943-1944. held the post of chief of staff of Army Group "A", who fought on the territory of Soviet Ukraine. An inspector of the Air Force of the Bundeswehr was appointed General Joseph Kammhuber, in 1943-1944. who served as commander of the 5-th Luftwaffe air fleet in the northern sector of the Soviet-German front. Former generals and colonels of the Wehrmacht also occupied all the posts of inspectors of combat arms, commanders of divisions, commanders of the military districts of the Bundeswehr. Naturally, the Wehrmacht’s military personnel prevailed among the officers-instructors and non-commissioned officers, so the young recruits of the Bundeswehr soldiers were trained in the appropriate spirit and under the corresponding ideological influence.
One of the serious problems of the Bundeswehr in the first decade of its existence was the "aging" of command personnel. The fact is that throughout the 1945-1955 years. in Germany there were no armed forces and military schools. Accordingly, there was no training for officers, and there was no place to take young officers. Thus, in 1955-1956, when the Bundeswehr was formed, only people with military training obtained before the 1945 of the year could take command positions. It turns out that even the lieutenant positions turned out to be men at the age of no less than thirty years old (of course, there could be exceptions, but in most cases this was the case), not to mention the posts of higher rank. For a long time, the Bundeswehr was considered the “oldest” army among the other armies of the NATO bloc. The generals and officers of the Bundeswehr were on average older than their counterparts from the American, British and other NATO armies who were in similar positions and ranks by an average of ten years. That is, if the average NATO major at the end of 1950 was thirty years old, then the Bundeswehr major was forty years old, and the colonels were forty and fifty, respectively. The preparation of new command personnel required considerable time, therefore, at least until the end of the 1960-s, the Bundeswehr was doomed to use Wehrmacht men in general positions. So, after General Heusinger was transferred to Washington in the 1961 year, as the head of the NATO military committee, he was replaced by an even more remarkable General Friedrich Ferch. Like Heusinger and Speidel, General Friedrich Ferch began his military career in the Kaiser army, received the rank of major general in 1944, and by the end of the war served as chief of staff of the Kurland Army Group. In this position, Ferch was captured by Soviet troops who liberated the occupied territory of the Soviet Union. It was found out that while he was in charge of the operational department of the headquarters of the 18 Army of the Wehrmacht, the colonel (then still) Ferch took part in directly organizing the siege of the city of Leningrad. Then, when he was the chief of staff of the 18 Army, Ferch led and fighting Soviet partisans operating in the north-western regions of the RSFSR, including the Leningrad, Novgorod and Pskov regions. Naturally, in the fight against partisans, numerous war crimes were committed against civilians. After being captured by Soviet troops and establishing involvement in war crimes, General Ferch 29 June 1950 was sentenced to 25 years in prison. However, he didn’t see this deadline until the end - he was released, like many other prisoners of war, and returned to West Germany. There, Ferch quickly recovered the service in the Bundeswehr and in 1961 took over the post of inspector general of the Bundeswehr.
Political suitability for the service in the Bundeswehr of potential candidates for senior and senior officer positions (from Colonel and above) was determined by the Personnel Expert Panel specially created in 1955, Personalgutachterausschuss. She carried out her activities until November 1957, when the final formation of the Bundeswehr occurred, and during that time managed to check 600 candidates, 486 of whom were accepted into active military service in the Bundeswehr. The commission checked 553 statements from former Wehrmacht officers who wanted to enter the posts of colonels or generals in the unit and command of the Bundeswehr. Of these applications, 51 was rejected, 32 was recalled by the candidates themselves, 470 applications were accepted. At the same time, no candidate was refused because of his service in the Wehrmacht. In addition to the Commission of Experts on Personnel, a Federal Personnel Commission was also created, which was responsible for awarding military ranks. 2 August 1956 was decided by this commission that all military personnel of the SS troops (Waffen-SS), who served in the ranks before the obershtrummbuführer (equivalent army rank - Oberst-Lieutenant, Lieutenant Colonel) can be accepted into military service in the Bundeswehr with of the military rank in which they served in the SS.
Bundeswehr in the NATO system
In 1955-1957 active work was also carried out on the formation of the personnel structure of the Bundeswehr, and the principle of the formation of the Reichswehr was taken as the basis. In the event of war, each non-commissioned officer of the Bundeswehr was turned into an officer, and the officer became the commander of a larger unit. This made it possible to significantly increase the size of the army in the event of mobilization. As for the established number of the Bundeswehr, it was determined to be an 1957 man by 265000 year (in fact, it was much smaller for a long time). Of these, 136 posts were general, 26352 man wore officer shoulder straps and 92752 man were noncommissioned officers. Thus, for each officer of the Bundeswehr accounted for just 9 subordinates, and for each non-commissioned officer - just 3 privates. If necessary, on the basis of the personnel of the Bundeswehr 1957, it was possible to deploy sixty army divisions. But, at the same time, Konrad Adenauer at first did not dare to go on to a further increase in the number of Bundeswehr, including by switching to a conscription system for recruiting the army, because he feared a violent public reaction. After all, a significant part of West German society was extremely anti-militaristic, and the introduction of universal conscription could entail massive protests.
Nevertheless, in the same year 1957, it was nevertheless decided to switch to the conscription system of the Bundeswehr. The real number of the Bundeswehr also grew: if 1956 served 55 people in the Bundeswehr in 570, then 1 1957 people in 115 year, 000 people in 1958 year, 200 people in 000 year, 1959 in 225 year, 000 people in 1960 year, 240 served as 000 people year - 1961 291 people, and in 000 year - 1964 420 people. In 000, the number of Bundeswehr was brought to 1964 235 people. The Bundeswehr included ground forces, air force and naval forces. Territorial defense troops were also formed to carry out a fairly wide range of functions - from guarding military facilities and strategically important communications to repairing and building roads, ensuring the safety of rail transport, anti-tank defense, and so on. By 000, the Bundeswehr consisted of ground forces (93 000 people), air force (28 000 people), naval forces (28 000 people) and territorial defense forces (XNUMX XNUMX people). In organizational terms, the Bundeswehr ground forces were transferred to the brigade structure.
Strategically, the Bundeswehr has become the main unit of the NATO military bloc in Europe. Given the weakness of the armies of most of the European participants in NATO (Greece, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands and others), it was the Bundeswehr who was viewed by the American leadership as perhaps the only reliable force in continental Europe capable of fulfilling its “containment” duties. Throughout the Cold War, the Bundeswehr remained one of the most important military components of the NATO system. At the same time, the Bundeswehr faced a very unpleasant task - to fight against fellow tribesmen. Indeed, in the event of a confrontation between NATO and the "Eastern Bloc," the main opponent of the Bundeswehr was the National People’s Army of the GDR. It turns out that the soldiers of the Bundeswehr were knowingly preparing for war against the same Germans. Confrontation with the GDR for a long time remained one of the most important areas in the organization of training and service of the Bundeswehr connections.
After the collapse of the "Eastern Bloc" and the unification of Germany and the GDR, large-scale changes took place in the military sphere. So, from the middle of 1990's. The FRG rejected the principle of non-use of its units and divisions in armed conflicts outside Germany that prevailed during the forty years of the existence of the Bundeswehr. Since that time, the German military has become regularly involved in numerous peacekeeping operations around the world. According to the German military leaders, this not only underlines the status of the country, but also contributes to increasing the combat capability of parts of the Bundeswehr. Compared to the period of the “Cold War”, the number of personnel of the Bundeswehr was reduced by more than two times - in 2011, 204 served to 000 military personnel. Currently, the Bundeswehr includes three types of troops - ground forces, air force and naval forces, as well as the combined support forces and medical service created in 2000 as separate “military command structures”. The head of the Bundeswehr remains the federal minister of defense, the direct supervision is exercised by the inspector-general and inspector of the types of troops and military governing structures. In 2001, women were accepted into service in all types of the Bundeswehr (before that, they could only serve in the medical and musical services). Prior to 2011, the recruitment of the rank and file of the Bundeswehr was carried out by conscription for military service. Military conscription was mandatory for all male citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany who were called up for 6 months (who did not want to take a weapon for reasons of principle - for a longer period of alternative service). However, in 2011, it was decided to terminate the mandatory military conscription. Since that time, the Bundeswehr is completed exclusively on a professional basis.