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Is a strong military an asset or a hinderence

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by Will Tigar on 27 November 2013

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Transcript of Is a strong military an asset or a hinderence

How Germany established a professional army
The transition to professionalism
The Politicization of the German Army
How did the German Army become so heavily involved in politics
Democracy and the Military
The Beliefs of the Reichswehr
Pre-1800 Officer corps
Armies before the establishment of a professional officer corps were a motley mix of mercenary officers, landed aristocracy, and some middle class men. The reason for this was that if the army were to professionalize, the rulers feared that the military would become democratized
Is a strong military an asset or a hindrance to a democracy
Question
1800:the turning point of professionalism
Due to the nature and scale of the Napoleonic wars many nations in Europe decided to start military academies in order to train professional officers of the upper and middle classes. In Prussia the training ground became known as the Kreigsakademie
By: Will Tigar
The Prussian Academy
The Prussian military education was one of the most rigorous educations in all of Europe. The requirements included, but were not limited to, engineering, artillery, and geology. This meant that the German officer had to already be a well educated man.
The German army was not involved in any way in politics, this was due to a belief that the army held where the army would only be used in war and would not control anything else
The German Army prior to the Great War
During World War I the army took a far larger role in the economy and in the day to day life of Germany.
World War I
There were two reasons for this change. One, there was a rise in the proportion of middle class officers, like Hindenburg. Secondly, the general shift of the culture to one of militarism.
Reasons for this
How did the relationship of the army to the new republic play out?
The Reichwehr
Walther Reinhardt was the key figure in the formation of the Reichwehr, which was the army of the Wiemar Republic and was a strong proponent of the belief that the army should defend the state from external and internal threats
Walther Reinhardt
Von Seeckt was a different story from Reinhardt in his belief that both the army must rearm itself from the shameful defeat of 1918 and that he was undemocratic in his beliefs and supported the Kapp Putsch. Since he was a man who felt that his loyalty was more with the army than with the state
Hans von Seeckt
Sectional interests
The sectional interests seem mainly to do with class more than anything than anything else this is especially true for the German, whose officer corps was composed of mostly upper-class men
The belief that the military has a manifest destiny
Many military forces have hubris in which they believe that their destiny is to be the savior of the nation and the people from perceived threats, both internally and externally. This was true for the Riechswehr, who thought that there main duty was to defend the state against socialism
This theory came about through the German army's experience in the Eastern Front. During this period many German officers developed strong feelings of anti-semitism, which was transported into the Reichswehr and the Freikorps.
The Theory of Judeo-Bolshevism
In evaluating what new strategy that the new German army needed to have most desperately is one of volkskreig, whereby if the enemy invaded the Reich then the people would rise up and defend their homes
The volkskreig
There are three main reasons of why the military would intervene
Reasons for the military to intervene
National Interests
When the military intervenes in politics it may have the belief that when they are intervening that they are preserving the national interests of the country. The army in Germany had always thought of itself as the bastion of the people
Conclusion
In conclusion, what I have taken away from findings is that in order for a democracy to succeed then it must keep a watchful eye on the military and relegate it to dealing with strictly military matters. The reasoning is that once the military has a taste of political power it will not want to give it up. However, the state should not try to assert too much control over the military and let the generals have some leeway.
The reason that the military in Weimar became so powerful
The reason that the military became so powerful is that the civilian government was unable to assert control over them, which is the way most militaries operate.
The dilemma of a democracy for the role of the military
What are the pros and cons of strong military?
The pros
A strong military is necessary for the survival of a new democracy because the military is able to defend the state from external threats and also to provide security within the nation. It is also secure means of employment for any man and will provide useful skills for years
The cons
Since a military is by nature an undemocratic institution with a great concern for hierarchy and a belief that not everyone is equal. This is contradictory to the belief of democracy where everyone's opinion matters.
The appointment of officers
The route for the appointment for officers is a difficult question to answer. However, it seems establishing an academy where people must prove themselves in a variety of subjects and not simply by connections with wealth or political connections.
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