Who was the greatest military strategist in World War II ?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

General Johannes Friedrich Hans von Seeckt

Father of German Armed Forces (Reichswehr) during the time of Weimar Republic (1918 - 1939). Notable German General for rebuilding of Reichswehr after the First World War (1914 - 1918). 

Rebuilding the Reichswehr 

After the end of the First World War and the dissolution of the old imperial army it fell to Seeckt to organize the new Reichswehr within the strict restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Seeckt served from 1920-1926 as Chief of the Army Command. He successfully laid the basis for a strong Reichswehr and disguised the new leadership, the forbidden General Staff, under the name the Truppenamt, or Troop Office. He is also known for his hostile attitude towards the Second Polish Republic, and for seeking an alliance with the Soviet Union against Poland. After seeing encouraging signs from the newly established War Commissar's Office of Leon Trotsky, Seeckt sent out a secret staff to conduct a military alliance with the Soviets, unbeknown to the Weimar government.

Model of Seeckt
From 1920 to 1926 Seeckt held the position of commander of the army of the new Weimar Republic, the Reichswehr. In working to build a non-political professional army within and without the confines of the Treaty of Versailles, Seeckt advanced the concept of the army as a state-within-a-state. He was an admirer of the British concept of a small, highly trained regular army within which political activity was forbidden. This matched the conditions of the Versailles Treaty which were aimed at creating a long-term professional army with a ceiling of 100,000 volunteers and without significant reserves - a force which would not be able to challenge the much larger French Army. Seeckt was a monarchist by personal inclination who encouraged the retention of traditional links with the old Imperial Army. With this purpose he designated individual companies and squadrons of the new Reichswehr as the direct successors of particular regiments of the emperor's army.

While running the military, Von Seeckt only allowed skilled men to be in the 100,000 man army. He locked them into a mandatory 12 years of confirmed military service with full board and pay, allowing for a form of stability that rarely existed in the midst of massive economic depression of Germany. He gained the loyalty of his men by paying them six times the amount of a French army soldier.

Von Seeckt made the training standards of the Reichswehr the toughest in the world. Von Seeckt trained them in anti-air and anti-tank battles by creating wooden weapons and staging mock battles under the guise of training the soldiers for reintroduction into civilian life. Von Seeckt disciplined this small army much differently than past German armies. The Chief also had his men taught in seemingly useless topics like horse anatomy and the art of beekeeping to allow them to be citizens with skills as well as military support crews.

Seeckt saw the Reichswehr as detached from politics, neither promoting or denying the legitimacy of the Weimar Republic. Seeckt saw the Reichswehr as a way to train the army for the future, not as a means to protect Germany while it was under threat of invasion by Czechoslovakia and Poland. As a result little effort was prepared for war plans should either nation have invaded; Seeckt preferred to train his armies to fight in a mechanized environment that could not exist until Germany rearmed. Seeckt's logic was that eventually Germany would violate Versaille and rearm and he prepared for that, and although that proved correct, he endangered Germany at the time by not preparing for contigencies in the present. Seeckt has been critiziced for his training the Reichswehr to fight wars in the distant future rather than training them for possible wars in the present.

Seeckt was eventually forced to resign on 9 October, 1926 after permitting Prince Wilhelm, the grandson of the former emperor to attend army manoeuvres in the uniform of the old imperial First Foot Guards without first seeking government approval.
 After Seeckt left the Reicshwehr in 1926, far more effort was paid to preparing the Reichswehr in fighting the potential enemies in the present using equipment already available to the Reichswehr.

(from wikipedia: Hans von Seeckt )

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