The German Army League: Popular Nationalism in Wilhelmine by Marilyn Shevin Coetzee

By Marilyn Shevin Coetzee

This e-book strains the advance of the German military League from its inception throughout the earliest days of the Weimar Republic. based in January 1912, the League promoted the intensification of German militarism and the cultivation of German nationalism. because the final and moment greatest of the patriotic societies to emerge after 1890, the League led the crusade for military growth in 1912 and 1913, and opposed to the turning out to be impact of socialism and pacifism inside Germany. trying to harness well known and nationalist sentiment opposed to the government's international and household guidelines through preying on Germans' fears of defeat and socialism, the League contributed to the polarization of German society and irritated the overseas tensions which culminated within the nice struggle. Coetzee combines an research of the League's imperative personalities and guidelines with an exploration of the internal workings of neighborhood and nearby branches, arguing that instead of having served completely as a barometer of populist nationalist sentiment, the League additionally mirrored the machinations of fellows of schooling and prominence who believed that an unresponsive German executive had stifled their very own careers, dealt ineffectually with the possibility of household unrest, and squandered the nation's army superiority over its eu competitors.

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Punishments . . arc beyond belief. One is sentenced to years for what normally would carry |a maximum] penalty of several days. If by chance you have survived five years in the Foreign Legion, your health would be permanently ruined. Once released [from duty] and shoved over the French border, you will be received by your fellow Germans as a cripple and beggar. . Therefore, German compatriots, do not heed the enticements of unscrupulous recruiters, do not sign up at recruitment offices. 23 The none-too-subtle implication here was that German workers in this case should not seek greener pastures elsewhere, and certainly not through enlistment in the Legion, whose allure was merely a mirage.

43 How to harness the general to the Pan-German cause and simultaneously satisfy his excessive ego was the challenge that Class faced. Rechtsanwalt Putz, a loyal Pan-German and former Navy League activist, understood Keim's character but was far from sympathetic to what he considered the general's selfish intentions. "I am very critical of Keim and am totally convinced . . that he only can, and desires to be, more useful where he can experience the adulation he desires," Putz revealed to Class.

Thorough and rapid army expansion was, therefore, essential to the nation's survival, and the Chief of the General Staff suggested an additional 150,000 recruits per annum, thereby raising the army's peacetime strength from 620,000 to 920,000 men. In addition, he demanded the creation of three new army corps and the expansion of the cavalry, field artillery, communications (and telegraph) troops, and the nascent air force. Another point of contention concerned the expansion of the officer corps.

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