Courtesy Reuters

The Armaments and Military Power of Germany

TO EVALUATE the military strength of a country one examines its military system in time of peace and takes account of the potential power which it can command in time of war. In looking at Germany today, however, I shall confine myself to the purely military factors, while admitting the importance of two elements which really cannot be overlooked -- the demographic factor and industrial power.

It is not my intention to reopen the charge that Germany has not executed the Versailles Treaty. But in order to make the subject clear I shall have to point out: first, the legal situation created by the Treaty, and the modifications adopted by the Allies; and, second, the actual situation in Germany, which is very different today from that legally prescribed, even in its emended form. The difference between the de jure and the de facto positions will show how remarkably the offensive power of Germany has increased, and that consequently any argument founded simply on the Versailles statute is sapped at its base. Finally, by comparing the German claims with the ideas of General von Seeckt, the spiritual chief of the German Army, I shall try to draw objective conclusions and offer a reasoned judgment upon the present military power of Germany and its orientation.


The military statute of the Versailles Treaty (which contained no time limit) was intended to reduce the possibility of German aggression, to facilitate the eventual application of the sanctions which were provided for in order to compel Germany to observe the Treaty, and to render possible the preparation of a general limitation of armaments by all nations. Its aims were not punitive, but merely to stabilize Europe as it was in 1919. And it marked the first step of a desired evolution in the direction of disarmament.

Let us in the first place see what the Treaty of Versailles prescribes. It gives Germany a professional army and limits its effectives and maté

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