The German military, also known as the Wehrmacht, played a significant role in the events of World War II. From 1939 to 1945, the Wehrmacht fought on multiple fronts, from the invasion of Poland to the Battle of Berlin. The German military was known for its highly trained and disciplined soldiers, as well as its advanced weapons and tactics. However, it was also responsible for numerous war crimes and atrocities committed during the war.



The Wehrmacht, the German military, underwent significant development and expansion in the years leading up to World War II. During the 1930s, under the direction of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, the Wehrmacht underwent a rapid transformation from a small, limited military force to a powerful and well-equipped military machine.


In the early 1930s, the German military was still bound by the limitations set by the Treaty of Versailles, which had ended World War I. The treaty restricted the size of the German military, and prohibited Germany from developing certain types of weapons, such as tanks and submarines. However, Hitler and the Nazi Party, who came to power in 1933, made it a priority to rebuild the military and circumvent these limitations.


The first step in this process was the creation of the Reichswehr, the new German military, in 1935. Hitler increased the size of the military by conscripting young men into the armed forces, and also began a program of rearmament, secretly building up Germany's military capabilities. This was done in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, but the other powers were hesitant to take any action.


In 1936, Hitler ordered the formation of the Wehrmacht, a new unified armed forces that brought together the Reichswehr, the Luftwaffe (air force), and the Kriegsmarine (navy) under one command. The Wehrmacht was then rapidly expanded and modernized, with the development of new weapons and tactics.


In March of 1936, Hitler ordered the remilitarization of the Rhineland, which was a clear violation of the Treaty of Versailles, but again, the other powers didn't respond. This move marked a significant step in Hitler's aggressive expansionist policies and demonstrated the growing strength of the Wehrmacht.


The Wehrmacht also began to incorporate the ideology of National Socialism into its training and operations, with the emphasis on racial purity, obedience, and the conquest of Lebensraum, or "living space" for the "Aryan" race. This ideological component would have a significant impact on the actions of the Wehrmacht during the war, as it would justify the persecution and extermination of certain groups of people deemed undesirable by the Nazi regime.


By the end of the 1930s, the Wehrmacht had become a powerful military force, with a well-trained and disciplined army, advanced weapons, and modern tactics. It was ready to launch a massive war of aggression that would plunge Europe and the world into the deadliest conflict in human history.

Outbreak of War

At the start of the war, the Wehrmacht was considered one of the most powerful and well-equipped militaries in the world. The German military was composed of three branches: the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy), and the Luftwaffe (air force). The Heer was the largest branch, with over 4 million soldiers at its peak. The Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe were smaller, but still played important roles in the war effort.

The Wehrmacht was known for its fast and effective Blitzkrieg tactics, which relied on the use of tanks, aircraft, and mobile infantry to quickly overrun enemy defenses. These tactics were first employed in the invasions of Poland and France, and were extremely successful in the early years of the war. The German military also made use of advanced weapons, such as the Tiger tank and the V-1 and V-2 rockets.

The Wehrmacht was also involved in numerous war crimes and atrocities during the war. The German military was responsible for the Holocaust, in which six million Jews and millions of other individuals deemed undesirable by the Nazi regime were systematically murdered. The Wehrmacht was also involved in the extermination of other minority groups such as the Romani people and the disabled, as well as the forced displacement and enslavement of millions of civilians in occupied territories.

The German military was also responsible for the mass execution of prisoners of war, including the infamous Katyn Massacre, in which over 20,000 Polish military officers were murdered by the Soviet secret police under orders from the highest levels of the Soviet government.

As the war progressed, the Wehrmacht faced increasing challenges on multiple fronts. The tide began to turn against Germany with the entry of the United States into the war, and the launch of the Eastern and Western offensives by the Soviet Union and the Western Allies. The German military was stretched thin, and by the end of the war, it was outmatched and outgunned.

In the final months of the war, the Wehrmacht was forced to retreat on all fronts, and Germany was ultimately defeated in May of 1945. The German military was then officially disbanded, and many of its leaders were subsequently tried and convicted for war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials.


In conclusion, the German military, or the Wehrmacht, played a significant role in the events of World War II. Its highly trained and disciplined soldiers, advanced weapons, and tactics were responsible for some of the early successes of the war. However, the Wehrmacht was also responsible for numerous war crimes and atrocities, and its defeat marked the end of the war and the beginning of a new era in world history.