The Prussian General Staff: Meritocracy in Arms. Part 4a.

‘Berliner Siegessäule monument’. By Mario Zorro (author). All rights reserved

 

Conclusions and analysis

The battle is over, and the enemy is entirely defeated. The officer is proud; after many years of careful preparation, the outcome has been entirely positive. Yet he knows victory is not only due to preparation and planning alone. The high degree of autonomy and room for initiative he was allowed to exert allowed him to react to many unexpected situations both he and his troops faced during the encounter. And now, as he stands proud and looking at the battlefield, little he suspects his nation is about to change History for decades to come, thus shaping a century. All thanks to the victory of that day. And all thanks to a very unique and remarkable military institution and system: the Prussian General Staff.

Legendary

The Prussian General Staff became a very influential and legendary institution in History and in Military Affairs, becoming also the trademark of a nation and its armed forces. This is not a surprise, for it forged its fame through the impressive victories achieved by Prussia in the last half of the 19th century, forging the tactics and techniques that revolutionized warfare, emerging from defeat during the Napoleonic Wars. That defeat sparked the emergence of this institution and sparked the changes it introduced; even after the 1918 defeat, the General Staff introduced further changes by crafting new tactics and doctrines that are now a cornerstone of modern warfare and of many armies.

Innovations with a deep impact weren’t only of tactical and operational nature, as it focused on the quality of officers, their education and preparation – at the point of enabling them to have initiative instead of blindly following orders – thus contributing heavily to warfare. Indeed, the best armies are those having the best warriors within their ranks, or the best soldiers or even the best leaders; the General Staff crafted the most remarkable armies by crafting those guiding the soldiers in the field, those materializing the strategic intentions of the top leaders. The General Staff also made of the military an art and a discipline by emphasizing in the study of warfare and every aspect of it. It also brought meritocracy in the art of war.

However, its place of origin and effectiveness sparked several myths. Other myths also emerged due to the close relation to the particular place it emerged from, being that place rather polemic.

 

The myths

Since Prussia-Germany is the place of origin of the General Staff, it is quite inevitable that the general perception of it as a negative factor in German and Universal History, due to the role of the country in the last two centuries. In addition, several misconceptions about the essence of the General Staff and the Prussia-German army emerged thanks to the depiction of both elements in popular culture and the general imaginary.

In the light of this, it is necessary to review and debunk these myths again, with the sole aim of contributing to a more accurate – and less ideologized – image on the General Staff, the Prussian-German armed forces and on Military Affairs in general.

The first myth is precisely about Military Affairs, with the general perception being that the militaries are just about simply following orders and of a rather uneducated and unprepared, instinctive and ‘brute’ mindset and essence lacking any intellectual activity. The same Prussian-German Army is viewed as such too. This study shows that reality is very different. As von Scharnhorst once put, warfare requires a large amount of intellectual work and preparation: the strategy and tactics are something to be carefully considered, the adversary is to be deeply studied and understood, and history and other disciplines are deeply study in order to perform either in peace or wartime, according to Schoy (n.d.). Moreover, initiative and responsiveness are required many times to allow the fulfilment of the general objectives or to solve an operational problem thanks to a careful intellectual training aimed at enabling careful evaluation of a given situation; the General Staff instilled this. This rebukes this first myth[1].

This takes us directly to the second myth, concerning the Prussian-German Army: the myth of this army being a very strict, vertical and authoritarian army operating with mathematical precision, being then inflexible and perfectionist, neutralizing any chance of initiative. The fact is that this army, thanks to the General Staff, allowed a wide degree of autonomy and initiative, learning from mistakes, avoiding pressure and evaluating its performance, using debriefings to address operational issues (Bergamino & Palitta, 2015; Cau, 2011; Condell & Zabecki, 2009; Corum, 2009; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992; Schoy, n.d.). Even during the Third Reich, these were core operational principles.

The next myths stand on the political dimension. The third myth, for instance, is about the supposition of the General Staff working very closely with the National Socialist regime in preparing for WWII, mainly due to the widespread association of the German military and its military traditions and culture with the Nazis and with Militarism, thanks to the image forged by the Allies after both World Wars. In reality, the General Staff was part of the ‘old’ Prussian traditions the Nazis – and Hitler, most of all – despised. Also, tactics used by the Wehrmacht were devised during the Weimar Republic, thanks to the efforts of Hans von Seeckt and the keeping of traditions and functions of the General Staff thus laying the ground for the revenant armed forces. And relations between the Führer and the General Staff were rather strained and conflictive due to three reasons: opposing principles, strong disagreements on operational aspects, and political opposition at the point of many General Staff officers taking part in the 20th of July 1944 assassination plot against Hitler. The result was the relegation of the General Staff to a secondary role during the war[2].

The fourth has two dimensions: one, that a non-democratic system cannot spark a system like the General Staff nor to spark militaries having flexibility, responsiveness, adaptability and initiative; that more liberal and democratic regimes are the perfect ground for this. Second, the idea of Prussia and the Imperial Germany being authoritarian societies with little political participation to the citizens.

A first observation on the myth’s first dimension: the Prussian General Staff was in fact part of the needed military and political reforms Prussia needed in the early 19th century, rooted also in liberal and reformistic ideas incarnated by von Scharnhorst and his principles on education, merit, autonomy and impartiality, as Görlitz (1985), Gunther (2012), Klein (2001) and Schoy (n.d.) clearly pointed out. Also, by the times of Friedrich II Der Große and afterwards, a proto-General Staff emerged that laid the foundations of meritocracy, independent command and freedom on action, even though they were more the product of operational needs during the 7 Years War, according to Görlitz (1985), Klein (2001) and Millotat (1992).

Furthermore, the German Army that emerged after WWI and in the early years of the Nazi regime had as core principles flexibility, responsiveness, responsibility, adaptability and initiative. Even despite of the characteristics of the same German society. As Condell & Zabecki (2009) point out, whereas the German Society is based upon acceptation of authority, social rigidness and bureaucratism along and the clear verticality of the political system prior WWII, the Wehrmacht was based upon Auftragstaktik, freedom of movement and initiative. Moreover, the commander was tasked with communicating clearly the orders or intentions and even to clarify them to the subordinated officers did not understood them; the subordinated commander was allowed to request such clarification. And even the chain of command was that smooth that diminished the barriers between ranks and prompting the officers to “live with and share the same experience of the troops” (pp. 19-27).

Interestingly, even the Allies ended in mirroring and incorporating many German operational principles into their own so to defeat the Wehrmacht, with the Americans showing particular interest and basing their operational principles in the early Cold War upon those of the Wehrmacht (Corum, 2009, p.10 and p. 13; Condell & Zabecki, 2009, pp. 35-36).

The conclusion here is that a system and an army with the abovementioned principles and characteristics can emerge regardless of the type of political regime, and even that a liberal/democratic regime are not necessarily a requisite for those principles and characteristics.

Now we can analyse the second dimension of the fourth myth, of Prussia and the Imperial Army being authoritarian and allowing little to none political participation to the citizens, so to test the perception of their “undemocratic” nature and considering it was under these two political systems the General Staff emerged and evolved. If looking at Prussia and the Imperial Germany from a current point of view, the indeed might appear entirely “undemocratic”. However, the reign and reforms introduced by Friedrich II Der Große were rather liberal as his mindset was “Liberal” considering the trend of absolute monarchies then, and thanks to the influence of Enlightenment, Illustration and of Voltaire in Alte Fritz, as Schmitz (2012) points out[3].

Also, the socio-economic and political reforms – and their already mentioned impact in the military sphere – during the Napoleonic Wars led to gradual but increasing liberalization of the Prussian society, with relatively widespread education, liberalization of peasants and the emergence of important industries – whose role would be crucial in the future – taking place. Of course, these reforms were scaled-down after the defeat of France, but their pace was irreversible in Prussia, as Bömelburg (2012) remarks. With the event of 1848 more advances took place, with a Constitution and a Parliament – the Preußischer Landtag – emerging and based upon a “3 class-system”, despite the brief length of such events, following Barth (2012a) and Barth (2012b)[4]. In fact, even one of the main philosophers of liberalism stated that Prussia was an ideal model for English politics, according to Clark (as cited in Barth & Schmitz, 2012, p. 126).

After the Prussian victory of 1971 and the emergence of the Empire, the previous reforms further consolidated along Liberalism, being strong in the Western provinces (Rheinland, Baden and Württemberg) thanks to the influence of the French Revolution ideals and as trade was their main economic activity. Prussia and Bayern remained strongly conservative, with the Junkers being the most influential actor within Prussia and with the peasant, small bourgeoisie and city inhabitants being liberal, according to Guillen (1973). A new Constitution emerged as well, which incorporated many of the previous reforms and allowing the provinces a wide margin of autonomy, with Bayern and other even allowed to keep their own armies and Defence Ministries and their own bi-cameral Parliaments. The Landtag became a representative organ for the provinces with elections by voting upon the abovementioned three-class system, with participation being limited (Guillen, 1973).

A national representative Parliaments emerged in the shape of the Reichstag and Bundestag, consolidating the emergence and role of political parties, being a key in counterbalancing the power of the Kanzler[5]. The Reichstag indeed controlled the actions of the government, legislating to vote the laws and blocking those proposing by the Kanzler, forcing von Bismarck to seek ad hoc coalitions or even to threaten its dissolution[6]. Even von Bismarck, despite his despise for a Parliamentary regime and the emerging democratic political dynamics, introduced universal vote yet for limiting the autonomies of provinces (Guillen, 1973).

The same emergence of political parties further evidences the quite democratic and free nature of German Imperial Politics. As Guillen (1973) points out, the Reichstag enabled their role despite their initial inability to make use of mass political participation and other issues that limited their impact. This resulted in little participation and prevalence of interest groups. In any case, political parties were crucial in allowing or denying the Kanzler to advance on his policies through support or opposition, with the latter being common[7]. Participation increased, however, thanks to the increasing social issues and demographics, increasing political mobilization and participation and making politics more dynamic, at the point of many sectors calling for a British-style Parliamentary-Monarchy. This led to clashes prior and during WWI that sparked timid reforms and promises for additional ones after the war. In addition, the Kanzler and even the Kaiser had to wage political campaigns to secure seats for their parties of preference at the Parliaments. And the same Kaiser Wilhem II had an initial liberal orientation, aiming at a ‘popular monarchy’ despite a return to conservatism, following Guillen (1973).

Indeed, the people was not the main sovereign as it is nowadays, nor the Imperial German politics were a Parliamentary-Monarchy strictly speaking with the Kaiser often having the last say, yet it was very far from the very authoritarian and absolutist state it is usually depicted.

And clearly this dynamic and participative political system affected the military more than once, rebuking also the ideas of Militarism being the strong political force and orientation in Prussia and the Imperial Germany. The military budget was one of the main sources of tensions between the Kanzler and the Legislative and representative bodies, which repealed many times any military reforms or increase of credits for the military. This was the case in 1863 with the Liberals rejecting a proposed military reform and budget by the King and then Kaiser Wilhem I, and in 1906 with a similar event with a proposed increase of the budget to support military operations in Southwest Africa and a proposed military law by Kanzler Caprivi. Approvals were quite occasional, like that of the proposal to reinforce the army and the navy in 1907, following Barth (2012b) and Guillen (1973).

With the myths and misconceptions being addressed, it is now time to talk about the disadvantages and advantages of the (Prussian-German) General Staff system.

 

The shortcomings of a system

The General Staff system has a registered good performance, with countries that adopted or introduced this system faring well in conflict, chief among them Israel, or giving a good fight despite facing the odds, like Germany in WII. But this system is far from perfect, having faults and defects that hampered its performance and that of the armed forces. These issues were of inherent nature or due to external factors.

The first issue consisted on the everlasting problematic relation between the General Staff – and the military – with the political sphere in the shape of the strong intervention in politics during the Imperial Era, specially under von Moltke the Young and von Schlieffen, as it intervened heavily in the decision-making and framing of foreign policies (Epkenhans, 2010; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992). Israel faced a similar problem prior and during the Yom Kippur War[8].

The second issue, very related with the previous ones, was the lack of political and military clarity under von Moltke the Young and von Schlieffen, with serious consequences for the Imperial Germany and worsened by the strained relations between Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Chiefs of General Staff. The same Kaiser lacked strategic and political clarity at the point of being ignored and replaced by Hindenburg and Ludendorff, as Epkenhans (2010).

The third issue, operational in nature, is the limitations and problems caused by Auftragstaktik, with issues taking place during the War with Austria and the Franco-Prussian War as many units executed wrongly manoeuvres that resulted in heavy casualties and even jeopardizing the outcome of the whole campaign, following Kennedy (2005) and Gunther (2012).

The fourth issue affected the debriefing and feedback principle due to external factors. For instance, as wave of overconfidence, stagnation and arrogance became a trend after 1971, with exercises and manoeuvres being more a biased way to validate preconceived ideas on plans and the army’s capacity. Strategic, political and diplomatic aspects were also set aside (Herwig, 1998). Israel faced this problem too, as an accurate political evaluation on Syria and Egypt was absent and intelligence information was fitted to preconceived ideas on the adversary by the Israeli top brass, with arrogance, stagnation and overconfidence emerging too (Herzog, 2003; Herzog, 2006; Murray, 2009).

The fifth issue is the risk of the officer – usually a high rank or the same Chief of General Staff – concentrated more on ‘doing politics’ or in pleasing political figures and leaders and other high ranks to advance his career, instead of – and at the expense of – fulfilling his duty of preparing and fitting the armed forces for having a good level of preparedness and capacities. This is the danger of the ‘courtesan officer’ that compromises the efficiency of the General Staff the same Armed Forces alike and of military-civil relations. Autonomy and initiative of field officers, detection and correction of operational – and other – issues, and the definition of strategic consideration being hampered too[9].

A sixth issue – related to the first one – is the concentration of the military and the General Staff on dictating politics instead of being aware of domestic and potential adversaries’ political developments, as it was the case prior and during WWI with the military basically running the German Empire (Epkenhans, 2010; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992). This prevents the military of performing well given its intervention in a foreign field and its usual mismanagement that compromises strategic aspects.

A seventh issue, of more contemporary nature and rooted in some concerns (especially within the Bundeswehr), is the possibility of the advising officer or the field officer undermining the authority of the commander, and of meritocracy being negative to the officers’ corps (Millotat, 1992; Schoy, n.d.). This situation can take place despite the General System being designed to orientate officers at assessing and being capable of taking decision on their own if needed, increasing also the effects of the fifth issue and with inner rivalries or something similar emerging.

And eight issue is the tendency to focus on the tactical aspect at the expense of the strategic aspect – even despite the fact of strategic aspect considered as crucial – and the emergence of operational issues in consequence. This was a problem the German Army had during WWI, but the Wehrmacht suffered especially from this, as preparation of air and land assets had a more tactical nature with strategic considerations being ignored, leading to defeat. As Condell & Zabecki (2009) pointed out, the Truppenführung – the field manual of the Wehrmacht – and operational doctrines developed prior and during WWI were strongly focused on tactical and operational aspects leaving strategic and political aspects behind (pp. 20-23, and p.32). Artillery, combat intelligence and logistics were also dismissed by the German General Staff when framing the Truppenführung, having a heavy toll in operations during WWII, following Condell & Zabecki (2009).

This problem took place in other armies that implemented the General Staff system, being the IDF the most remarkable – and strikingly similar – case: the IDF General Staff and the same IDF were concentrated on air power and armoured warfare while lacking a combined-arms doctrine and infantry and artillery support, as well as infantry-tank co-operation and neglecting infantry weaponry and night warfare[10].

This is one of the most serious issues the General Staff system had, hence being a sort of ‘fabric defect’ of this system, rooted in the mindset of the military that sparked and developed it. This is something every officer and Chief of General Staff shall correct by taking into consideration the political and strategic factors, crucial in any war, and regardless of the preference for operational and tactical aspect – that might be framed by the same strategic and geographical situation.

 

System of advantages

The abovementioned issues clearly evidence that the General Staff system is far from perfect. Yet despite them, the General Staff system was – and still is – a very effective and functional system. of course, and as Kennedy (2004) remarked, it was not mistake-proof. But it was the study by General Staff officers of past issues and their corrections what enable the system to work properly.

This is the first advantage of the General Staff system. The study of the past was of high importance for the Prussian General Staff to learn from the past and apply the lessons mainly by debriefing and feedback, alongside education and study of military history and of past wars and campaigns to encourage reflections on their origins, developments and lessons by such wars and campaigns. Those studies also allowed officers to reflect upon military topics, as weel as by a comparative analysis with reading used as tool for this (Dimarco, 2009; Guderian, 2006; Herwig, 1998; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992; Schoy, n.d.). This study of the past is crucial even nowadays, for its provide armies with invaluable lessons form past campaigns and wars to look for lessons in future conflicts, enabling also the officers to have a high analysis capacity thus maximizing their operational performance, thanks also to debriefing and feedback.

The second advantage is advanced planning for the next – potential – conflict in peacetime. It is quite obvious nowadays, but this was an important innovation made by the Prussian General Staff, allowing and enhancing the preparation of armed forces to deal with any potential situation and scenario. This is complemented by the devising of new ways to wage war – in tandem with technological innovations – and by preparation of defensive and offensive/counteroffensive plans, along the study of mobilization and detection of operational and asset issues to address them[11]. Being intertwined with study of past conflicts and campaigns, their lessons were applied to the solution of current issues alongside exercise and manoeuvres.

The third advantage is the focusing on the education and preparation of low and middle ranks (or officers) and the remarkable mixture between theory and practice, and the application of acquired knowledge in practical aspects, maximizing the previous advantages. The results were – and are now – highly skilled and well-prepared officers capable of compensating issues at strategic and leadership levels (Dimarco, 2009; Guderian, 2006; Görlitz, 1985; Gunther, 2012; Kennedy, 2007; Herwig, 1998; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992; Schoy, n.d.; Vego, 2012). This is an accurate approach, considering that it is on the soldiers were the efforts of war are being carried, with officers and sub-officers being important as they direct the troops, hence in both lies the key to success and the fulfilment of tactical and even strategic aims. War is decided by soldiers and officers in the field, highlighting the importance of the latter as they can issue the orders and take crucial decisions capable of deciding or altering the course of a battle, of a war and even of history. Hence the importance of their education and preparation.

The fourth advantage is the Auftragstaktik (or general-command) principle, which further increases the preparation and performance of officers thanks to the room for initiative and independence of decision and movement, taking place at unit, army or group of armies levels. General strategic and operational objectives, lack of constraints and a decentralized command and control maximizes the effects of this advantage. The room for interpretation or modification of orders by the officer(s) is also crucial, as he, unlike the superior officer(s), is actually in the field hence having a better judgement and evaluation of the situation[12]. Flexibility, absorption of risk and failure, and the commanding officer assuming responsibility increased the benefits of this advantage too (Görlitz, 1985; Gunther, 2012; Kennedy, 2007; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992; Schoy, n.d).

In addition, interoperability and interdependence between units is considered as such is crucial for fulfilling general objectives as units are required to support each other, as well as different arms, hence being combined-arms tactics central. This increases the firepower and operational optimal performance when in operations, in conjunction with the other principles of Auftragstaktik. (Guderian, 2007; Jackson, 2012; Kennedy, 2007; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992; Murray & Millet, 2005).

The fifth advantage is the importance given to meritocracy, aimed at ensuring high-quality and good preparation of officers, and to improve leadership and compensating also the abovementioned issues, and to ensure a top-quality advice to field commanders, benefiting the armed forces in general. This also work in tandem with education and the study of the past, enhanced by removal of dogmas or ideological/political preconceptions, doctrines and ideas to allow an officer to have an independent, receptive, flexible, realist, practical and responsive mindset; all crucial to deal with the unpredictable nature of war (Dimarco, 2009; Görlitz, 1985; Millotat, 1992; Schoy, n.d.).

The sixth advantage is the implementation of manoeuvres and exercises, as the allow testing and enhancement of plans and assets, tactics and doctrines, and to find and solve issues alongside debriefing and study of the past (Guderian, 2007; Herwig, 1998; Jackson, 2012; Klein, 2001; Murray & Milet, 2005; Schoy, n.d.). These tools are also useful for training both troops and officers given their value for learning and provision of near-combat training.

The seventh advantage, close to the previous one, is the implementation of wargaming for similar purposes (Bergamino & Palitta, 2015; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992; Murray & Millet, 2005; Schoy, n.d.; Vego, 2012). Though not precisely introduced by the Prussian General Staff, it was an important element within that system, contributing to education and preparation of officers, as Vego (2012) remarked.

The eight advantage is the emphasis placed on technology. Nowadays it is normal and taken for granted, but it was the Prussian General Staff system what maximized the combination of technology with military aspects, grasping its benefits. It was von Moltke the Elder and von Schlieffen who introduced the consideration of technological advances and innovations into operational, tactical and strategic considerations (Bergamino & Palitta, 2015; Chant, 1999; GlobalSecurity, 2011; Görlitz, 1985; Gunther, 2012; Guderian, 2007; Herwig, 1998; Jackson, 2012; Kennedy, 2007; Klein, 2001; Herwig, 1998; Millotat, 1992). This advantage allows any army to have cutting-edge assets and capabilities, operationalizing technology and incorporating into command and control and assets, contributing to preparedness. This is very important as technological advances are faster, introducing new elements and dimensions and hence new threats and challenges.

The ninth advantage is a sum of the previous ones, in the shape of the series of innovations introduced in technological, operational and tactical aspects, being the Panzerdivisionen and the same Blitzkrieg the inevitable examples, since they were the result of studies of the past war – WWI – and the absorption of innovations introduced by the allies then, alongside exercise and manoeuvres to test and improve the new techniques (Bergamino & Palitta, 2015; Cau, 2011; Chant, 1999; GlobalSecurity, 2011; Görlitz, 1985; Guderian, 2007; Gunther, 2012; Herwig, 1998; Jackson, 2012; Kennedy, 2007; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992; Murray & Millet, 2005). The General Staff system allows any armed force to grasp the benefits and possibilities brought by technological developments and innovations and to devise new operational techniques, doctrines and strategies; this is valid also for the detection of innovations and developments introduced by past or potential future adversaries.

The tenth advantage, a derivate from the Auftragstaktik principle, is the smooth chain of command thanks to the wide degree of initiative and direct communication between commanders and subordinated commanders and officers, facilitating transmission of orders. It also enhances relations and performance of the chain of command overall from the top to the bottom and vice-versa, enabling the field commander/officer to prepare and execute plans independently while making use of responsiveness and high capacity for reaction. It allows him to detect and take advantage of opportunities when possible (Görlitz, 1985; Gunther, 2012; Herwig, 1998; Kennedy, 2007; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992; Murray & Millet, 2005; Rommel, 2006).

The eleventh advantage is also a very crucial one as it involves politics. The General Staff required – and still does – the officer to have awareness of political developments at home and abroad to grasp the influence of politics in the shape and objectives of his own armed forces and those of the potential adversaries, allowing also evaluation of their performance and characteristics prior and during a war. This is also helpful to grasp strategic and national objectives his own nation and other might have and how they might model their armed forces in accordance[13]. The requirement for having awareness of socio-economic, cultural and other factors is also largely beneficial (Clausewitz, 1999; Dimarco, 2009; Herwig, 1998; Millotat, 1992, Schoy, n.d.).

And the last, twelfth advantage is the value and operational principles laid by the Prussian General Staff, made evident already at this point and that framed the mindset and guidelines of officers, complementing the formation for operational purposes with value-based orientation and formation. The effects are the good performance and contribution by officers to the war waged by their countries with their integrity and ethics being framed and applied. These principles by the General Staff should be the north for every officer in any armed forces.

With the debunking of many myths surrounding the armed forces, the Prussian General Staff and the Prussian-German armed forces and its the advantages and disadvantages being discussed, the benefits the General System has for current armed forces is made evident on a general sense. The next part will discuss the role and benefits a General Staff system could have for armed forces facing reforms and reduced defence budgets. It will also discuss the role the General Staff might have in the light of the current types of conflicts and wars.

 

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Footnotes

[1] Of course there are armed forces where this is not the case, but I think it depends more on the (military) culture framing said armed forces.

[2] Cfr: Condell & Zabecki, 2009; Guderian, 2007; Jackson, 2012; Klein, 2001; Millotat, 1992; Murray & Millet, 2005.

[3] Nevertheless, the system of rule under Alte Fritz was less dependent on rank and function and more on the proximity to the sovereign, as Schmitz (2012), remarks.

[4] Similar representative bodies emerged also in other German States.

[5] The Kanzler, in turn, was chosen by the Kaiser hence being subordinated to him, exposing inly the intended political courses to the Reichstag, as Guillen (1973) remarks.

[6] As Guillen (1973) pointed out, the Bundestag was its equal, capable of blocking laws approved in the Reichstag, approve taxes and other economic and trade affairs, and influence on foreign affairs, as well as to be able of dissolving the Reichstag.

[7] This generalized opposition but also some temporal support, mainly by parties of the Left and the Liberals before and after the Unification, are made evident by both Barth (2012b) and Guillen (1973).

[8] See: Herzog (2003), Herzog (2006), and Murray (2009).

[9] See: Schoy (n.d) and the Part 2b of this study. In addition, this problem is related with the other side of the coin, which is the sovereign having a very negative impact a policymaker could have in the military sphere, at the point of either hampering its performance or preventing it to meet any set strategic and national objectives. All due to mere political reasons at the expense of strategic objectives. Cfr: Part 2b.

[10] See: Herzog, 2003; Herzog, 2005; and Murray, 2009. This problem might be also by the focus of the Prussian-German Army on deciding a conflict on a fast manner, following Condell & Zabecki (2009).

[11] See: Bergamino & Palitta, 2015; Cau, 2011; Chant, 1999; GlobalSecurity, 2011; Görlitz, 1985; Guderian, 2007; Gunther, 2012; Herwig, 1998; Jackson, 2012; Kennedy, 2007; Klein, 2001; Murray & Millet, 2005; Schoy, n.d.

[12] Orders, in turn, have to be brief and direct so to allow agility and to facilitate relations between the high and field commanders and officers.

[13] This also requires a deep study of the political mindset or ideologies framing the politics and strategic objectives of a given country.

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