Der Name ist Programm

Erste Parade
On January 20, 1956, the line-up appeal of yet unnamed German forces took place in Andernach.

With the formation of the new German armed forces in 1955, the debate about the name for the troupe began.Several names were in the game, eventually the term Bundeswehr prevailed.

Credit: Markus Tiedke

The visit of German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in the Krahnberg barracks on January 20, 1956 should show the world that the fledgling Federal Republic can contribute to the defense of Western Europe.Barely three weeks before the first recruits of the new German forces were engaged, now they stood before the assembled world press. Army soldiers from Andernach, Navy people from Wilhelmshaven and the representatives of the Air Force from Nörvenich. Around them the parts hastily procured initial – tanks and howitzers. Nearly 60 years later, hard to imagine, but true: The official name for the troops lacked as yet.

Without names for installation appeal

Logically, the Chancellor, the men in Andernach spoke first as “soldiers of the new armed forces” to. Behind the scenes, was indeed struggled for some time to the appropriate name. The traditional concepts of “imperial army” from the imperial era and “Reichswehr” of the Weimar Republic were indeed briefly in conversation, but fell through. Amazing: For the massively burdened by war and many German crimes called “Wehrmacht” could at that time according to a survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute still warm over a third of all respondents. About a quarter went against the name “Bundeswehr” before. An opinion of the then Federal President Theodor Heuss a close.

Erste Parade
Chancellor Konrad Adenauer proceeds together with Defense Minister Theodor Blank, General Adolf Heusinger and Brigadier General Hellmuth Laegerle from the front.

A third still voted for the Wehrmacht

The name Bundeswehr leaned conceptually one hand to the “Reichswehr” the first state-authored the German democracy of Weimar. On the other hand, the term “Bundeswehr” traced back to the year 1849, when in the Frankfurt National Assembly can discuss a joint army of the former German states.

Roots date back to 1849

Finally the decision was made in late February 1956 security committee of the Bundestag. At the request of the CSU’s Richard Hunter agreed the Panel on the name “Bundeswehr”. After Hunter’s statement the initiative for this designation was, however, made by former General of the Armored Corps and nunmehrigen FDP deputies Hasso von Manteuffel.Regardless of the issue of intellectual authorship were the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany to the “Law on the Legal Status of Soldiers” (Soldiers Act) of 20 March 1956 finally the name Bundeswehr. The “Bund” was lifted from the baptism.

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