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What Does Wehrmacht Mean?

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Rajesh Shri answered
Wehrmacht which means defense force in German was the name used to refer to the army, navy and air force of Germany during the period from 1935 to 1945 when the Nazi party was in power. The units of the Wehrmacht were Heer (army), Kriegsmarine (navy) and Luftwaffe (air force). Initially wehrmacht was a generic term used to denote the armed forces of any country; however the term became specifically associated with the German armed forces when the Nazi party started conscripting soldiers for the army.

The supreme commander of the Wehrmacht was Adolf Hitler the fuehrer (leader) of the country while Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel served as the head of the OKW the Armed Forces High Command. It is estimated that about 18 million soldiers served in the Wehrmacht during its existence.

The Wehrmacht introduced the concept of Blitzkrieg warfare in World War II in which the air force fighter planes bombarded important areas of the enemy territory followed by a rapid invasion comprising of the army (infantry) in coordination with the artillery (tanks and heavy guns) which carried the war deep in to enemy territory. The blitzkrieg method of warfare enabled the Wehrmacht to win the battle of Poland and battle of France in World War II but proved ineffective in the Battle of Britain and the Invasion of the Soviet Union.

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