This is a comprehensive dissertation of the reason for German military sucesses.
The German General Staff was an institution whose rise and development gave the German military a decided advantage over its adversaries. The Staff amounted to its best "weapon" for nearly a century and a half.
In a narrow sense, the General Staff was a full-time body at the head of the Prussian and later, German Army, responsible for the continuous study of all aspects of war, and for drawing up and reviewing plans for mobilization or campaign. It existed unofficially from 1806, and was formally established by law in 1814, the first General Staff in existence. It was distinguished by the formal selection of its officers by intelligence and proven merit rather than patronage or wealth, and by the exhaustive and rigorously structured training which staff officers undertook.
The Prussian General Staff also enjoyed greater freedom from political control than its contemporaries, and this autonomy was enshrined in law on the establishment of the German Empire in 1871. It came to be regarded as the home of German militarism in the aftermath of the First World War, and the victors attempted to suppress the institution. It nevertheless survived to play its accustomed part in the rearmament of Germany and the Second World War.
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