Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is the Federal Republic of Germany's domestic security agency. Together with the Landesämter für Verfassungsschutz at the state level, it is tasked with intelligence-gathering on threats concerning the democratic order, the existence and security of the federation or one of its states, the peaceful coexistence of peoples; the BfV reports to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Between 1 August 2012 and 18 September 2018, the agency was headed by Hans-Georg Maaßen; the BfV is overseen by the Federal Ministry of the Interior as well as the Bundestag, the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information and other federal institutions. The Federal Minister of the Interior has administrative and functional control of the BfV. Parliamentary control is exercised by the Bundestag in general debate, question times and urgent inquires, as well as by its committees, most notably the Parliamentary Control Committee and the G10 Commission.
The BfV is under judicial control and all its activities can be challenged in court. Based on the right of information, the general public can direct inquiries and petitions at the BfV. Unlike some intelligence agencies of other countries, the agents of the German intelligence services, including the BfV, have no police authority; this is due to the history of abusive police power in previous regimes. In particular, they do not carry weapons; the BfV is based in Cologne. It is headed by a president and two vice-presidents and organised in eight departments: Department Z: Central Services Department IT: IT and operational intelligence technology Department 1: Basic Issues Department 2: Right-wing Extremism/Terrorism Department 3: Central Operational Support Department 4: Counter-espionage, Personnel/Physical Security, Counter-sabotage and Protection Against Industrial Espionage Department 5: Extremism of foreigners and Left-wing Extremism Department 6: Islamic extremism and terrorismIn 2013 federal funding for the BfV was €207 million.
While the BfV uses all kinds of surveillance technology and infiltration, they use open sources. The BfV publishes a yearly report, intended to raise awareness about anti-constitutional activities. Main concerns of the BfV are: Left-wing political extremists, platforms and parties, notably certain factions within Die Linke, as well as other smaller parties and groups preaching communism Right-wing political extremists. Extremist organisations of foreigners living in Germany. Cults such as Scientology. Organised crime is mentioned as a threat to democracy and order, free enterprise in the country's business economic system. However, organized crime is only marginally, if at all combated by the BfV, as it falls into the responsibility of the normal police the BKA. In the course of drafting the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany the military governors of the Trizone outlined the competences of federal police and intelligence. In accordance with this outline the BfV was established on 7 November 1950.
At first the BfV was concerned with Neo-Nazism and communist revolutionary activities. Soon the BfV became involved in counter-espionage. From the beginning, the BfV was troubled by a number of affairs. First, in the Vulkan affair in April 1953, 44 suspects were arrested and charged with spying on behalf of East Germany, but were released as the information provided by the BfV was insufficient to obtain court verdicts. In 1954 the first president of the BfV, Otto John, fled to the GDR. Shortly after that it became public that a number of employees of the BfV had been with the Gestapo during the Third Reich. Material on the Communist Party of Germany was essential for banning the party by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in August 1956. Over the years, a number of associations and political groups were banned on material provided by the BfV. Since 1972 the BfV is concerned with activities of foreign nationals in Germany extremists and terrorists who operate in the country or plan their activities there, such as the Kurdistan Workers' Party.
One of the major intelligence failures in this field were the riots by supporters of the PKK in 1998, which the BfV missed due to the Cologne carnival. The counter-intelligence activities of the BfV were directed against the East German Ministry for State Security, another employer of ex-Gestapo agents; the MfS penetrated the BfV and in a number of affairs destroyed its reputation as a counter-intelligence service by the early 1980s. In this, the MfS profited from the West German border regime which allowed any GDR citizen into the Federal Republic without restrictions; the failure to detect the activities of the 9/11 conspirators in Germany raised questions about the BfV's capability. The rise of right-wing extremism in Germany in the former GDR, was partly blamed on the failure to establish working structures there; the agency came under fire regarding the destruction of files related to the National Socialist Underground, a Neo-Nazi terror group whi
Military intelligence is a military discipline that uses information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to assist commanders in their decisions. This aim is achieved by providing an assessment of data from a range of sources, directed towards the commanders' mission requirements or responding to questions as part of operational or campaign planning. To provide an analysis, the commander's information requirements are first identified, which are incorporated into intelligence collection and dissemination. Areas of study may include the operational environment, hostile and neutral forces, the civilian population in an area of combat operations, other broader areas of interest. Intelligence activities are conducted at all levels, from tactical to strategic, in peacetime, the period of transition to war, during a war itself. Most governments maintain a military intelligence capability to provide analytical and information collection personnel in both specialist units and from other arms and services.
The military and civilian intelligence capabilities collaborate to inform the spectrum of political and military activities. Personnel performing intelligence duties may be selected for their analytical abilities and personal intelligence before receiving formal training. Intelligence operations are carried out throughout the hierarchy of military activity. Strategic intelligence is concerned with broad issues such as economics, political assessments, military capabilities and intentions of foreign nations; such intelligence may be scientific, tactical, diplomatic or sociological, but these changes are analyzed in combination with known facts about the area in question, such as geography and industrial capacities. Operational intelligence is focused on denial of intelligence at operational tiers; the operational tier is below the strategic level of leadership and refers to the design of practical manifestation. The term operation intelligence is sometimes used to refer to intelligence that supports long-term investigations into multiple, similar targets.
Operational intelligence is concerned with identifying, targeting and intervening in criminal activity. Tactical intelligence is focused on support to operations at the tactical level and would be attached to the battlegroup. At the tactical level, briefings are delivered to patrols on current threats and collection priorities; these patrols are debriefed to elicit information for analysis and communication through the reporting chain. Intelligence should respond to the needs of leadership, based on the military objective and operational plans; the military objective provides a focus for the estimate process, from which a number of information requirements are derived. Information requirements may be related to terrain and impact on vehicle or personnel movement, disposition of hostile forces, sentiments of the local population and capabilities of the hostile order of battle. In response to the information requirements, analysts examine existing information, identifying gaps in the available knowledge.
Where gaps in knowledge exist, the staff may be able to task collection assets to target the requirement. Analysis reports draw on all available sources of information, whether drawn from existing material or collected in response to the requirement; the analysis reports are used to inform the remaining planning staff, influencing planning and seeking to predict adversary intent. This process is described as Intelligence Requirement Management; the process of intelligence has four phases: collection, analysis and dissemination. In the United Kingdom these are known as direction, collection and dissemination. In the U. S. military, Joint Publication 2-0 states: "The six categories of intelligence operations are: planning and direction. Many of the most important facts may be gathered from public sources; this form of information collection is known as open-source intelligence. For example, the population, ethnic make-up and main industries of a region are important to military commanders, this information is public.
It is however imperative that the collector of information understands that what is collected is "information", does not become intelligence until after an analyst has evaluated and verified this information. Collection of read materials, composition of units or elements, disposition of strength, tactics, personalities of these units and elements contribute to the overall intelligence value after careful analysis; the tonnage and basic weaponry of most capital ships and aircraft are public, their speeds and ranges can be reasonably estimated by experts just from photographs. Ordinary facts like the lunar phase on particular days or the ballistic range of common military weapons are very valuable to planning, are habitually collected in an intelligence library. A great deal of useful intelligence can be gathered from photointerpretation of detailed high-altitude pictures of a country. Photointerpreters maintain catalogs of munitions factories, military bases and crate designs in order to interpret munition shipments and inventories.
Most intelligence services support groups whose only purpose is to keep maps. Since maps have valuable civilian uses, these agencies are publicly associated or identified as other parts of the government; some historic counterintelligence services in Russia and China, have intentionally banned or p
Federal Intelligence Service (Germany)
The Federal Intelligence Service is the foreign intelligence agency of Germany, directly subordinated to the Chancellor's Office. The BND headquarters is located in central Berlin and is the world's largest intelligence headquarters; the BND has 300 locations in foreign countries. In 2016, it employed around 6,500 people, 10% of them Bundeswehr soldiers, who are employed by Amt für Militärkunde; the budget of the BND for 2019 is € 966.482 million. The BND was founded during the Cold War in 1956 as the official foreign intelligence agency of West Germany, which had joined NATO, it was the successor to the earlier Gehlen Organization known as "The Organization" or "The Org.", whose existence had not been acknowledged. The most central figure in the BND's history was Reinhard Gehlen, the leader of the Gehlen Organization and the founding president of the BND, regarded as "one of the most legendary Cold War spymasters." From the early days of the Cold War the Gehlen Organization and the BND had an intimate cooperation with the CIA, was the western intelligence community's only eyes and ears on the ground in the eastern bloc.
The BND is regarded as one of the best informed intelligence services in regards to the Middle East from the 1960s. The BND was established as the western's world's second largest intelligency agency, second only to the CIA. Both Russia and the Middle East remain important focuses of the BND's activities, in addition to violent non-state actors; the BND today acts as an early warning system to alert the German government to threats to German interests from abroad. It depends on wiretapping and electronic surveillance of international communications, it collects and evaluates information on a variety of areas such as international non-state terrorism, weapons of mass destruction proliferation and illegal transfer of technology, organized crime and drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration and information warfare. As Germany's only overseas intelligence service, the BND gathers both military and civil intelligence. While the Strategic Reconnaissance Command of the Bundeswehr fulfills this mission, it is not an intelligence service.
There is close cooperation between the BND and the KSA. The domestic secret service counterparts of the BND are the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and 16 counterparts at the state level Landesämter für Verfassungsschutz; the predecessor of the BND was the German eastern military intelligence agency during World War II, the Abteilung Fremde Heere Ost or FHO Section in the General Staff, led by Wehrmacht Major General Reinhard Gehlen. Its main purpose was to collect information on the Red Army. After the war Gehlen worked with the U. S. occupation forces in West Germany. In 1946 he set up an intelligence agency informally known as the Gehlen Organization or "The Org" and recruited some of his former co-workers. Many had been operatives of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris' wartime Abwehr organization, but Gehlen recruited people from the former Sicherheitsdienst, SS and Gestapo, after their release by the Allies; the latter recruits were controversial because the SS and its associated groups were notoriously the perpetrators of many Nazi atrocities during the war.
The organization worked at first exclusively for the CIA, which contributed funding, cars and other materials. On 1 April 1956 the Bundesnachrichtendienst was created from the Gehlen Organization, was transferred to the West German government, with all staff. Reinhard Gehlen became President of the BND and remained its head until 1968. In the first years of oversight by the State Secretary in the federal chancellery of Konrad Adenauer of the operation in Pullach, Munich District, the BND continued the ways of its forebear, the Gehlen Organization; the BND racked up its initial East-West cold war successes by concentrating on East Germany. The BND's reach encompassed the highest military levels of the GDR regime, they knew the carrying capacity of every bridge, the bed count of every hospital, the length of every airfield, the width and level of maintenance of the roads that Soviet armor and infantry divisions would have to traverse in a potential attack on the West. Every sphere of eastern life was known to the BND.
Unsung analysts at Pullach, with their contacts in the East, figuratively functioned as flies on the wall in ministries and military conferences. When the Soviet KGB suspected an East German army intelligence officer, a lieutenant colonel and BND agent, of spying, the Soviets investigated and shadowed him; the BND was positioned and able to inject forged reports implying that the loose spy was the KGB investigator, arrested by the Soviets and shipped off to Moscow. Not knowing how long the caper would stay under wraps, the real spy was told to be ready for recall; the East German regime, fought back. With still unhindered flight to the west a possibility, infiltration started on a grand scale and a reversal of sorts took hold. During the early 1960s as many as 90% of the BND's lower-level informants in East Germany worked as double agents for the East German security service known as Stasi. Several informants in East Berlin reported in June and July 1961 of street closures, clearing of field
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process; the official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire; the Nazi regime ended. Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, on 30 January 1933; the NSDAP began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the offices and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany.
All power was centralised in Hitler's person and his word became the highest law. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen; the return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Racism antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime; the Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power; the first concentration camps were established in March 1933. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, liberals and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed, many leaders imprisoned.
Education focused on racial biology, population policy, fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion; the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany made aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met, it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. By early 1941, Germany controlled much of Europe. Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.
Germany exploited labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. In the Holocaust, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, or shot. While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the US into the war meant the Wehrmacht lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in 1943 and by late 1944 had been pushed back to the pre-1939 border. Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in 1944 and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. After the Allied invasion of France, Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, capitulated in May 1945. Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war; the victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.
The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945, while common English terms are "Nazi Germany" and "Third Reich". The latter, adopted by Nazi propaganda as Drittes Reich, was first used in Das Dritte Reich, a 1923 book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; the book counted the Holy Roman Empire as the German Empire as the second. Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years 1919 to 1933, it was a republic with a semi-presidential system. The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I, a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties. Severe setbacks to the German economy began after World War I ended because of reparations payments required under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles; the government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, food riots.
When the government defaulted on their reparations payments in January 1923, French troops occupied German industrial areas along the Ruhr and widespread civil unrest followed. The National Socialist German Workers' Party (National
The Ministry for State Security or State Security Service known as the Stasi, was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic. It has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies to have existed; the Stasi was headquartered in East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Berlin-Lichtenberg and several smaller facilities throughout the city. The Stasi motto was Schild und Schwert der Partei, referring to the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany and echoing a theme of the KGB, the Soviet counterpart and close partner, with respect to its own ruling party, the CPSU. Erich Mielke was the Stasi's longest-serving chief, in power for thirty-two of the GDR's forty years of existence. One of its main tasks was spying on the population through a vast network of citizens turned informants, fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents, its Main Directorate for Reconnaissance was responsible for both espionage and for conducting covert operations in foreign countries.
Under its long-time head Markus Wolf, this directorate gained a reputation as one of the most effective intelligence agencies of the Cold War. The Stasi maintained contacts, cooperated, with Western terrorists. Numerous Stasi officials were prosecuted for their crimes after 1990. After German reunification, the surveillance files that the Stasi had maintained on millions of East Germans were laid open, so that any citizen could inspect their personal file on request; the Stasi was founded on 8 February 1950. Wilhelm Zaisser was the first Minister of State Security of the GDR, Erich Mielke was his deputy. Zaisser tried to depose SED General Secretary Walter Ulbricht after the June 1953 uprising, but was instead removed by Ulbricht and replaced with Ernst Wollweber thereafter. Wollweber resigned in 1957 after clashes with Ulbricht and Erich Honecker, was succeeded by his deputy, Erich Mielke. In 1957, Markus Wolf became head of the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung, the foreign intelligence section of the Stasi.
As intelligence chief, Wolf achieved great success in penetrating the government and business circles of West Germany with spies. The most influential case was that of Günter Guillaume, which led to the downfall of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in May 1974. In 1986, Wolf was succeeded by Werner Grossmann. Although Mielke's Stasi was superficially granted independence in 1957, until 1990 the KGB continued to maintain liaison officers in all eight main Stasi directorates, each with his own office inside the Stasi's Berlin compound, in each of the fifteen Stasi district headquarters around East Germany. Collaboration was so close that the KGB invited the Stasi to establish operational bases in Moscow and Leningrad to monitor visiting East German tourists and Mielke referred to the Stasi officers as "Chekists of the Soviet Union". In 1978, Mielke formally granted KGB officers in East Germany the same rights and powers that they enjoyed in the Soviet Union; the Ministry for State Security included the following entities: Administration 12 was responsible for the surveillance of mail and telephone communications.
Administration 2000 was responsible for the reliability of National People's Army personnel. Administration 2000 operated a secret, unofficial network of informants within the NVA. Administration for Security of Heavy Industry and Research and Main Administration for Security of the Economy: protection against sabotage or espionage. Division of Garbage Analysis: was responsible for analyzing garbage for any suspect western foods and/or materials. Felix Dzerzhinsky Guards Regiment: the armed force at disposal of the ministry, named for the founder of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police; the members of this regiment, who served at least three years, were responsible for protecting high government and party buildings and personnel. The regiment was composed of six motorized rifle battalions, one artillery battalion, one training battalion, its equipment included PSZH-IV armored personnel carriers, 120 mm mortars, 85 mm and 100 mm antitank guns, ZU-23 antiaircraft guns, helicopters. A Swiss source reported in 1986 that the troops of the Ministry of State Security had commando units similar to the Soviet Union's Spetsnaz GRU forces.
These East German units were said to wear the uniform of the airborne troops, although with the violet collar patch of the Ministry for State Security rather than the orange one of paratroopers. They wore the sleeve stripe of the Felix Dzerzhinsky Guards Regiment. Main Administration for Reconnaissance: focused its efforts on West Germany and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but it operated East German intelligence in all foreign countries. Main Administration for Struggle Against Suspicious Persons was charged with the surveillance of foreigners—particularly from the West—legally traveling or residing within the country; this included the diplomatic community and official guests. Main Coordinating Administration of the Ministry for State Security: coordinated its work with Soviet intelligence agencies. Main Department for Communications Security and Personnel Protection: provided personal security for the national leadership and maintained and operated an internal secure communications system for the government.
East Germany the German Democratic Republic, was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II — the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line; the Soviet zone did not include it. The German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. East Germany was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. However, Soviet forces remained in the country throughout the Cold War; until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party, though other parties nominally participated in its alliance organisation, the National Front of Democratic Germany.
The SED made the teaching of Marxism -- the Russian language compulsory in schools. The economy was centrally planned and state-owned. Prices of housing, basic goods and services were set by central government planners rather than rising and falling through supply and demand. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the USSR, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. Emigration to the West was a significant problem – as many of the emigrants were well-educated young people, it further weakened the state economically; the government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to flee were killed by border guards or booby traps, such as landmines. Several others were imprisoned for many years. In 1989, numerous social and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalisation; the following year, open elections were held, international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany.
The GDR dissolved itself, Germany was reunified on 3 October 1990, becoming a sovereign state again. Several of the GDR's leaders, notably its last communist leader Egon Krenz, were prosecuted in reunified Germany for crimes committed during the Cold War. Geographically, the German Democratic Republic bordered the Baltic Sea to the north. Internally, the GDR bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin, known as East Berlin, administered as the state's de facto capital, it bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom and France known collectively as West Berlin. The three sectors occupied by the Western nations were sealed off from the rest of the GDR by the Berlin Wall from its construction in 1961 until it was brought down in 1989; the official name was Deutsche Demokratische Republik abbreviated to DDR. Both terms were used in East Germany, with increasing usage of the abbreviated form since East Germany considered West Germans and West Berliners to be foreigners following the promulgation of its second constitution in 1968.
West Germans, the western media and statesmen avoided the official name and its abbreviation, instead using terms like Ostzone, Sowjetische Besatzungszone, sogenannte DDR. The centre of political power in East Berlin was referred to as Pankow. Over time, the abbreviation DDR was increasingly used colloquially by West Germans and West German media; the term Westdeutschland, when used by West Germans, was always a reference to the geographic region of Western Germany and not to the area within the boundaries of the Federal Republic of Germany. However, this use was not always consistent. Before World War II, Ostdeutschland was used to describe all the territories east of the Elbe, as reflected in the works of sociologist Max Weber and political theorist Carl Schmitt. Explaining the internal impact of the DDR regime from the perspective of German history in the long term, historian Gerhard A. Ritter has argued that the East German state was defined by two dominant forces – Soviet Communism on the one hand, German traditions filtered through the interwar experiences of German Communists on the other.
It always was constrained by the powerful example of the prosperous West, to which East Germans compared their nation. The changes wrought by the Communists were most apparent in ending capitalism and transforming industry and agriculture, in the militarization of society, in the political thrust of the educational system and the media. On the other hand, there was little change made in the independent domains of the sciences, the engineering professions, the Protestant churches, in many bourgeois lifestyles. Social policy, says Ritter, became a critical legitimization tool in the last decades and mixed socialist and traditional elements about equally. At the Yalta Conference during World War II, the Allies (the U. S. the UK and
The Bundeswehr is the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities. The States of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the German Constitution states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the federal government; the Bundeswehr is divided into a military part and a civil part with the armed forces administration. The military part of the federal defense force consists of the German Army, the German Navy, the German Air Force, the Joint Support Service, the Joint Medical Service, the Cyber and Information Space Command; as of 28 February 2019, the Bundeswehr has a strength of 182,055 active soldiers, placing it among the 30 largest military forces in the world and making it the second largest in the European Union behind France in terms of personnel. In addition the Bundeswehr has 28,250 reserve personnel. With German military expenditures at €43.2 billion, the Bundeswehr is among the top ten best-funded forces in the world if in terms of share of German GDP, military expenditures remain average at 1.23% and below the NATO target of 2%.
Germany aims to expand the Bundeswehr to around 203,000 soldiers by 2025 to better cope with increasing responsibilities. The name Bundeswehr was first proposed by the former Wehrmacht general and Liberal politician Hasso von Manteuffel; the Iron Cross is its official emblem. It is a symbol; the Schwarzes Kreuz is derived from the black cross insignia of the medieval Teutonic knights. When the Bundeswehr was established in 1955, its founding principles were based on developing a new military force for the defence of West Germany. In this respect the Bundeswehr did not consider itself to be a successor to either the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic or Hitler's Wehrmacht. Neither does it adhere to the traditions of any former German military organization, its official ethos is based on three major themes: the aims of the military reformers at the beginning of the 19th century such as Scharnhorst and Clausewitz the conduct displayed by members of the military resistance against Adolf Hitler the attempt of Claus von Stauffenberg and Henning von Tresckow to assassinate him.
Its own tradition since 1955. One of the most visible traditions of the modern Bundeswehr is the Großer Zapfenstreich; the FRG reinstated this formal military ceremony in 1952, three years before the foundation of the Bundeswehr. Today it is performed by a military band with 4 fanfare trumpeters and timpani, a corps of drums, up to two escort companies of the Bundeswehr's Wachbataillon and Torchbearers; the Zapfenstreich is only performed during solemn public commemorations. It can honour distinguished persons present such as the German federal president or provide the conclusion to large military exercises. Another important tradition in the modern German armed forces is the Gelöbnis. There are two kinds of oath: for conscripts/recruits it is a pledge but it's a solemn vow for full-time personnel; the pledge is made annually on 20 July, the date on which a group of Wehrmacht officers attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944. Recruits from the Bundeswehr's Wachbataillon make their vow at the Bendlerblock in Berlin.
This was the headquarters of the resistance but where the officers were summarily executed following its failure. National commemorations are held nearby within the grounds of the Reichstag. Similar events take place across the German Republic. Since 2011, the wording of the ceremonial vow for full-time recruits and volunteer personnel is: "Ich gelobe, der Bundesrepublik Deutschland treu zu dienen und das Recht und die Freiheit des deutschen Volkes tapfer zu verteidigen." "I pledge to serve the Federal Republic of Germany loyally and to defend the right and the freedom of the German people bravely."Serving Bundeswehr personnel replace "Ich gelobe..." with "Ich schwöre...". After World War II the responsibility for the security of Germany as a whole rested with the four Allied Powers: the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. Germany had been without armed forces since the Wehrmacht was dissolved following World War II; when the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in 1949, it was without a military.
Germany remained demilitarized and any plans for a German military were forbidden by Allied regulations. Only some naval mine-sweeping units continued to exist, but they remained unarmed and under Allied control and did not serve as a national defence force; the Federal Border Protection Force, a mobile armed police force of 10,000 men, was only formed in 1951. A proposal to integrate West German troops with soldiers of France, the Netherlands and Italy in a European Defence Community was proposed but never implemented. There was a discussion among the United States, the United Kingdom and France over the issue of a revived German military. In particular, France was reluctant to allow Germany to rearm in light of recent history (Germany had invaded France twice in living memory, in World War I and World War II, defeated France in the Franco-German War of 1870/71.