The Schuman Declaration is the statement made by the French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950. It proposed to place German production of coal and steel under one common High Authority; this organization would be open to participation of Western European countries. This cooperation was to be designed in such a way as to create common interests between European countries which would lead to gradual political integration, a condition for the pacification of relations between them: “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan, it will be built through concrete achievements. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany”. Schuman's speech did not fall on deaf ears, as West German Chancellor Adenauer responded swiftly with a positive reply as did the governments of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Within one year, on 18 April 1951, the six founding members signed the Treaty of Paris, it created Steel Community - Europe's first supranational Community.
This organization paved the way for the European Economic Community and subsequently the European Union, still run by the innovative type of European institutions conceived in 1950. However, Schuman's efforts did not stop there, he became a great proponent of further integration through a European Defence Community and in 1958 he became the first President of the predecessor to the current European Parliament. When he left office the Parliament bestowed on him the title of ‘Father of Europe’; because of the significance of his ‘Schuman Declaration’ on 9 May 1950, this day has been designated as ‘Europe Day’. And, in honour of his pioneering work towards a united Europe, the district housing the headquarters of several European Union institutions in Brussels is named after him; the new Cold War split Europe between two spheres of influence. With the desire not to repeat such destruction, there was a strong momentum towards European co-operation. Winston Churchill, standing next to Robert Schuman, had called for Franco-German reconciliation in a united Europe in a speech in Metz on 14 July 1946.
In Zurich, Churchill called for a "United States of Europe" and, in the meantime, the formation of a "Council of Europe". Anxious to see greater European economic integration in order to be able to form a block against the Soviet Union, the US used the Marshall Plan to force the adoption of more open markets as a prerequisite to receive aid; the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation was founded in 1948 to help coordinate the Marshall Plan. Its guiding principles were: promote co-operation between participating countries and their national production programmes for the reconstruction of Europe, develop intra-European trade by reducing tariffs and other barriers to the expansion of trade, study the feasibility of creating a customs union or free trade area, study multi-lateralisation of payments, achieve conditions for better utilisation of labour; the United States directly funded prominent European pro-federalists through the government funded American Committee on United Europe.
Under the Monnet Plan of 1946–1950, designed to increase French steel production at the expense of Germany, France had absorbed the Saarland, a center for coal mining, from Germany and turned it into a protectorate. French attempts to detach the industrial region of the Ruhr with its many steel plants and coal mines from Germany met with greater resistance. However, in 1949 the International Authority for the Ruhr was founded, it was an international body that set limits on the production and production capacity in the Ruhr, controlled distribution of the production, i.e. export or domestic. The organisation was dissolved with the introduction of the common market and the European Coal and Steel Community. In speeches before the United Nations, Schuman announced that a revitalized Germany must be placed inside a European democracy; the Council of Europe was duly created to provide the great framework of a European union in which the European Communities could be inserted. The Council was a herald of these supranational communities to come on the path to a full European integration.
Schuman had stated that the idea of a European Coal and Steel Community dated from before he attended university. Schuman initiated policies in preparation for this major change of European politics while Prime Minister of France and Foreign Minister from 1948 onwards, he spoke about the principles of sharing European resources in a supranational union at the signing of the Statute of the Council of Europe in London, 5 May 1949. The Declaration had several distinct aims, which it tackled together: It marked the birth of Europe as a political entity It aimed to make war between Member States impossible It encouraged world peace It would transform Europe by a'step by step' process leading to the unification of Europe, including both East and West Europe separated by the Iron Curtain The world's first international anti-cartel agency It created a single market across the Community This, starting with the coal and steel sector, would revitalise the whole European economy by similar community processes It claimed to improve the world economy and of the developing countries, such as those in Africa.
According to Professor Dr. Hans Ritschl, Schuman made a speech arguing that the Schuman Plan was a continuation of the Monnet Plan, that it was for the sake of supporting French steel exports that they had taken on that task. Professor Dr. Hans Ritschl says. However, Prof Ritschl cites no sou
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French army officer and statesman who led the French Resistance against Nazi Germany in World War II and chaired the Provisional Government of the French Republic from 1944 to 1946 in order to establish democracy in France. In 1958, he came out of retirement when appointed President of the Council of Ministers by President René Coty, he was asked to rewrite the Constitution of France and founded the Fifth Republic after approval by referendum. He was elected President of France that year, a position he was reelected to in 1965 and held until his resignation in 1969, he was the dominant figure of France during the Cold War era, his memory continues to influence French politics. Born in Lille, he graduated from Saint-Cyr in 1912, he was a decorated officer of the First World War, wounded several times, taken prisoner at Verdun. During the interwar period, he advocated mobile armoured divisions. During the German invasion of May 1940, he led an armoured division which counterattacked the invaders.
Refusing to accept his government's armistice with Germany, De Gaulle exhorted the French population to resist occupation and to continue the fight in his Appeal of 18 June. He led a government in the Free French Forces against the Axis. Despite frosty relations with the United Kingdom and the United States, he emerged as the undisputed leader of the French Resistance, he became head of the Provisional Government of the French Republic in June 1944, the interim government of France following its Liberation. As early as 1944, De Gaulle introduced a dirigiste economic policy, which included substantial state-directed control over a capitalist economy, followed by 30 years of unprecedented growth, known as the Trente Glorieuses. Frustrated by the return of petty partisanship in the new Fourth Republic, he resigned in early 1946 but continued to be politically active as founder of the Rassemblement du Peuple Français, he retired in the early 1950s and wrote a book about his experience in the war titled War Memoirs, which became a staple of modern French literature.
When the Algerian War was ripping apart the unstable Fourth Republic, the National Assembly brought him back to power during the May 1958 crisis. He founded the Fifth Republic with a strong presidency, he was elected to continue in that role, he managed to keep France together while taking steps to end the war, much to the anger of the Pieds-Noirs and the military. He granted independence to progressively to other French colonies. In the context of the Cold War, De Gaulle initiated his "politics of grandeur" asserting that France as a major power should not rely on other countries, such as the United States, for its national security and prosperity. To this end, he pursued a policy of "national independence" which led him to withdraw from NATO's military integrated command and to launch an independent nuclear development program that made France the fourth nuclear power, he restored cordial Franco-German relations to create a European counterweight between the Anglo-American and Soviet spheres of influence through the signing of the Élysée Treaty on 22 January 1963.
However, he opposed any development of a supranational Europe, favouring a Europe of sovereign nations. De Gaulle criticised the United States intervention in Vietnam and the "exorbitant privilege" of the United States dollar. In his years, his support for the slogan "Vive le Québec libre" and his two vetoes of Britain's entry into the European Economic Community generated considerable controversy. Although reelected President in 1965, he appeared to lose power amid widespread protests by students and workers in May 1968, but survived the crisis and won an election with an increased majority in the National Assembly. De Gaulle resigned in 1969 after losing a referendum, he died a year at his residence in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, leaving his presidential memoirs unfinished. Many French political parties and figures claim a Gaullist legacy. De Gaulle was born in the industrial region of Lille in the Nord department, the third of five children, he was raised in a devoutly traditional family. His father, Henri de Gaulle, was a professor of history and literature at a Jesuit college who founded his own school.
Henri de Gaulle came from a long line of parliamentary gentry from Burgundy. The name is thought to be Flemish in origin, may well have derived from van der Waulle. De Gaulle's mother, descended from a family of wealthy entrepreneurs from Lille, she had French, Scottish and German ancestry. As part of the French nobility, the de Gaulle family had lost most of its land in the French Revolution, which it opposed. De Gaulle's father encouraged historical and philosophical debate between his children at mealtimes, through his encouragement, de Gaulle grew familiar with French history from an early age. Struck by his mother's tale of how she cried as a child when she heard of the French capitulation to the Germans at Sedan in 1870, he developed a keen interest in military strategy, he was influenced by his uncle named Charles de Gaulle, a historian and passionate Celticist who wrote books and pamphlets advocating the union of the Welsh, Scots and Bretons into one people. His grandfather Julien-Philippe was a histo
Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman was a Luxembourg-born French statesman. Schuman was an independent political thinker and activist. Twice Prime Minister of France, a reformist Minister of Finance and a Foreign Minister, he was instrumental in building post-war European and trans-Atlantic institutions and was one of the founders of the European Union, the Council of Europe and NATO; the 1964–1965 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honour. Schuman was born in June 1886, in Clausen, having his father's German nationality, his father, Jean-Pierre Schuman, a native of Lorraine and was born a Frenchman, became German when Lorraine was annexed by Germany in 1871, before he left to settle in Luxembourg, not far from his native village of Evrange. Schuman's mother was a Luxembourger. Schuman's secondary schooling from 1896 to 1903 was at Athénée de Luxembourg, followed in 1904 by the Lycée impérial in Metz. From 1904 to 1910 he studied law, political philosophy and statistics at the Universities of Berlin, Munich and Strasbourg, received a law degree with the highest distinction from Strasbourg University.
In 1912 Schuman set up practice as a lawyer in Metz. When war broke out in 1914 he was called up for the auxiliary troops by the German army in Metz but excused from military service on health grounds. From 1915 to 1918 he served in the administration of the Boulay district. After the First World War, Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France and Schuman became a French citizen in 1919. Schuman became active in French politics. In 1919 he was first elected as député to parliament on a regional list, serving as the député for Thionville until 1958 with an interval during the war years, he made a major contribution to the drafting and parliamentary passage of the reintroduction of the French Civil and Commercial codes by the French parliament, after that the Alsace-Lorraine region, until there under the German domain came back to France. This harmonization of the regional law with the French law was called "Lex Schuman". Schuman investigated and patiently uncovered postwar corruption in the Lorraine steel industries and in the Alsace and Lorraine railways, both bought by a derisory price by the powerful and influential de Wendel family, what he called in the Parliament "a pillage".
In 1940, because of his expertise on Germany, Schuman was called to become a member of Paul Reynaud's wartime government, in charge of the refugees. He kept that charge during the first Pétain government. On 10 July, he voted to give full power to Hitler's ally Marshal Pétain, but refused to continue to be in the government; that year, on 14 September, he was arrested for acts of resistance and protest against Nazi methods. He was interrogated by the Gestapo but thanks to the intervention of a German lawyer, he was saved from being sent to Dachau. Transferred as a personal prisoner of Gauleiter Joseph Buerckel, he escaped in 1942 and re-joined the French Resistance, he addressed large conferences in the Free Zone explaining. This was at a time; the Germans invaded the Free Zone. Although his life was still at risk, he spoke to friends about a Franco-German and European reconciliation that must take place after the end of hostilities, as he had done in 1939–40. After the war, Schuman rose to great prominence.
He had difficulties because of his 1940 vote and his tenure as Pétain's minister. The Defence minister Andre Diethelm stated that "this Vichy product should be kicked out", as all those who had voted for Pétain, should be ineligible, he was stricken with "Indignité nationale". On 24 July 1945, Schuman wrote to General de Gaulle to ask him to intervene. De Gaulle answered favorably, on 15 September, Schuman regained his full civic rights, becoming able to again play an active role in French politics, he was Minister of Finance Prime Minister from 1947–1948, assuring parliamentary stability during a period of revolutionary strikes and attempted insurrection. In the last days of his first administration, his government proposed plans that resulted in the Council of Europe and the European Community single market. Becoming Foreign Minister in 1948, he retained the post in different governments until early 1953; when Schuman's first government had proposed the creation of a European Assembly, it made the issue a governmental matter for Europe, not an academic discussion or the subject of private conferences, like The Hague Congress of the European Movements earlier that year.
This proposal saw life as the Council of Europe and was created within the tight schedule Schuman had set. At the signing of its Statutes at St James's Palace, London, 5 May 1949, the founding States agreed to defining the frontiers of Europe based on the principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms that Schuman enunciated there, he announced a coming supranational union for Europe that saw light as the European Coal and Steel Community and other such Communities within a Union framework of common law and democracy. We are carrying out a great experiment, the fulfillment of the same recurrent dream that for ten centuries has revisited the peoples of Europe: creating between them an organization putting an end to war and guaranteeing an eternal peace; the Roman church of the Middle Ages failed in its attempts that were inspired by humane and human preoccupations. Another idea, that of a world empire constituted under the auspices of German emperors was less disinterested.
Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it supported the Resistance in occupied France. Charles de Gaulle, a French government minister who rejected the armistice concluded by Marshal Philippe Pétain and who had escaped to Britain, exhorted the French to resist in his BBC broadcast "Appeal of 18 June", which had a stirring effect on morale throughout France and its colonies, although relatively few French forces responded to de Gaulle's call for resistance. On 27 October 1940, the Empire Defense Council was constituted to organise the rule of the territories in central Africa and Oceania that had heeded the 18 June call, it was replaced on 24 September 1941 by the French National Committee. On 13 July 1942, "Free France" was renamed France combattante, to mark that the struggle against the Axis was conducted both externally by the FFF and internally by the French Forces of the Interior.
After the reconquest of North Africa, this was in turn formally merged with de Gaulle's rival general Henri Giraud's command in Algiers to form the French Committee of National Liberation. Exile ended with the liberation of Paris by the 2nd Armoured Free French Division and Resistance forces on 25 August 1944, ushering in the Provisional Government of the French Republic, it ruled France until the end of the war and afterwards to 1946, when the Fourth Republic was established, thus ending the series of interim regimes that had succeeded the Third Republic after its fall in 1940. The Free French fought Axis and Vichy regime troops and served on battlefronts everywhere from the Middle East to Indochina and North Africa; the Free French Navy operated as an auxiliary force to the Royal Navy and, in the North Atlantic, to the Royal Canadian Navy. Free French units served in the Royal Air Force, Soviet Air Force, British SAS, before larger commands were established directly under the control of the government-in-exile.
From colonial outposts in Africa and the Pacific, Free France took over more and more Vichy possessions, until after the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942 Vichy only ruled over the zone libre in southern France and a few possessions in the West Indies. The French Army of Africa switched allegiance to Free France, this caused the Axis to occupy Vichy in reaction. On August 1, 1943, L'Armée d'Afrique was formally united with the Free French Forces to form L'Armée française de la Liberation. By mid-1944, the forces of this army numbered more than 400,000, they participated in the Normandy landings and the invasion of southern France leading the drive on Paris. Soon they were fighting in Alsace, the Alps and Brittany, by the end of the war in Europe, they were 1,300,000 strong—the fourth-largest Allied army in Europe—and took part in the Allied advance through France and invasion of Germany; the Free French government re-established a provisional republic after the liberation, preparing the ground for the Fourth Republic in 1946.
An individual became "Free French" by enlisting in the military units organised by the CFN or by employment by the civilian arm of the Committee. On 1 August 1943 after the merger of CFN and representatives of the former Vichy regime in North Africa to form the CFLN earlier in June, the FFF and the Armée d'Afrique were merged to form the French Liberation Army, Armée française de la Libération, all subsequent enlistments were in this combined force. In many sources, Free French describes any French individual or unit that fought against Axis forces after the June 1940 armistice. Postwar, to settle disputes over the Free French heritage, the French government issued an official definition of the term. Under this "ministerial instruction of July 1953", only those who served with the Allies after the Franco-German armistice in 1940 and before 1 August 1943 may be called "Free French". On 10 May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France and the Low Countries defeating the Dutch and Belgians, while armoured units attacking through the Ardennes cut off the Franco-British strike force in Belgium.
By the end of May, the British and French northern armies were trapped in a series of pockets, including Dunkirk, Boulogne, Saint-Valery-en-Caux and Lille. The Dunkirk evacuation was only made possible by the resistance of these troops the French army divisions at Lille. From 27 May to 4 June, over 200,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force and 140,000 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk. Neither side viewed this as the end of the battle. After being evacuated from Dunkirk, Alanbrooke landed in Cherbourg on 2 June to reform the BEF, along with the 1st Canadian Division, the only remaining armoured unit in Britain. Contrary to what is assumed, French morale was higher in June than May and they repulsed an attack in the south by Fascist Italy. A defensive line was re-established along the Somme but much of the armour was lost in Northern France.
Antoine Pinay was a French conservative politician. He served as Prime Minister of France in 1952. Antoine Pinay was born on 30 December 1891 in Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise, he was child of Claude Pinay, his wife, Marie Antoinette Besson. On 25 April 1917, Pinay married Marguerite Fouletier and had two daughters and one son, Geneviève, Pierre; as a young man, Pinay fought in World War I and injured his arm so that it was paralyzed for the rest of his life. After the war, he managed a small business and in 1929 he was elected mayor of Saint-Chamond, Loire, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1936, running as an independent candidate opposed to the Popular Front. In 1938 he was elected to the Senate. On 10 July 1940 he voted to give the Cabinet presided over by Marshal Philippe Pétain authority to draw up a new constitution ending the French Third Republic and establishing Vichy France. In 1941, Antoine Pinay was appointed to the Conseil National of the Vichy Regime, he was awarded the Order of the Francisque.
During the Occupation, Antoine Pinay remained mayor of Saint-Chamond, although he had been urged by General Georges to move to Algiers, in order to better protect the residents of this city. Yet, trying to associate him with Vichy is inappropriate: he resigned from the Conseil National within a few months and refused any official position with the Vichy regime, such as the préfecture de l'Hérault offered by Laval. Besides, he gave several hundreds of identity papers to help Jews and Résistance members flee from France to Algiers or Switzerland. An official commission in 1946 recognized his long lasting opposition to the Nazis and the help he gave to the Résistance and let him free of any charge. In 1944 he was first placed on house arrest, stripped of his right to be candidate to an election on 5 September 1945. After the intervention of René Cassin, the vice-president of the Conseil d'État, who pointed to his fierce opposition to the German occupation, his citizen rights were restored on 5 October 1945.
On 2 June 1946 he could run for election to the Assemblée Constituante as a moderate candidate. He helped create the National Center of Independents and Peasants, he acquired the reputation as one of France's more spirited politicians and in 1952 became Prime Minister by virtue of being the most popular elected CNIP official. His ministry was seen as the return of the "classical right", discredited since the Liberation, he stabilized the finances of the French currency. In 1955, he was one of the participants of the Messina Conference, which would lead to the Treaty of Rome in 1957. During the May 1958 crisis precipitated by the Algerian war, he supported Charles de Gaulle's return to power and approved of the Fifth Republic's constitution, he served as Finance Minister until 1960. In 1973, he was made "Médiateur de la République" by President Georges Pompidou. Having died at age of 102 years, 348 days, he is the third longest lived national head of government or head of state in history, behind only Chau Sen Cocsal Chhum and Celâl Bayar.
He died 17 days before his 103rd birthday, was buried in Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise. From 14 December 1990, when former Republic of China premier Zhang Qun died until his own death, Pinay was the world's oldest living former head of government. Antoine Pinay – President of the Council and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Henri Queuille – Vice President of the Council Robert Schuman – Minister of Foreign Affairs René Pleven – Minister of National Defense Charles Brune – Minister of the Interior Jean-Marie Louvel – Minister of Commerce and Energy Pierre Garet – Minister of Labour and Social Security Léon Martinaud-Deplat – Minister of Justice Pierre-Olivier Lapie – Minister of National Education Emmanuel Temple – Minister of Veterans and War Victims Camille Laurens – Minister of Agriculture Pierre Pflimlin – Minister of Overseas France André Morice – Minister of Public Works and Tourism Paul Ribeyre – Minister of Public Health and Population Eugène Claudius-Petit – Minister of Reconstruction and Town Planning Roger Duchet – Minister of Posts Jean Letourneau – Minister of Relations with Partner StatesChanges 11 August 1952 – André Marie succeeds Lapie as Minister of National Education.
Cook, Bernard A.. Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. Pp. 975–76. Morris, Peter. "Homo politicus. Modern & Contemporary France 1.1: 42–44
Treaty establishing the European Defence Community
The Treaty establishing the European Defence Community known as the Treaty of Paris, is an unratified treaty signed on 27 May 1952 by the six'inner' countries of European integration: the Benelux countries, France and West Germany. The treaty would have created a European Defence Community with a pan-European defence force; the treaty failed to obtain ratification in the French parliament and it was never ratified by Italy, so it never entered into force. Instead, West Germany was admitted into the Western European Union, a dormant successor of the 1948 Western Union, as well as NATO; the treaty was initiated by the Pleven plan, proposed in 1950 by French Prime Minister René Pleven in response to the American call for the rearmament of West Germany. The formation of a pan-European defence architecture, as an alternative to West Germany's proposed accession to NATO, was meant to harness the German military potential in case of conflict with the Soviet bloc. Just as the Schuman Plan was designed to end the risk of Germany having the economic power on its own to make war again, the Pleven Plan and EDC were meant to prevent the military possibility of Germany's making war again.
The European Defence Community would have entailed a pan-European military, divided into national components, had a common budget, common arms, centralized military procurement, institutions. In this military, the French, Belgian and Luxembourgish components would report to their national governments, whereas the West German component would report to the EDC; this was due to the fear of a return of German militarism, so it was desired that the West German government would not have control over the German military. However, in the event of its rejection, it was agreed to let the West German government control its own military in any case. During the late 1940s, the divisions created by the Cold War were becoming evident; the United States looked with suspicion at the growing power of the USSR and European states felt vulnerable, fearing a possible Soviet occupation. In this climate of mistrust and suspicion, the United States considered the rearmament of West Germany as a possible solution to enhance the security of Europe and of the whole Western bloc.
In September 1950, Dean Acheson proposed a new plan to the European states. However, after the destruction that Germany had caused during World War II, European countries, in particular France, were not ready to see the reconstruction of the German military. Finding themselves in the midst of the two superpowers, they looked at this situation as a possibility to enhance the process of integrating Europe, trying to obviate the loss of military influence caused by the new bipolar order. On 24 October 1950, France's Prime Minister René Pleven proposed a new plan, which took his name although it was drafted by Jean Monnet, that aimed to create a supranational European Army. With this project, France tried to satisfy America's demands, avoiding, at the same time, the creation of German divisions, thus the rearmament of Germany; the EDC was to include West Germany, France and the Benelux countries. The United States would be excluded, it was a competitor to NATO, with France playing the dominant role.
Just as the Schuman Plan was designed to end the risk of Germany having the economic power to make war again, the Pleven Plan and EDC were meant to prevent the same possibility. The United Kingdom refused to join. According to the Pleven Plan, the European Army was supposed to be composed of military units from the member states, directed by a council of the member states’ ministers. France feared the loss of national sovereignty in security and defense, thus a supranational European Army could not be tolerated by Paris. However, because of the strong American interest in a West German army, a draft agreement for a modified Pleven Plan, renamed the European Defense Community, was ready in May 1952, with French support; the new EDC treaty was signed on 27 May 1952. Although with some doubts and hesitation, the United States and the six members of the ECSC approved the Pleven Plan; this led the way to the Paris Conference, launched in February 1951, where it was negotiated the structure of the supranational army.
Among compromises and differences, on 27 May 1952 the six foreign ministers signed the Treaty of Paris establishing the European Defence Community. Despite the central role for France, the EDC plan collapsed when it failed to obtain ratification in the French Parliament; the reasons that led to the failed ratification of the Treaty were twofold, concerning major changes in the international scene, as well as domestic problems of the French Fourth Republic. There were Gaullist fears that the EDC threatened France's national sovereignty, constitutional concerns about the indivisibility of the French Republic, fears about West Germany's remilitarization. French Communists opposed a plan tying France to the capitalist United States and setting it in opposition to the Communist bloc. Other legislators worried about the absence of the United Kingdom; the EDC went for ratification in the French National Assembly on 30 August 1954, failed by a vote of 319 against 264. By this time, concerns about a future conflict faded with the death of Joseph Stalin and the end of the Korean War.
Concomitant to these fears were a severe disjuncture between the original Pleven Plan of 1950 and the one defeated in 1954. Divergences included military integration at the division rather than battalion level and a change in the command structure putting the NATO Supreme
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In its broadest sense, the term "officer" refers to commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, warrant officers. However, when used without further detail, the term always refers to only commissioned officers, the more senior portion of a force who derive their authority from a commission from the head of state; the proportion of officers varies greatly. Commissioned officers make up between an eighth and a fifth of modern armed forces personnel. In 2013, officers were the senior 17% of the British armed forces, the senior 13.7% of the French armed forces. In 2012, officers made up about 18% of the German armed forces, about 17.2% of the United States armed forces. However, armed forces have had much lower proportions of officers. During the First World War, fewer than 5% of British soldiers were officers. In the early twentieth century, the Spanish army had the highest proportion of officers of any European army, at 12.5%, at that time considered unreasonably high by many Spanish and foreign observers.
Within a nation's armed forces, armies tend to have a lower proportion of officers, but a higher total number of officers, while navies and air forces have higher proportions of officers since military aircraft are flown by officers. For example, 13.9% of British army personnel and 22.2% of the RAF personnel were officers in 2013, but the army had a larger total number of officers. Having a command authority is one requirement for combatant status under the laws of war, though this authority need not have obtained an official commission or warrant. In such case, those persons holding offices of responsibility within the organization are deemed to be the officers, the presence of these officers connotes a level of organization sufficient to designate a group as being combatant. Commissioned officers receive training as leadership and management generalists, in addition to training relating to their specific military occupational specialty or function in the military. Many advanced militaries require university degrees as a prerequisite for commissioning from the enlisted ranks.
Others, including the Australian Defence Force, the British Armed Forces, Nepal Army, the Pakistani Armed Forces, the Swiss Armed Forces, the Singapore Armed Forces, the Israel Defense Forces, the Swedish Armed Forces, the New Zealand Defence Force, are different in not requiring a university degree for commissioning—although a significant number of officers in these countries are graduates. In the Israel Defense Forces, a university degree is a requirement for an officer to advance to the rank of lieutenant colonel; the IDF sponsors the studies for its majors, while aircrew and naval officers obtain academic degrees as a part of their training programmes. In the United Kingdom, there are three routes of entry for British Armed Forces officers; the first, primary route are those who receive their commission directly into the officer grades following completion at their relevant military academy. In the second method, an individual may gain their commission after first enlisting and serving in the junior ranks, reaching one of the senior non-commissioned officer ranks, as what are known as'direct entry' or DE officers.
The third route is similar to the second. LE officers, whilst holding the same Queen's commission work in different roles from the DE officers. In the infantry, a number of warrant officer class 1s are commissioned as LE officers. In the British Army, commissioning for DE officers occurs after a 44-week course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for regular officers or the Army Reserve Commissioning Course, which consists of four two-week modules for Army Reserve officers; the first two modules may be undertaken over a year for each module at an Officers' Training Corps, the last two must be undertaken at Sandhurst. For Royal Navy and Royal Air Force officer candidates, a 30-week period at Britannia Royal Naval College or a 24-week period at RAF College Cranwell, respectively. Royal Marines officers receive their training in the Command Wing of the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines during a gruelling 15-month course; the courses consist of not only tactical and combat training, but leadership, management and international affairs training.
Until the Cardwell Reforms of 1871, commissions in the British Army were purchased by officers. The Royal Navy, operated on a more meritocratic, or at least mobile, basis. Commissioned officers are the only persons, in an armed forces environment, able to act as the commanding officer of a military unit. A superior officer is an officer with a higher rank than another officer, a subordinate officer relative to the superior. Non-commissioned officers, to include naval and coast guard petty officers and chief petty officers, in positions of authority can be said to have control or charge rather than command per se. Most officers in the Armed Forces of the United States are commissioned through one of three major commissioning programs: United States Military Academy Unit