SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Wehrmacht

The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe; the designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the used term Reichswehr, was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, one of Adolf Hitler's most overt and audacious moves was to establish the Wehrmacht, a modern offensively-capable armed force, fulfilling the Nazi regime's long-term goals of regaining lost territory as well as gaining new territory and dominating its neighbours; this required the reinstatement of conscription, massive investment and defense spending on the arms industry. The Wehrmacht formed the heart of Germany's politico-military power. In the early part of the Second World War, the Wehrmacht employed combined arms tactics to devastating effect in what became known as Blitzkrieg, its campaigns in France, the Soviet Union, North Africa are regarded as acts of boldness.

At the same time, the far-flung advances strained the Wehrmacht's capacity to the breaking point, culminating in the first major defeat in the Battle of Moscow. The operational art was no match to the war-making abilities of the Allied coalition, making the Wehrmacht's weaknesses in strategy and logistics apparent. Cooperating with the SS and the Einsatzgruppen, the German armed forces committed numerous war crimes, despite denials and promotion of the myth of the clean Wehrmacht; the majority of the war crimes were committed in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Italy, as part of the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, the Holocaust and Nazi security warfare. During the war about 18 million men served in the Wehrmacht. By the time the war ended in Europe in May 1945, German forces had lost 11,300,000 men, about half of whom were missing or killed during the war. Only a few of the Wehrmacht's upper leadership were tried for war crimes, despite evidence suggesting that more were involved in illegal actions.

The majority of the three million Wehrmacht soldiers who invaded the USSR participated in committing war crimes. The German term "Wehrmacht" stems from the compound word of German: wehren, "to defend" and Macht, "power, force", it has been used to describe any nation's armed forces. The Frankfurt Constitution of 1849 designated all German military forces as the "German Wehrmacht", consisting of the Seemacht and the Landmacht. In 1919, the term Wehrmacht appears in Article 47 of the Weimar Constitution, establishing that: "The Reich's President holds supreme command of all armed forces of the Reich". From 1919, Germany's national defense force was known as the Reichswehr, a name, dropped in favor of Wehrmacht on 21 May 1935. In January 1919, after World War I ended with the signing of the armistice of 11 November 1918, the armed forces were dubbed Friedensheer. In March 1919, the national assembly passed a law founding a 420,000-strong preliminary army, the Vorläufige Reichswehr; the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May, in June, Germany signed the treaty that, among other terms, imposed severe constraints on the size of Germany's armed forces.

The army was limited to one hundred thousand men with an additional fifteen thousand in the navy. The fleet was to consist of at most six battleships, six cruisers, twelve destroyers. Submarines and heavy artillery were forbidden and the air-force was dissolved. A new post-war military, the Reichswehr, was established on 23 March 1921. General conscription was abolished under another mandate of the Versailles treaty; the Reichswehr was limited to 115,000 men, thus the armed forces, under the leadership of Hans von Seeckt, retained only the most capable officers. The American historians Alan Millet and Williamson Murray wrote "In reducing the officers corps, Seeckt chose the new leadership from the best men of the general staff with ruthless disregard for other constituencies, such as war heroes and the nobility". Seeckt's determination that the Reichswehr be an elite cadre force that would serve as the nucleus of an expanded military when the chance for restoring conscription came led to the creation of a new army, based upon, but different from, the army that existed in World War I.

In the 1920s, Seeckt and his officers developed new doctrines that emphasized speed, combined arms and initiative on the part of lower officers to take advantage of momentary opportunities. Though Seeckt retired in 1926, the army that went to war in 1939 was his creation. Germany was forbidden to have an air force by the Versailles treaty; these officers saw the role of an air force as winning air superiority and strategic bombing and providing ground support. That the Luftwaffe did not develop a strategic bombing force in the 1930s was not due to a lack of interest, but because of economic limitations; the leadership of the Navy led by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, a close protégé of Alfred von Tirpitz, was dedicated to the idea of reviving Tirpitz's High Seas Fleet. Officers who believed in submarine warfare led by Admiral Karl Dönitz were in a minority before 1939. By 1922, Germ

James Kent (composer)

James Kent was an English organist and composer. Kent was a chorister of Winchester Cathedral and the King's Chapel, he was appointed organist of Trinity College, where he worked until about 1737. He was organist in Winchester of both the cathedral and the college, he was buried after his death in 1776 in the north aisle of the cathedral. His memorial is in the floor of the north transept, he was a pupil of William Croft and assisted William Boyce in publishing his collection of cathedral music. Anthems: Hearken unto this, O Man; when the Son of Man. Give the Lord the honour due. Thine, o Lord, is the Greatness. Etc. James Kent biography Winchester Choristers'Memoir of James Kent' in The Harmonicon, Volume 8, pp. 313–314, by William Ayrton, accessed 21 November 2010

String Quartet No. 6 (Bartók)

The String Quartet No. 6, Sz. 114, BB 119, was the final string quartet. It was begun in August 1939 in Saanen, where Bartók was a guest of his patron, the conductor Paul Sacher. Shortly after he completed the Divertimento for String Orchestra on the 17th, he started on a commission for his friend, the violinist Zoltán Székely. Székely was acting as intermediary for the "New Hungarian Quartet", who had given the Budapest premiere of the String Quartet No. 5. With the outbreak of World War II and his mother's illness, Bartók returned to Budapest, where the quartet was finished in November. After his mother's death, Bartók decided to leave with his family for the United States. Due to the difficulties of the war, communication between Bartók and Székely was difficult, the quartet was not premiered until 20 January 1941, when the Kolisch Quartet, to whom the work is dedicated, gave its premiere at the Town Hall in New York City; the work is in four movements: Each movement opens with a slow melody marked mesto.

This material is employed for only a short introduction in the first movement, but is longer in the second and longer again in the third. In the fourth movement, the mesto material, with reminiscences of the first movement material, consumes the entire movement, it can be seen from Bartók's sketches that he had intended the last movement to have a quick, Romanian folk dance-like character with an aksak rhythmic character, but he abandoned this plan, whether motivated by pure compositional logic or despair at the impending death of his mother and the unfolding catastrophe of the war. In poor health and financially insecure, Bartók composed little in the United States before his death in 1945, but, in the last year or so of his life, he made some sketches hypothesized to be the slow movement of a never completed seventh quartet; the quartet was published in 1941 by Hawkes. String Quartet No.6, Sz.114: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project