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Friedrich von Bernhardi
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 291 pages of information about Germany and the Next War.

  “Folk and thrall and victor can
  Witness bear in every zone: 
  Fortune’s greatest gift to man
  Is personality alone.”

CHAPTER X

ARMY ORGANIZATION

I now turn to the discussion of some questions of organization, but it is not my intention to ventilate all the needs and aims connected with this subject that occupy our military circles at the present time.  I shall rather endeavour to work out the general considerations which, in my opinion, must determine the further development of our army, if we wish, by consistent energy, to attain a superiority in the directions which will certainly prove to be all-important in the next war.  It will be necessary to go into details only on points which are especially noteworthy or require some explanation.  I shall obviously come into opposition with the existing state of things, but nothing is further from my purpose than to criticize them.  My views are based on theoretical requirements, while our army, from certain definitely presented beginnings, and under the influence of most different men and of changing views, in the midst of financial difficulties and political disputes, has, by fits and starts, grown up into what it now is.  It is, in a certain sense, outside criticism; it must be taken as something already existing, whose origin is only a subject for a subsequent historical verdict.  But the further expansion of our army belongs to the future, and its course can be directed.  It can follow well-defined lines, in order to become efficient, and it is politically most important that this object should be realized.  Therefore I shall not look back critically on the past, but shall try to serve the future.

The guiding principle of our preparations for war must be, as I have already said, the development of the greatest fighting strength and the greatest tactical efficiency, in order through them to be in a position to carry on an offensive war successfully.  What follows will, therefore, fall naturally under these two heads.  Fighting strength rests partly, as already said, on the training (which will be discussed later), the arming, and the personnel, partly on the composition of the troops, and, therefore, in the case of line regiments, with which we chiefly have to deal, since they are the real field troops, on the strength of their peace establishment.  It was shown in the previous chapter how essential it is to have in the standing army not only the necessary cadres ready for the new formations, but to make the separate branches so strong that they can easily be brought up to full strength in war-time.

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