‘Junior Officership in the German Army during the Great War, 1914-1918’

Watson, Alexander. 2007. ‘Junior Officership in the German Army during the Great War, 1914-1918’. War in History, 14(4), pp. 429-53. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article reassesses German junior officers’ performance in the First World War. Contrary to current historiography, it argues that the peacetime corps’ social elitism was successful in ensuring a militarily effective, naturally paternalistic and conscientious leadership. The infamous wartime Offiziershaß (‘officer hate’) derived not from social segregation between ranks but was rather a form of the ‘front-rear’ tension common to all belligerent armies, aggravated by material shortage. Despite training and organisational difficulties, the successful dissemination of the corps’ aristocratic values to wartime-recruited officers maintained good inter-rank relations within combat units, enabling the army to endure four years of gruelling warfare.

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November 2007Published

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Date Deposited:

27 Jun 2013 07:34

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:52

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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