Wehrmacht

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Wehrmacht

 

the name for the armed forces of fascist Germany from 1935 to 1945. The basis for the creation and development of the Wehrmacht was the Reichswehr, renamed Wehrmacht after the introduction of universal compulsory military service on Mar. 16, 1935. The Wehrmacht was headed by the Supreme High Command (OKW), to which were subordinated the land forces (das Heer),the air force (die Luftwaffe), and the navy (die Kriegsmarine). At the heads of these forces were high commands (OKH, OKL, OKM, and, from 1940, the SS forces) and the corresponding service commanders in chief. The supreme commander in chief of the Wehrmacht was Chancellor A. Hitler. On the eve of World War II, the Wehrmacht numbered about 3 million men. Its maximum strength was about 11 million men (December 1943).