Civil–Military Relations and Education of Military Elites: Lesson Learned from the Prussian Army

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Ferdinant Xhaferaj


After the collapse of the Soviet Union, profound political changes took place in Europe. This included a decline in the credibility given to realist theories that are based on the role of military power. These events led to reevaluation of the liberal theories of interdependence based on a minor role of military power. However, military annexation by Russia of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine over February and March 2014 and the war on Ukraine launched by Russians, on 24 February 2022, have again emphasized a growing role of military issues in domestic and foreign policies.  Thus, defining the place of soldiers in state and society and deciding the proper balance between the soldiers and civilians is not only an adequate challenge, but also a perpetual need. Analyzing traditions is always important for eliminating negative viewpoints and for fostering positive ones.  The Prussian model has a lot of to say about all the above.

In this essay, I will trace the evolution of Prussian army and I will demonstrate how its politics was a decisive factor during the absolutist period (1640-1918).  Furthermore, I will explain the role of the Prussian army during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933).  Here, I will focus more on the critical years of 1932-1933. Finally, I will demonstrate the role of soldiers during National Socialism (1933-1945). Here, my main focus will be on the attempts of the soldiers to take control of the nation in July 1944.

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