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Introduction

Insignia of the Bundeswehr (the Iron Cross)

The Bundeswehr (German: [ˈbʊndəsˌveːɐ̯] (About this sound listen), Federal Defence) is the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities. The States of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the German Constitution states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the federal government.

The Bundeswehr is divided into a military part (armed forces or Streitkräfte) and a civil part with the armed forces administration (Wehrverwaltung). The military part of the federal defense force consists of the German Army, the German Navy, the German Air Force, the Joint Support Service, the Joint Medical Service, and the Cyber and Information Space Command.

As of 28 February 2018, the Bundeswehr has a strength of 179,753 active soldiers, placing it among the 30 largest military forces in the world and making it the second largest in the European Union behind France in terms of personnel. In addition the Bundeswehr has approximately 27,900 reserve personnel (2017). With German military expenditures at €38.93 billion, the Bundeswehr is among the top ten best-funded forces in the world, even if in terms of share of German GDP, military expenditures remain average at 1.13% and below the NATO target of 2%. Germany aims to expand the Bundeswehr to around 198,000 soldiers by 2024 to better cope with increasing responsibilities.

Selected article

Feldjäger

The Feldjäger is the name given to the military police of the Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces. Their emblem is the historic Order of the Black Eagle which has as its motto Suum Cuique (Latin meaning "To each his own," a phrase derived from Cicero). The term Feldjäger, literally meaning field huntsmen or field Jäger, has a long tradition and dates back to the mid-17th century.

The first modern Feldjäger unit was activated on 6 October 1955 when the bill creating the Bundeswehr was signed. The new law called for a military police training company to be established at the former Luftwaffe hospital in Andernach. The original intention was to call the military police units of the Bundeswehr "Militärpolizei", literally military police. However, objections arose on the part of the federal states which had been given the mission of law enforcement. They wanted the use of the word "Polizei" to be unique to them and so the name was changed to Feldjäger in 1956.

The 24 Feldjäger MP Stations located throughout Germany work around the clock to perform the Feldjägers’ main mission which is to be a central point of contact for all soldiers who need assistance. There is a nationwide emergency phone number (01803-90 9999) so Bundeswehr soldiers can contact their nearest Feldjäger station at any time.The Feldjäger also have four more missions: Maintaining military discipline and order, military traffic control, security operations and investigations.

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Selected biography

Richthofen wears the Pour le Mérite, the Blue Max, Prussia's highest military order, in this official portrait, c. 1917

Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (2 May 1892 – 21 April 1918), also widely known as the Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot with the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte) during the First World War. He is considered the ace-of-aces of the war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories.

Originally a cavalryman, Richthofen transferred to the Air Service in 1915, becoming one of the first members of Jasta 2 in 1916. He quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of Jasta 11 and then the larger unit Jagdgeschwader 1 (better known as the "Flying Circus"). By 1918, he was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and respected and admired even by his enemies.

Richthofen was shot down and killed near Amiens on 21 April 1918. There has been considerable discussion and debate regarding aspects of his career, especially the circumstances of his death. He remains perhaps the most widely known fighter pilot of all time, and has been the subject of many books, films and other media.

Richthofen was a Freiherr (literally "Free Lord"), a title of nobility often translated as "baron". This is not a given name nor strictly a hereditary title—since all male members of the family were entitled to it, even during the lifetime of their father. This title, combined with the fact that he had his aircraft painted red, led to Richthofen being called "The Red Baron" both inside and outside Germany. During his lifetime he was more often described in German as Der Rote Kampfflieger (variously translated as "The Red Battle Flyer" or "The Red Fighter Pilot"). This name was used as the title of Richthofen's 1917 autobiography.

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Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-126-0347-09A, Paris, Deutsche Truppen am Arc de Triomphe.jpg
German troops parading under the Arc de Triumph after the Fall of Paris.

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