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With demobilization or demobilization the withdrawal of a mobilization or the dissolution of a force is called.

Demobilization as taking back the mobilization of standing armies

In the reverse of their mobilization , an existing armed force is withdrawn from the national borders or fronts, and its personnel, equipment, armament and transport system are reduced to the peace situation. Just as mobilization is an escalating moment, demobilization can have a de-escalating effect.

Demobilization as the dissolution of armed forces

The dismissal of people from military service , in large numbers and after the end of wars, is called demobilization. On the one hand, it includes disarmament, release from their military duties and dismissal of soldiers; on the other hand, demobilization also includes the reintegration of the discharged soldiers into civil society.

In peace

Demobilization can occur as a result of geopolitical changes, for example as an object of peace agreements. For example, weapons systems and the troops entrusted with them can be demobilized within the framework of disarmament agreements.

Large-scale demobilization took place after German reunification , for example : Russian troops on the territory of the GDR were demobilized, as were large parts of the National People's Army (NVA). The Bundeswehr has also carried out a partial demobilization by reducing its troops by over 300,000 soldiers.

After a war

German soldiers stand in line for discharge papers, 1918

The demobilization of troops after a war is both significant and problematic, especially when it comes to mercenaries or draftees who are not released into the organization of an army but into a civil society.

In this case, demobilization can lead to a number of difficulties, not only on the side that was defeated in the war. The central problem is the provision of the demobilized soldiers with a regular income, especially since the economy of the country concerned usually has to be converted from war to peace production or has been damaged by the direct effects of war. Support from the state is also hardly possible, depending on the intensity of the previous war.

Because of these economic and social problems, there is a risk that demobilized units will continue the war on their own, for example in volunteer corps .

A particular problem in recent times is the demobilization of child soldiers .

See also


  • Herbert Gerwarth / John Horne (eds.): Paramilitary Violence in Europe after the Great War. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England 2012, ISBN 978-0-19-968605-6 .
  • Herbert Gerwarth / John Horne (ed.): War in peace. Paramilitary violence in Europe after the First World War . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-8353-1298-2 .
  • Marius Kahl: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration. The challenge of socio-economic reintegration of ex-combatants after war and the role of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). Saarbrücken 2011, ISBN 978-3-639-33095-3 .
  • Adam R. Seipp: The Ordeal of Peace. Demobilization and the Urban Experience in Britain and Germany, 1917–1921 . Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, Surrey, England 2009, ISBN 978-0-7546-6749-0 .
  • Natalia Springer: The deactivation of the war. For the demobilization of societies after civil wars. Baden-Baden 2008, ISBN 978-3-8329-2283-2 .

Web links

Commons : Demobilization after the First World War  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files