Inner guidance

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As interior leadership a leadership concept will Bundeswehr referred to by the notion of the citizen in uniform oriented and whose contours in the course of rearmament were designed before establishment of the Bundeswehr. This is more than a mere concept for leading people, as it is intended, among other things, to form the basis for the soldier's self- image. There is no official definition for the term “Innereführung”, but there is a description in the current version of the Central Service Regulation 10/1, which is also entitled “Inner Guidance”: “Principles of Inner Leadership form the basis for the military Service in the Bundeswehr and determine the soldiers' self-image. They are the guideline for leading people and the right way to deal with one another. ”It sets out the goals, principles, areas of application and guiding principles of Inner Leadership. Their task is to alleviate the tensions that result from the individual rights of the free citizen on the one hand and the military duties of the soldier on the other.

Concept formation

After the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, the question of rearmament in Germany arose very quickly in view of the intensifying East-West confrontation . At the latest with the beginning of the Korean War in the summer of 1950, a rethinking of a West German contribution to the defense of Western Europe began among the Western powers and in the Federal Republic. The Adenauer government appointed a group of German military experts to deal with the development of West German armed forces. The group of experts summarized the results of their secret talks in the monastery of Himmerod in October 1950 in the so-called " Himmeroder memorandum ".

It was not only about practical questions of building armed forces, but also about legitimizing new German armed forces. In view of the traumatic experiences in two world wars , the German population at that time was largely pacifist and opposed to any kind of new military. The European neighbors also feared German soldiers. If the new armed forces were to be socially acceptable, they had to be democratic and subject to strict parliamentary control. They were not allowed to form a “ state within a state ”, as was the case with the Reichswehr , nor were they allowed to have a special social status as in the Empire .

At the same time, the new leadership concept had to take into account the changed image of war that all armed forces had to deal with in the second half of the 20th century. The new force had to be prepared to act in a nuclear war even after the failure of the central leadership. Therefore, special attention was to be paid to the principle of “ commanding by order ”, which had been implemented in the Prussian-German armies since the 19th century , often also, not quite correctly, called missionary tactics.

Ultimately, the conception should bring military hierarchy and technical competence in line with one another, because the new Bundeswehr, even more so than before the Wehrmacht , had to be a high-tech force. In addition, new pedagogical findings had to be taken into account: “In our opinion, the Inner Leadership never has a choice. The constitution, war experience, sociological and educational knowledge in all areas of life and - seen negatively - the totalitarian alternative oblige us to set the liberal image of responsible people as the basis of theory and practice. "

A reform concept for the internal structure of the Bundeswehr was required , an expression that was initially used as a synonym for internal leadership . Lieutenant General a. D. Hans Speidel and Adolf Heusinger , Colonel a. D. Johann Adolf Graf von Kielmansegg , Lieutenant Colonel ret. D. Ulrich de Maizière and Major a. D. Wolf Graf von Baudissin (rank at the end of the war in 1945). Starting in 1951, as an employee of the so-called Blank Office, you developed the concept of Innereführung in order to take account of the issues raised. The more concrete design took place on the basis of Himmeroder's considerations in the Committee for Inner Leadership, which developed the essential guidelines in 39 meetings from 1953 to 1954, which were then implemented when the Bundeswehr was founded.

On March 5, 1953, the concept was officially adopted by the Blank office under the name of Innereführung .

Principles of Inner Leadership

The principles of Inner Guidance are based on the elaborations of the Department of Internal Structure in the Blank Office. They are essentially unchanged until today and are specified in ZDv 10/1:

Fields of Inner Guidance

After 1945 the first question arose as to the legitimacy of the soldier: could one still be a soldier after what had happened and in view of what a nuclear war would entail? The use of armed forces could only be justified as a last resort , for defense and crisis management. Human rights and international law were binding in any case. The soldiers' legitimate task had to be to secure and shape peace. As Gustav Heinemann later said, peace was the real thing.

The armed forces had to be integrated into the democratic structures of society. They must be subject to parliamentary control. The soldier is a citizen with the same rights, which are only restricted in exceptional military cases. The internal order and the role of the armed forces in the state must be compatible with democracy. That requires the " citizen in uniform ".

The soldiers' self-image, their identity , is derived from this. Soldiers are citizens who serve the state in their profession. You take part in the social and political discussion in the country. This not only means that - unlike the soldiers of the Reichswehr in the Weimar Republic - they have the right to vote and to stand as a candidate . They can and should express themselves as experts in the discussion on military and security issues. These rights find their limits in the duty of loyalty , the duty of restraint and confidentiality in confidential matters. As a citizen, the soldier is a political actor who has to endure the constant tension between the roles of civil servant and citizen.

The concept of inner guidance thus pursues four central objectives:

  • Legitimation in the sense of a legal, political and ethical justification of the order for the actions of the soldier or the Bundeswehr.
  • Integration in order to integrate the Bundeswehr into the state and society and to define the Basic Law as a binding framework.
  • Organization as the design of the inner order for commitment and discipline, which also recognizes the personality of the individual.
  • Motivation : The individual experiences motivation from the insight into the necessity of his task, fulfillment of duties, obedience and discipline as well as his involvement in the troop and the assumption of responsibility. The soldiers should act out of the conviction that they are defending Germany's free basic order.

These four objectives are to be regarded as equally important, whereby one or the other objective is emphasized depending on the subject of the discussion. General Inspector a. In 2005, D. de Maizière identified the following constant elements of Inner Leadership, which are responsible for its success:

  • Primacy of politics ,
  • Binding of actions to law and order, in particular the Basic Law,
  • Mission statement of the citizen in uniform,
  • Balance between rights and duties and respect for human dignity.

Leadership approach

The leadership approach is based on the values ​​and understanding of tradition of the Bundeswehr and the model of the citizen in uniform. Here the inner guidance is filled with life in daily dealings with one another. Leadership in the Bundeswehr is the key to (military) performance at all levels. For many soldiers this is therefore the centerpiece, as it Inner leadership as an expression of contemporary leadership understand. In the Bundeswehr, leadership is defined as: “[...] a process of controlling the behavior of people in order to achieve a goal. It includes the targeted use of forces and resources as well as information according to space and time. Characteristics of military leadership are the unity of leadership, the interaction of command and obedience as well as " leading by order ", the indivisible, personal responsibility of military leaders and the enforcement of their will. "

Practical implementation

See also: Advisory Board for Inner Leadership

The Bundeswehr school for internal leadership was officially founded in Cologne on October 28, 1956 and relocated to Koblenz on February 1, 1957. In 1981, the name was changed to the Center for Inner Leadership (ZInFü), where military and civilian teachers teach. The training of superiors who are to take part in foreign assignments plays a special role today . The center conducts its own research and publishes a number of publications in which the Inner Leadership is sometimes also critically discussed. The Inner Leadership Advisory Board has existed since 1958. It consists of civil personalities from many areas of society and observes and accompanies the practice of Inner Leadership. The advisory board takes an active part in current issues and makes recommendations such as integrating women into the Bundeswehr or dealing with soldiers of foreign origin. The defense commissioner of the German Bundestag devotes the main focus of his attention to the inner leadership.

The Bundeswehr's stance on internal leadership

Despite this accompaniment, the concept of Innereführung was initially viewed critically in parts of the Bundeswehr. In the first few years, traditionalists dominated who were influenced by the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht. During the setup there was little room for in-depth conceptual discussions. It was not until the mid-1960s that there was an increasingly intense debate about the Inner Leadership. In addition to the Nagold affair, the triggers were the critical statements made by some generals and the appearances of some groups of soldiers ( Lieutenant 70 , Captains von Unna , reserve officers 1972), who criticized the Inner Leadership partly as a “soft wave”, but partly as not going far enough. The traditionalists in particular benefited from the fact that the Inner Leadership cannot be narrowly defined militarily. They criticized the concept as being unrealistic and emphasized the incompatibility of military and civilian existence, since the soldier's profession is a sui generis profession . This resulted in the demand for a military system based more on traditional soldier values, with a combat community based on "eternal" soldier values. The reformers, on the other hand, advocated an even more open army based on democratic-pluralistic fundamental values.

With the appointment of General de Maizière as Inspector General in 1966, the political leadership set a clear signal for the Innereführung. In the next two decades, the controversy surrounding the Inner Leadership subsided. However, even today the concept is critically monitored from various directions. For example, the “European Security and Future of the Bundeswehr” commission at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg recently complained that “the original content of Innereführung is deformed and partially turned into its opposite” and that “the opportunity for internal democratization ... has only been used insufficiently ”.

An old main point of criticism of the Innereführung is taking a back seat: for a long time it was argued that the concept did not have to prove itself in an emergency. This can no longer be sustained after more than 100,000 German soldiers have taken part in missions abroad outside of the NATO area. In these missions the principles of Inner Guidance seem to be working well.

New challenges

The changed security situation after 1990 places new demands on the inner leadership. The Cold War image of war is no longer present. Therefore the concept of being able to fight in order not to have to fight needs to be re-examined. The attempt to initiate a security policy debate on the new tasks of the Bundeswehr, as has been the case in the past on topics such as rearmament, nuclear armament and NATO's double decision , has so far not been successful. Even the thesis of former Defense Minister Peter Struck that Germany's security will also be defended in the Hindu Kush was insufficient as a provocation to initiate a discussion about the legitimate tasks of the armed forces in the current world situation.

Until a few years ago, the Inner Guidance concept did not have to prove itself in the context of real combat missions by German soldiers. However, it is difficult to transfer it to extreme scenarios. In the meantime, the inner leadership does not seem to receive the same attention within the armed forces. It can certainly be assumed that it still has a latent effect even under extreme operating conditions and that many soldiers are intuitively guided by it, but one must assume that many members of the armed forces are at best indifferent to it. In the face of more stringent deployment scenarios, there is often a demand to help inner guidance regain its strength. Adaptation to developments within the armed forces and changes in security policy seem necessary to many. The repressed examination of the self-image and motivation of soldiers can lead to undesirable consequences, such as the mental retreat to the ideal image of the fighter or increased striving for regulation and security.

The missions abroad also lead to changes in the Bundeswehr's understanding of leadership. In the potential mass war prepared during the East-West confrontation, the principle of decentralized leadership strictly applied, combined with extensive freedom of choice at the lower levels. Today's Bundeswehr operations require precise political control. Actions at lower management level can also have significant political consequences. That is why the political leadership reserves the right to take direct action across all levels on every association in action. This reservation sometimes meets with criticism from the troops, as the knowledge and experience of superiors and experts on site are sometimes ignored. At the same time, part of the responsibility for military action is transferred directly to political officials.

Another area of ​​tension arises from ever closer cooperation with the armed forces of other nations, such as in the Franco-German Brigade . The leadership cultures of other armed forces, based on traditions, differ in some cases considerably from the internal leadership . Even if the German Armed Forces like to refer to Innereführung as an export item, large Western nations with an unbroken military tradition such as France , Great Britain and the United States in particular refuse to adopt the German principle. On the other hand, the Bundeswehr is not prepared to sacrifice the core of the internal leadership of international cooperation.

See also


Series and magazines

Web links

Wiktionary: Inner Leadership  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ZDv 10/1, margin number 101
  2. ^ W. Baudissin, 1969, p. 125f.
  3. For the development of the concept cf. G. Meyer, 1993, pp. 851-1019.
  4. See Ulrich de Maiziere, 1989, p. 180 f.
  5. ZDv 10/1, Chapter 3, VI. “Principles of Inner Leadership”, margin number 316, January 2008 edition.
  6. ZDv 10/1, edition 2008, paragraph 401
  7. U. Hartmann, 2007, p. 80.
  8. See M. habenicht, 2012, p. 33.
  9. See U. Hartmann, 2007, p. 81 f.
  10. HDv 100/200, No. 1001
  11. M. habenicht, 2012, pp. 21/22, 68/69.
  12. M. habenicht, 2012, p. 73.
  13. M. habenicht, 2012, p. 72.
  14. Quotation in the Netzeitung ( Memento from September 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  15. M. Bohnert, 2013, p. 334 ff.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on February 10, 2006 .