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Requisition comes from Latin , requirere literally means to seek out , examine , demand .

The word can be used in several legal and military contexts:

Requisition in law

Requisition is an obsolete term in the legal system for an investigation, an investigation, and a request for legal assistance .

Requisition or requisition in the military

In the military sense, requisition means the confiscation of civil property for army purposes. This differs from the contribution that confiscates civilian funds. Individual soldiers who appropriate objects, however, commit plunder .

On the historical development of the requisition system

In ancient times, poisoning wells in order to harm the enemy was not the exception, but rather the rule. Enemy warriors took everything they needed. They often did not differentiate between warriors and non-warriors (civilians). This was true well into the Middle Ages, at least when it came to ideological-religious conflicts. This behavior has been weakened in modern times - at least among the “cultivated peoples” of Europe - to the effect that soldiers in times of war were only allowed to take food and fodder for themselves or their animals; But they should spare the household goods and livestock. The need for the upkeep of the mercenary armies, which was becoming common at the time, was purchased whenever possible (see paymaster ). During the Renaissance , especially successful military commanders made sure that this requirement was adhered to, as the looting usually undermined the discipline of the mercenaries.

However, the longer a war lasted, the more often a village had already been searched by troops, the more difficult it was to keep this general rule - or if it was a "religious" war or the opponent was one of the non-European peoples. In these cases, hardship, hatred and / or contempt when requisitioning often led to uncontrollable looting (facilitated by hunger and drunkenness of soldiers), as well as murders and rape. Especially during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) - it had (at least nominally) a religious background - all warring parties plundered unreservedly the towns through which they were passing and thus devastated entire areas. The horrors of this war meant that in the following period the armies of most European countries were increasingly urged to be self-sufficient if possible. Therefore, during the so-called Cabinet Wars of the 18th century, the supply and maintenance of the armies with an elaborate magazine system and a gradually growing train was continuously expanded. During this time, there was a strict separation between the civil and the military for the first time, even during a war. With the gradually improving supply of soldiers, the requisition system was forgotten for a long time until it was reintroduced by the French Republic in the wars after 1792 (see coalition wars ).

Since the new requisition system, which was initially born out of necessity, seemed to solve the problem of the laborious supply of armies in the short term and made it possible to largely abolish the cumbersome train , it was soon adopted by the other armies in Europe. After that, it was considered the regular procedure for the procurement of food and other goods of immediate needs for the troops until the Second World War (and this despite some contractual restrictions by the Hague Land Warfare Regulations of 1899 and 1907). However, even in well-organized armies, the transition between requisition and looting remained fluid, as marauders or stragglers, but also individual units, arbitrarily took things away from the population out of need or greed . Therefore, even at the time of the coalition wars between 1792 and 1814 , the requisition system only worked for short campaigns in the "rich" regions of Central and Western Europe, while long-term wars and poorer, sparsely populated areas in Spain, Poland and Russia led to uprisings Led guerrilla wars.

Although the extensive requisition system had already led to the first unrest and revolts of the populations against the respective occupation army during the Napoleonic Wars , throughout the 19th century the main concern of the legislators of all European states was primarily the implementation regulations. During the training the officers were advised that the requisitions had to be carried out “properly”, that the residents in the places where requisitions were made would also be “adequately” compensated, since they “otherwise preferred to hide their property or destroy it themselves than to hand it over to the requisitioning troops ”. For this reason, the higher troop leaders and intendant officials were repeatedly urged to first contact the respective local authorities before they visited the individual owners. It was also warned of the danger that unauthorized requisitions could easily lead to looting and that this would lead to the decline of discipline. Despite such “theoretical” and legal provisions, in reality starving and poorly supplied troops often exceeded the specified limits, so that, in contrast to the 18th century, there were more and more uprisings against an enemy army. All the more so because since the beginning of the 20th century the population of occupied territories was often called on by their own authorities or by partisans ( guerrillas ) via leaflets or radio to refuse to help the enemy. Fundamental changes in international martial law took place in 1949 in light of the experience of World War II.

With increasing mechanization (motorization or mechanization), the logistics team gained in importance. Their primary tasks are replenishment, transport and repair.

Requisition in modern martial law

According to Article 52 of the Hague Land Warfare Regulations of 1899, only the commander may order a requisition in an occupied area; furthermore, compensation must be given in the case of requisitions (which actually already applied for the entire 19th century). The additional protocol of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Victims in International Armed Conflicts of 1949 further restricts the requisition: A requisition of items from civil organizations (e.g. civil medical services) may only be carried out if it is not done to the detriment of civilians if the requisitioned goods are for the needs of other civilians are needed and when the requisition lasts only as long as the need exists.

This international legal restriction does not affect the right of armed forces to requisition civil property on their own territory if necessary (e.g. in Switzerland based on Art. 80 Military Law): After the requisitions in World War II, Switzerland would still have up to In the 1980s, civilian vehicles, for example of the Opel Rekord type, were drafted into the Swiss Army in the event of war, which operated vehicles of the same type. In Russia, based on the directive dated March 14, 2014, duty in the event of war was still primarily applicable to domestic all-wheel-drive vehicles in 2018. A proposed new directive now also includes emergency power generators, for example.


Web links

Wiktionary: Requirement  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

References and comments

  1. Duden: The foreign dictionary . 7th edition.
  2. Viscount Montgomery: World history of battles and campaigns (English actually History of Warfare ). Volume 2. 1974, pp. 601-613.
  3. ^ Delbrück: History of the art of war . Volume 4. 1920, pp. 60 f.
  4. a b c requisition . In: Bernhard von Poten : Concise dictionary of the entire military sciences . 1878.
  5. ^ Nafziger: Napoleon's Invasion of Russia . 1988, pp. 83-93.
  6. Geneva Convention for the Protection of War Victims of August 12, 1949. In: Helmuth Stoecker (Hrsg.): Handbook of Contracts 1871–1964 . Berlin (GDR) 1968.
  7. Military motor vehicles - From 1901 private vehicles in military use, section "Control plates for requisitioned vehicles during World War II"
  8. Citizens' cars are brought for military registration. In: Izvestia , July 24, 2018