German Government and High Command: 1914–18


Map Code: Ax00175

At the head of the German chain of command was Kaiser Wilhelm II who had power over both arms of the military and government. The Kaiser appointed the Chancellor as the conductor of state affairs, the main position of power over the civilian officials in the chain of command as opposed to the military power structure. In comparison with France, the German power structure was much more heavily weighted towards hereditary heads of state within the Empire than the elected officials of parliament. The secretaries of state under the Chancellor were generally more focussed on administrative decisions, whereas the bodies of the General Staff and Admiralty Staff comprised groups of top military ranks who had direct control over military policy. In 1916 the war office was created to oversee the general procurement of military technology and human resources needed for the war effort.

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