The Bundeswehr is the unified armed forces of Germany, founded on 12 November 1955 during the Cold War. The name "Bundeswehr" was suggested by liberal Free Democratic Party of Germany politician Hasso von Manteuffel, who had previously served as commander of the 5th Panzer Army during World War II. The Bundeswehr distanced itself from the Weimar Republic's Reichswehr and Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht, claiming that it was a completely new military defense force for West Germany that based its ethos on the aims of 19th century military reformers such as Gerhard von Scharnhorst, August von Gneisenau, and Carl von Clausewitz, followed the conduct displayed by German Resistance leaders Claus von Stauffenberg and Henning von Tresckow during World War II, and followed its own new traditions implemented in 1955. The Bundeswehr was rearmed during the Cold War as tensions with the Warsaw Pact escalated, having a strength of 495,000 military personnel and 170,000 civilian personnel during the conflict. This strength was reduced to 178,334 troops in February 2017, making it the second-largest military in the European Union, behind France.

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