The Treaty of Versailles limited the German army to 100,000 men; however, the German General vonSeeckt began building a new German Army in secret. Several thousand staff officers were not in military uniform but assigned, on paper, as civilian employees of the government but they were training toperform military staff functions. Furthermore, to keep within the 100,000 man limit, all the men trained as officers, serving for short terms, discharged to make way for other officers’ training thereby building up a large officer corps.In 1926,Seeckt conducted a large training exercise for commanders with staffs and communication units. There were no regular troops. Therefore, generals, commanders and staff officers could be introduced to the problems encountered by large armies. All of this was to work around the limitations of the Treaty of Versailles. Furthermore, to train pilots the government-sponsored gliding clubs where young men could work helping to build hangers and push gliders back to the starting point for additional flights. Such work earned them points that they could use for flight lessons. Advanced glider flight training was at centralized airports all in the name of civilian clubs with the men paying their own transportation to the advanced training site.
In small towns, where the houses and barns were stone, there were large companies of firemen. A good number of these towns hadn’t seen a fire in many years. Each neighborhood had a fire leader assigned. At the sound of the alarm, the fire leader would gathered together a platoon of firefighters, marched them toward the outskirts of the town to the fire training site, merging with platoons and companies from other neighborhoods as they proceeded along the way and gathering as an infantry Regiment when they arrived at the training site. This was military training conducted as civilian fire protection long before Hitler came to power.