German Military Surprises: Past, Present and Future

For thousands of years, this warrior people has shocked the world. The pattern is clear. The future is certain.

Right now, somewhere in Germany, thousands of Leopard 2 heavy tanks sit quietly, forgotten in dusty sheds. Named after a large predator in the cat family, these tanks are an overt celebration of the fearsome German Tiger and Panther tanks of World War ii.

But these mothballed Leopards don’t exist—at least, according to media and government sources. They used to, but officially, since the 1990s, Germany’s tank force has been gradually “reduced.” About 95 percent were downsized out of the Bundeswehr. But what exactly does “reduced” mean? Were they converted to scrap metal? Auctioned to West African nations fighting Boko Haram? Sold to Germany’s Arab clients?

Actually, as reported in the Local, the vast majority were put in storage. Operationally, this means a 20-minute battery charge and they’re essentially serviceable, according to one former M1 Abrams tank mechanic. For German officials, implying the Leopards have been discarded is beneficial, admitting they’re only mothballed is grudgingly acceptable, but acknowledging they’re all but immediately serviceable—well, that’s right out.

This shrouding of massed, game-changing military hardware by the Germans chillingly echoes an episode that preceded World War ii.

To be fair, few governments have an interest in advertising to the world, or to their enemies—even to their allies—their full military capabilities. But Germany in particular has a remarkably consistent historical penchant for hiding its capabilities, often while presenting a peaceful facade—then springing on the world a shocking, devastating military surprise.

Since 1991, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has been illuminating Germany’s militarized history and present readiness to play a lead role in the end-time biblical prophecies of Revelation 17 and Daniel 11. He has picked up the mantle of Herbert W. Armstrong, who since 1945 warned how Germany’s militarism remained poised to fulfill those prophecies (some of which we will specifically examine in this article). That militarism has quietly persisted all these decades since World War ii and is plainly evident in the Bundeswehr today.

Revelation 17:8 says nations will literally marvel and wonder at the sudden rise to power of a political “beast” that will rise through conquest. We have proved for over 80 years the identity of this empire. Prophecy indicates the German military will help lead the way.

Perhaps these dreadful prophesied events seem unreal or several years off. You may even scoff, perhaps lulled by media silence on rising German militarism. The Germans don’t have the arms, the budget, the manpower or the transport capabilities, you say—not yet, and won’t for years.

Then the Germans have a surprise for you. The reality is the German military—right now—is ready to stun the world. Its history is filled with hidden might suddenly unleashed. All this makes time a factor—an urgent factor in your life.

The Historical Pattern

From their ancient warrior culture and macabre barbarism stirring in the dark, trackless forests beyond the Rhine, lurking between the pages of Tacitus’s accounts that so fascinated and horrified the Romans, through the machine age and the two world wars where German technology consistently caught its enemies off guard, up to the present-day gamesmanship with Leopard tanks—the Germans have repeatedly resorted to the “surprise” page of their military playbook.

In a.d. 9, German tribes managed to shock the most dominant military power the world had yet seen, the Roman Empire. (The Romans dubbed them “Germans,” meaning “war men.”) The German chieftain Arminius, a nominal Roman ally, had invited the Romans to join him fighting another German tribe equally troublesome to Rome. Secretly, however, Arminius had been negotiating to unite all the German tribes in the area against the Romans. If Arminius could get the other German tribes to trust him and amass in secrecy, then three Roman legions—strung out on the march and hopelessly exposed—would be taken by surprise and completely destroyed. He did and they were. Today a towering statue of Arminius looms over the Tuetoburg Forest, commemorating the exploit.

After Rome fell in a.d. 476, warfare settled into predictable patterns, with static technology and methodical sieges. The Middle Ages left scant examples of military shock and surprise. But in the 13th century, thousands of Germans, led by the Teutonic Knights, colonized Prussia. After a decade of violent fighting crushing an insurrection, they laid the foundation for an especially potent, military-dominant society akin to ancient Sparta.

Their cultural adherence to militarism persisted over centuries, even amid the burgeoning liberalism and artistic flowering of the Renaissance and the Age of Reason. Encyclopedia Britannica describes 18th-century Prussia: “Frederick William i … geared the whole organization of the state to the military machine.” Economic policy was in fact designed to satisfy the Army’s constantly expanding requirements.

But if militarism was now fixed national character, surprise became Prussia’s military character. In 1740, Prussia stunned Europe by invading part of Habsburg Austria. As Winston Churchill said, it pounced on its superpower neighbor with “extraordinary rapidity and suddenness.”

19th Century

In the ashes of crushing defeat in 1806 at the hand of Napoleon, Prussia instituted the General Staff. It would become infamous. Created to reorganize the Prussian military, it succeeded, performing admirably during the Waterloo campaign. But the staff soon began planning wars in advance. They invented wargaming for that purpose—Kriegsspiel. Such planning became an institutional habit, which would profoundly impact the 20th century and beyond.

Between 1870 and 1871, the German peoples reunified—thanks to war and the systematized military prowess of Prussia. Meanwhile the Industrial Revolution had hit full stride and, like a Frankenstein monster, multiplied the killing power of weaponry. Germany began to harness science and technology as a terrifying force-multiplier. It sought to use these tools to win a two-front war against multiple powers and to establish a world empire—using its old surprise tactics.

Germany has a consistent historical penchant for hiding its capabilities, often while presenting a peaceful facade—then springing a shocking, devastating military surprise.

In 1870, trains were by no means a secret weapon. However, the Franco-German War established a precedent where German strategists stunned a powerful enemy with new technology. Otto von Bismarck, before unifying all the German states, had goaded Napoleon iii of France into war. Newspapers from Paris to London predicted an overwhelming French victory. Both sides had trains. France, free and pluralistic, floundered in a complex bog of rail-use permissions and conflicts of interests; troops arrived on the frontier piecemeal, with units broken up and often without officers. Prussian-dominated Germany, authoritarian and Sparta-like, enacted a prewar plan to transfer centralized rail control directly to the military. Strikingly intricate details were prearranged; vastly superior forces were brought forward, with units fully intact. This speed of concentration created surprise and psychological shock, a German hallmark.

The gallant French army was utterly embarrassed. It took just six weeks.

World War I

At the war’s outset, the noble-minded country gentlemen who had led Great Britain into the 20th century blithely acted as if all wars would be governed by the Marquess of Queensberry rules. Seeing only the Germans’ truly wonderful cultural accomplishments, most British overlooked German history—their national character in war and empire. The reality would be tragically difficult to bear.

Germany launched war against France and Russia first. Straightaway the German General Staff unleashed something they had prepared for since 1905 called the Schlieffen Plan. The principal aim of this plan was to sweep through the neutral and all but defenseless Belgium, stunning the world and shocking Britain—traditional protector and “guarantor” of the Belgians—into declaring war. Within weeks, the Germans were shelling Paris and on the verge of victory.

The Allies held, but thereafter followed years of charnel-house slaughter—and military shocks from the Germans.

In the early hours of April 22, 1915, British soldiers and French-led Algerian troops awoke to yet another day in the trenches fighting the Germans. As usual, shells warbled overhead, but sounded oddly different, and stranger still, the explosions were blush-colored; they crept ominously toward them like surreal puffs of cotton candy. The normally hard-fighting French colonials sensed the supernatural, and broke and fled.

What they were seeing was about 150 tons of lethal chlorine gas being released for the first time in history. The Germans sought to punch a hole through the Allied front and take Paris, possibly winning the war in a single, stunning stroke. Allied soldiers choked to death in fits and agony. But while chaos reigned in the Allies’ lines, the Germans—perhaps wary of the gas—failed to hit the yawning gap with the speed and force they had planned, and their chance passed.

A brightening of prospects arrived with the Americans in the spring of 1918. Then came the next stunner. Earlier, Germany had sponsored the Communist Vladimir Lenin to enter Russia and foment revolution. It worked: Lenin managed to get control and, repaying his debt, took Russia out of the war. Estimates vary, but soon at least 30 German divisions came west.

The British saw the buildup. What they couldn’t see were the new infiltration tactics the Germans were developing out of sight. The tactics involved highly trained, heavily armed “stormtroopers” bypassing strong points and finding blind spots in the Allies’ fields of fire. In a war where big gains registered mere yards, a 40-mile-deep hole was blown, and the front nearly collapsed. American troops finally stabilized it, but the Germans nearly stole the war.

By November German leaders were forced to sue for peace. The Allies, noting several Prussian wars of aggression, used the Treaty of Versailles to greatly limit the strength of the German Army and Air Force, knowing the devastating effect German air power would have on the Royal Navy’s ability to defend Britain.

Undaunted, the German General Staff, still somewhat dominant culturally and politically in Germany’s Weimar Republic, established a hidden air base as early as 1922, unknown to the West. Where? In Soviet Russia, Germany’s past and future enemy—far from Western eyes. Following the doctrine of secretly developing plans and capabilities, the German military sought to overturn the verdict of the last war.

Churchill’s Warnings

Over the next decade, German military figures aided the rise of the Nazis during the brownshirt years. They helped bring Hitler to power in 1933, knowing he would ignore Versailles’ military restraints.

Meanwhile Winston Churchill continued to study German history. Based on what he learned, he watched. He sought out intelligence reports. And he was alarmed. In 1936 he commented on the discovery of massive numbers of trained German pilots: “When we remember the fondness evinced by Germany in history for … surprise and note the large number of machines and pilots which seem to have vanished into thin air and the hundred-odd aerodromes which have been constructed, this possibility cannot be excluded” (emphasis added throughout). “Churchill,” wrote Martin Gilbert, “was convinced about the possibilities of surprise in the German organizational framework.” He knew surprise was their heritage, sewn into the fabric of their military thinking. (You can read this history in Gerald Flurry’s electrifying booklet Winston S. Churchill: The Watchman.)

Clearly a parallel exists with the Leopard tanks of today. The world didn’t know the Leopards still existed by the thousands in the Bundeswehr until disclosed in a public relations gaffe.

World War II

Churchill, virtually alone, bravely warned throughout the 1930s. Parliament did not heed, nor did the public. The Second World War commenced in September 1939 with Germany way ahead in war preparations. In Poland, the German High Command unleashed a tactical and operational system for mechanized warfare it had quietly war-gamed, theorized and refined. Soon journalists began calling it “blitzkrieg”—lightning war. Britannica describes the three basic features of Blitzkrieg warfare as “surprise, speed and superiority in matériel or firepower.” Surprise, as achieved by the Germans in 1940, was “calculated to create a condition of psychological shock and resultant disorganization in enemy forces.”

A German pocket battleship, built to the size limit specified by the Versailles Treaty, traverses the English Channel in 1936.
Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

The degree of coordination between the German air and ground forces was never before seen in war. They also concentrated their tanks and, as if layering on shocks, chose the most counterintuitive point of attack. There they ruptured the enemy front, then raced out into open country dozens, even hundreds of miles, encircling reserves, cutting supplies, and threatening strategic objectives—destroying their enemies’ confidence and will. The Western Allies in early May 1940 thought the fighting would be static, along the lines of World War i. Incredibly, only five weeks later, the Low Countries were overrun, France was suing for peace, and the British Army was fleeing the Continent for its life.

V2 rockets at their launching site in Germany in 1939.
Roger Viollet/Getty Images

The British, after celebrating the truly miraculous evacuation of its army from Dunkirk in June 1940, woke up to face an alarming shortfall in military aircraft and trained pilots, as compared with the Germans, essential to stopping a seaborne invasion. Within days, Britain’s survival would come down to a mere 600 Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, paying the price in the currency of heroism for the nation’s failure to heed their watchman, Churchill. Civilians, meanwhile, faced months of aerial bombing.

The German High Command unleashed more surprises. A year later it was the Soviet Union’s turn to be the target. This time, as with Arminius, it sprang from diplomacy and deceit. Hitler had signed a nonaggression pact with Stalin; they had divvied up Eastern Europe between them. Nevertheless, in the morning light of June 22, 1941, German infantry stormed across the border to begin Operation Barbarossa. In just four months German forward units could see the spires of Moscow. It has been reported that, despite warnings from a variety of sources, Stalin was so taken by surprise, so psychologically shaken, that as the tanks rolled he remained in a state of catatonic shock, unable to act or speak for days.

The war turned against Germany, but the Germans continued dipping into the bag of the unexpected. One quiet day in June 1944, London residents heard the sound of a single, low-flying plane. It was the V1—a pilotless plane. The second blitz was on. Worse, the Germans had virtually invented modern rocketry in hidden labs and air bases; soon the far deadlier V2s were raining down. To Londoners, it was a terrifying jolt.

Meanwhile, over the skies of Germany in late 1944, German pilots manned the world’s first jets—Messerschmitt me 262s—flabbergasting Allied pilots. Analysts have argued that these superior jets, had they arrived several months earlier in numbers, could have changed the outcome of the war.

With the Allies poised to end the war, one more stunner loomed in the snowy forests of Belgium. In December 1944, the Germans secretly massed several mechanized divisions no one realized they had, and under cover of snowstorms abruptly sliced through the lightly defended Ardennes (once again) toward the Allies’ supply hub at Antwerp, threatening a second Dunkirk. So overwhelming was the shock that one eyewitness saw a senior American officer, while evacuating a headquarters, attempting to crank-start a jeep. A crank-starting vehicle hadn’t been manufactured in decades.

As the war progressed conventionally, Germany was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Albert Einstein’s famous letter to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt conveyed this, touching off U.S. efforts to develop the bomb. The Germans had the talent and the means, but, miraculously, were poorly organized. The U.S. won the race, along with the war.

Churchill and Roosevelt at the Yalta Conference officially blamed the world wars on the German General Staff, and vowed to dismantle it for all time. However, there is plenty of evidence that they were not thorough enough.

Nuclear Ambitions

In 1996, the U.S. government released an intelligence document officially confirming a powerful truth: Nazi industrialists and military heads, fleeing the Allies and Nuremberg prosecutors, went underground, mainly in South America, and worked to create “a strong German empire.”

One of their goals was to secretly develop new weapons systems. Most of us have assumed German efforts at acquiring nuclear weapons ended in 1945. However, in their exposé Unholy Trinity, which documents the Vatican ratlines that helped Nazis escape Europe, Mark Aarons and John Loftus describe a secret concordat made in 1968 between West Germany and Argentina, led by strongman Juan Perón, famously sympathetic to the Nazis. The agreement allowed West Germany to secretly develop nuclear weapons on Argentinian soil. Writes Loftus: “The American author, Paul Manning, has obtained startlingly direct confirmation of this from a German nuclear physicist who worked on the program ….”

The Plain Truth also cited scientists who blew the whistle on the Germans designing a clean-burning hydrogen bomb, a nuke that would leave behind no radiation—a weapon you could start, win, and survive a nuclear war with.

A German fighter aircraft lands at the Luftwaffe Büchel air base, which houses U.S. B61 nuclear bombs.
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Currently, German air bases have hundreds of nato nuclear bombs fitted to German aircraft, nominally under U.S. stewardship. To assume this won’t quickly change—amid a fracturing nato, U.S. isolationism, a menacing Russia, a looming EU-U.S. trade war, Iran having missiles that can strike Europe and technology to build nuclear warheads, and the myriad of deepening crises within the EU—would be foolish at best.

Nobody officially deems Germany to possess nuclear weapons. Yet Bible prophecy indicates that the possession will be proved by the use. It will be a devastating shock to many—just one more German military shock in a long line of them.

In the past the shocks looked like slain legionnaires, roads choked with refugees, soldiers choking on chemicals, destroyed cities, concentration camps, and nations enslaved. This time it will be that bad and much, much worse. Scripture is famously, uncannily and troublingly accurate in describing end-time nuclear warfare and its effects. (To learn more, request a free copy of Gerald Flurry’s booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’)

Many Chariots and Ships

A prophecy in Daniel 11:40 shows that a German-led European empire will overrun an Iranian-led power bloc (explained in our booklet The King of the South). Daniel describes a “whirlwind” assault “with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships.”

In light of this prophecy, consider Germany’s conventional (nonnuclear) military capabilities. In Churchill’s time it was next to impossible to distinguish between German civilian and military-use transport aircraft. Are we today better able to assess German troop transport capabilities, both by air and by sea, that could be a game changer in the Middle East and the world? The fact is, such transport hardware can be dual-use or is quietly convertible.

Consider again the thousands of German Leopard tanks named after Nazi-era tanks and “reduced,” yet not really. German leaders might say, “We honor our military and believe in preparedness in a dangerous world—we’ve nothing to hide.” Churchill would respond, “The further back in history you look, the further ahead you see. Beware! Germany is a country fertile in military surprises.”

Today, German liberals talk of peace and humanitarianism. But God identifies Germany as Assyria anciently and prophetically, and says, “O Assyrian … he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few” (Isaiah 10:5, 7).

On March 11 of this year, the Bundeswehr’s general inspector announced that weapons developments would be classified. The federal legislature and the public will be kept in the dark, as postwar transparency is cast aside (

What, then, do we know of German capabilities? As discussed, a change in administration clumsily exposed the existence of thousands of upgraded Leopard 2 tanks that previous administrations pretended didn’t exist. EU nations led by Germany possess nuclear stealth capability (, and Germany leads the way in satellite and cyberattack capabilities (, which our editor has long spotlighted as the Achilles’ heel of the U.S.

The Daniel 11 whirlwind assault includes “many ships”—apropos given that the Mediterranean Sea connects the EU and the Middle East. Consider then Germany’s virtual takeover of Greece following its financial collapse, providing direct access to Greek assets and capital ( For years, the German government has successfully encouraged German citizens and corporations to invest heavily in foreign shipping. Thus Germany could easily seize, repossess, buy up or arrange to make use of Greece’s vast shipping capabilities. Factor in the ease of converting its own nonmilitary ships to troop ships, load them with the thousands of modernized Leopard tanks—some of which they have sold to Iran’s neighborhood enemies—add their stealth and satellite prowess—and German conventional, “whirlwind” capabilities against Iran are phenomenal.

One can already see clear outlines of the planning of a whirlwind assault in Germany’s recent deployments that encompass Iran.

Right now, Iran is using armed Shiite proxies in Yemen to threaten Red Sea shipping lanes—Europe’s lifeline. The ayatollah is promoting Islamic terror in Europe and North Africa. The provocations against Germany and Europe are real.

Read Gerald Flurry’s booklet Germany’s Secret Strategy to Destroy Iran. Like the Von Schlieffen Plan, Operation Barbarossa and other German invasions mapped out in advance, one can already see clear outlines of the planning of a Daniel 11 whirlwind assault in Germany’s recent deployments that encompass Iran!

Divine Correction

The Bible shows that God is raising up a nuclear-armed Germany to bring to their knees an unrepentant U.S., Britain and Israel (biblical Judah) for their great and multiplying sins.

Some experts think it is possible to win a nuclear war. Reports that Germany has researched or developed low-radiation nukes indicates that their leaders have long thought this—and should alarm everyone! But something holds us back from facing it. Please read Mr. Flurry’s Winston S. Churchill: The Watchman. He states: “As before World War ii, this generation has to grapple with living for many years in unreality.”

But notice his quoting of Churchill, describing a calamitous setback in his quest to warn Britain: “From midnight till dawn I lay in my bed consumed by emotions of sorrow and fear. … I watched daylight slowly creep in through the windows, and saw before me in mental gaze the vision of death.” Mr. Flurry commented: “Churchill believed that Britain’s great empire, built over centuries, would be destroyed suddenly. He was in deep sorrow, fear and despair …. We first must experience some of Churchill’s sorrow and fear to be motivated to change. There is hope only if we face reality and have the vision of what is on the horizon. [A] weak will was afflicting us badly in World War ii. But the good news is, we could change that weakness if we turn to God.”

Face your fears and weakness by fully turning to God, and He will help you keep His joy-producing law. Read Joshua 1:1-6 and Proverbs 29:18. The time is now! Let the warning correct you—so the fulfillment doesn’t have to!

God will use Germany to correct many nations—and He will deal with Germany, as mankind finally learns this agonizing, but final cause-and-effect lesson. Once this lesson is learned, and God establishes His Kingdom on Earth, God can and will use the Germans’ creativity and work ethic in the world to come. They will be beautifully reconciled to their former enemies. The nation of Beethoven, Bach and Brahms helped design the rockets that took us to the moon. God—after giving us His law and instilling in us His wondrous way of life—plans to give them and you the moon and the stars and all the vast, ancient galaxies beyond, forever. And if you doubt that, God has a surprise for you.