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- Location: Louisville, KY
In _The Nemesis of Power_ Noske is referred to as a "Captain of the Reserve", but from the context this does not seem to be a compliment. (Another source referred to him as a former sergeant who fawned on generals.)
So, were we faced with actual Hauptmann Noske and Hauptmänner von Schickfuss, or is this a figure of speech similar to the "Hauptmann von Köpenick"?
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- Location: Western Appalachian Radioactive Research
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- Joined: 16 Sep 2002 12:00
- Location: Germany
The reason: An important career step in the German army was (and is) the promotion to the rank of a major. Once being Leutnant, the promotion to Oberleutnant and Hauptmann after a certain span of time is pretty much obligatory. However, the promotion to a major (lowest rankof the group of staff officers) is much more difficult to obtain [if you become a major, it’s likely that you’ll gain the ranks of lt.col. and col., the lowest rank of generals being the next serious hurdle].
Therefore many officers didn’t make it to the rank of a major. Usually that implied they weren’t considered able enough for further promotion. During the 2nd Empire captains were often promoted to major on the day of their retirement as a “Social gift.” However, they were only paid a captain’s pension, thus being dubbed “character majors”.
I might be wrong, but I think there already was a thread about "Charakter-Majore" I contributed to.