The First World War

Member-structure changes in wartime

The membership list of March 10th, 1917 tells us the registry date in the Club, and later in the Corps.

With 106 Corps members at the outbreak of war, numbers rocketed to 429 by February 1915[1]. This includes those who had departed.  The rise can be explained by various circumstances. Certainly the readiness to ‘serve the flag”. But this would also have been possible in an ordinary military detachment. In the Imperial Automobile Corps there was the remarkable possibility, even at the beginning of the war, that without a trace of military training, for the single reason that a motor vehicle was owned  – service could be done, as an officer. There was hardly a man who could resist this. Perhaps it was believed that for journeys with Chiefs of Staff  that the personal risk involved would be largely bearable. Maybe this was why the Corps was accused of shirking. This defamatory allegation was discussed by the leading members in February 1915, and naturally denied. Those interested can read the recorded protocol[2].

It is surprising how openly such defamatory accusations were discussed. An objective self-criticism, that later went out of fashion in Germany .

[1] Protokoll der Mitgliederversammlung des Kaiserlichen Freiwilligen Automobil-Corps vom 25.Februar 1915
[2] Mitgliederversammlung des Kaiserlichen Freiwilligen Automobil-Corps , 25. Februar 1915

The German Imperial Automobile Corps and its daggers - By Vic Diehl and H.Hampe