Beginning with a state initiative in 1951, negotiations between the German federal government and the two major churches led to a new conception for organizing pastoral care in
the military. Using exhaustive sources from the period between 1951 and 1969, the author reconstructs the developments in this triangular relationship. Based on the »organizational scheme of 1955,« which
all three equal partners developed in concert, the legal foundations for religious pastoral care in the military of today emerge as a multi-layered system of state, church, and state-church arrangements
that shape, augment, and pervade one another. Examples include the »Soldiers’ Law,« the law governing military pastoral care, the Reich Concordat, the statutes on pastoral care in the German
Bundeswehr, and the agreement on military pastoral care with its transformation into established regional church law. A thorough examination of how the churches operated in this branch of pastoral care
over a period of twelve years proves the efficacy of a model based on partnership and autonomy. The churches’ independence in pastoral care and the state’s share of responsibility for helping
organize that care, as well as the parliamentary protection of religious freedom, define the state-church relationship in the area of military pastoral care, a relationship that is exemplary not only in
design but in practice as well.