German government plans reintroduction of military conscription


German government plans reintroduction of military conscription

Noah Windstein

9 August 2018

Germany’s grand coalition government of the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats wants to reintroduce general military conscription. This was reported by various media outlets over the past weekend, including Spiegel Online, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Tagesschau.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party conference in autumn is scheduled to adopt a resolution to reintroduce military service and include this in its joint programme with the Christian Social Union (CSU).

Bundestag (parliamentary) deputy Oswin Veith, who is also president of the Association of Reservists, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that conscription should “last 12 months and apply to young men and women over 18”. Another CDU politician, Patrick Sensburg, announced that in the face of an unstable world situation, compulsory military service “for the very purpose of an army, the defence of one’s own country” was indispensable.

The proposal is also receiving support from the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Parliamentary deputy Fritz Felgentreu expressed the party’s position clearly: “We must conduct a social debate over whether we are presently making the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) as attractive as possible, will we actually reach the numbers of personnel we need for national and alliance defence”.

There is absolute consensus in the grand Coalition over the goal of making the Bundeswehr “attractive”, i.e., powerful.

Some politicians—both in the opposition, as well as in the ranks of the CDU and SPD—have expressed reservations about the reintroduction of compulsory military service. They fear this will damage the building of a professional army, which was…

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