Germany’s military has been struggling through a long period of secular decline. But there’s concern that the Russian invasion of Ukraine could prompt the Germans to revive the draft, which the country scrapped back in 2011. Conscription was introduced in Germany back in 1956, with all men over the age of 18 expected to serve at least one year in the army (although they could claim exemption for moral reasons). But the draft was scrapped to save money, as Germany’s military endured a long post-war decline.
But Moscow’s increasingly aggressive posture on the global stage has given the Germans reason to reverse this decline.
In recent days, German politicians have called for a revival of some form of mandatory military service, according to France24. Wolfgang Hellmich, a politician for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), called for an “urgent” debate on the issue in an interview with the Rheinische Post newspaper on Tuesday.
Compulsory military service would help “promote public spirit,” he said, also calling for careers in the Bundeswehr to be made more attractive to young people. The president of Germany’s association of reservists has called on the government to reintroduce a “general framework” for military service for both men and women. This could take the form of “one year in which young people who are of age and have completed their education do something for the state and the community”, he told the Rheinische Post newspaper. Members of the CDU, the party of Angela Merkel that is now in the opposition after 16 years in power, have also expressed support for bringing back the draft. Members from the state of Lower Saxony have gone so far as to publish a paper calling for the reintroduction of military service.
Voices from the conservative CDU, now in opposition after 16 years […]
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