The end of the Cold War in 1991
resulted in over a million foreign troops being withdrawn from Germany. But in
another little-known change, German troops were withdrawn from Canada. Over a
30 year period, some 215,000 German troops trained in Canada. The Germans were
there because, during the Cold War, many of the traditional German tank and air
force training areas were in communist East Germany. These training areas were
off-limits to West German troops, and West Germany was too densely populated to
provide replacements. Canada, however, had lots of wide open spaces, and a
climate similar to Germanys. So the West German army and air force stationed
tanks and jet fighters in Canada, and rotated thousands of troops to Canada
each year, for the kind of training they could not get at home.
But once the Cold War ended, the new German army
shrank considerably, and the training areas in the east were now available.
Moreover, computer simulation made it possible to cut back on certain types of
training (like flying jets low and fast). The Canadian training areas were
closed by 2006, and an era ended.
German troops, mainly pilots and anti-aircraft
missile crews, still train in the United States, has they have for half a
century. Again, the reason is lots of space, and less bad weather (which
prevents some kinds of training.) But the bulk of the German training was in
Canada, which accounted for about two thirds of the German troops involved in
these North American training trips.