Peacekeeping: German Storm Troopers Shunned at Home

Archives

May 8, 2006: Germans are split over the increasing use of their troops for peacekeeping missions. Some believe it is the right thing to do, other believe that it risks getting Germany mixed up in some very sordid business.

Ever since Germany's defeat in World War II, the military has lost the stature and respect it enjoyed for centuries. The military was tolerated during the Cold War, because most Germans did not want to live under communist rule. About a third did anyway, in East Germany, and word go out how unpleasant that was. But once the Cold War ended, the defense budget, and the size of the armed forces was drastically cut. Even conscription was, after two centuries, on its way out.

While Germans may be put off by militarism, they do feel good about bringing peace and security to parts of the world sorely lacking it. But this combination of altruism and anti-militarism has created a strange political and media atmosphere in Germany. Politicians worry about German soldiers getting into battles with child soldiers. There is also the fear that soldiers will get terrible diseases while serving in Africa. German troops are the lead element in the Congo UN force, and that part of the world is home to such terrors as Ebola fever, and more prosaic afflictions as malaria. The German media frets over the unpleasant side effects of some of the drugs the troops would be taking to protect them from tropical diseases.

Germans are also nervous about the success of their troops in combat situations. The activities of German commandoes in Afghanistan has largely been kept quiet. This is fairly standard for commando units, but in Germany, this situation is received with a great deal of relief. The German commandoes did an outstanding job in Afghanistan, and the stories are shared among the other commando units operating there. But good luck finding out about it in the German media.

Regular German troops in Afghanistan have performed well, but the German media would rather discuss poor living conditions and attacks on German soldiers by Taliban terrorists. Oops, let's rephrase that, the German media doesn't like to think of the Taliban as terrorists. Actually, not all the German media agrees with this Political Correctness approach, but much of the media does.

The only troops going overseas are volunteers. Conscripts only serve nine months these days, and few would be sufficiently well trained to send on peacekeeping missions.

 


Article Archive

Peacekeeping: Current 2019 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close