The Federal Army begins a long process of transformation

One of the outstanding tasks that every one of the German defense ministers in recent decades has kept in a drawer is the transformation of the German Federal Army. The truth is that the German military establishment constitutes a hotspot at the same time The state is militarily oppressed for historical reasons.

But now Germany has a very enthusiastic minister. This is the social democrat Boris Pistorius, who arrived in Berlin just 14 months ago, replacing his disastrous predecessor, the protagonist of many missteps.

Pistorius came to do what no one had dared to do before: Transforming the army and making it “effective in war”.

How does the German army work now?

Fields of work of the German Federal Army, which was established in 1955, Very limited. It can only be deployed within the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany in emergency situations due to disasters or in the event of a severe threat to the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany itself.

as in “Parliamentary Army” It must obtain approval from Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, before participating in military intervention. Abroad, it operates only under the umbrella of NATO, the European Union, or the United Nations.

Over the years, some cases have become normal. For example, having uniformed soldiers on leave – without weapons – traveling around the country using the railway network became more common.

It is also common to see military advertising posters on the streets of German cities. Soldier recruitment campaigns intensifiedDespite not achieving the desired success. The number of German army soldiers currently stands at 180,000. The goal is to reach 205,000 over the next seven years.

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Army reform proposal

Without going into many details, Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius presented his transformational project, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Inspector General of the Army.

across the Merge some higher commands, It aims to provide the Federal Army with greater agility and the ability to respond in case of need, as well as to simplify dialogue with NATO headquarters, located 700 kilometers west of Berlin.

Fin Ara, German Army He received an extraordinary sum of 50,000 million euros In its budget, half of that promised by Chancellor Schulz. But it still lacks soldiers, submarines, drones, and cannons to have the intimidating power the minister wants.

Hot potatoes from Reinstatement of a type of compulsory military service –not yet defined, although perhaps similar to Swedish –remains to be seen.

Pistorius is a strong supporter, unlike the advisor, who prefers to know which way the wind is blowing. This question is still being discussed at an early stage, but it is also part of a transformation process that could also lead the German army and society down paths full of uncertainties.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius wants to reform the army so that it can adapt to any possible war (Reuters/Koba Stizeki)

What changes?

As tensions rose in the wake of the war in Ukraine, the German army It has gained legitimacy in public opinion In Germany, the liberal eco-social democratic tripartite government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz became one of the most militaristic executives in memory since reunification.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, we have observed a continuous development in the German government's military rhetoric. First came the condemnation, which was relatively strong. Then contribute to military aid, very shy. The first thing Schulz offered to the Ukrainian army was 20 thousand helmets from the former German Communist Army (Nationale Volksarmee) stored by the army. The initiative was received as a scandal.

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A leap forward will be made later. First, with the shipment of rusty weapons, also from the NVA, and then, in coordination with the rest of the European partners, Germany began sending high-quality and in many cases new materials from the factory.

Ukraine's military aid spending will eventually rise to what Germany has reached The second donor in the world after the United States For the Ukrainian issue.

Historical taboos and warlike atmosphere

But everything has its speed, and historical taboos are not easy to overcome either This was observed in the Gaza warGermany continues to send weapons to Israel and humanitarian aid to Palestine simultaneously.

Ukraine has struggled to send its prized Leopard tanks there, but there is still reluctance to send Taurus cruise missiles, also made in Germany.

If the situation in the case of Gaza is one of guilt – the Holocaust still casts a shadow over the collective and institutional consciousness -, In Ukraine, it's about fear. Taking the calculation one step further could cause the Kremlin tenant to go off script.

But at the same time, a dangerous and sensitive narrative was constructed to legitimize the war in Germany. First, as we said, from strong parliamentary condemnations. Street demonstrations “for peace” or “against war” They quickly turned into anti-Russian demonstrations With more aggressive slogans than peaceful slogans, the “just war” belief captured a large portion of public opinion.

The German army wants to increase its number to 205,000 soldiers (Reuters/Lisa Johansen)

The official story is no different from what we saw in the rest of the Western countries. But everything is developing, and after two years of war, one begins to see a certain, if still timid, critical spirit in the political sphere.

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The outbreak of a new party was born around it Sarah WagenknechtOne of the leaders of the left suggests that she will bring the anti-war spirit to the Bundestag. The establishment considers it loyal to Russia because it is the way to neutralize it. In the same way that in every election campaign, the extreme right is equated with the extreme left.

But clearly one thing has nothing to do with the other. Let us not forget that the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the main opposition party, It also criticizes the war In this case, suspicions about the links between the AfD and the Putin regime were highlighted.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how things develop until the next regional elections scheduled for the fall in Saxony and Thuringia. The military issue is at the top of the political agenda The transformation of the German army includes many things.

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