What is the state of the German military?

What is the state of the German military? What controversies currently surround the German military? Where in the world is the German military deployed? What international military alliances does Germany belong to? How does the history of the Second World War affect where and when the German government is willing to use its military forces?

Germany experienced reduction of its military power and troupe after the end of the Second World War. The situation remained constant for some time before the establishment of the Bundeswehr in 1955. This was after a strong debate and consultation about West Germany re-militarization after it joined NATO in 1955. There was introduction of conscription for all men in West Germany aged between 18 and 45 in 1956. Conscription was later magnified by the emergency of civil alterative with longer service duration. Bundeswehr acted as NATO’s Ccentral Europe conventional defense backbone during the cold war. The troupe at this time had about 495000 military which was almost double reserve forces strength and 170000 civilian personnel. The part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) troupe; National Volksarmee (NVA) was absorbed by Bundeswehr after the 1990 reunification. The Bundeswehr took part in humanitarian stabilization and relief operation in African in 1993, on the Balkans and in the Africa and Asia observation commitments lead by the United Nations (NATO 1).

Today, the Bundeswehr contains about 261700 military personnel and approximately 100000 civilian officers. The organization of Army includes five divisions of combat. Bundeswehr also takes part in the structures of multinational command at the level of corps. Luftwaffe contains three divisions and navy comprises of two flotillas. The Joint Service Support Command and the Central Medical Services are each grouped into four regional commands. Each of these branches in addition contains training general commands, in service support among other general issues. Generally, Bundeswehr is still among the military troupes with the best militaries supplies and highest advanced technology in the world. Nevertheless, its budget is shrinking steadily, such that it is currently among the lowest in the NATO with regard to GDP share (NATOa 2).

The controversy currently surrounding Germany military is its spending. Germany has been keeping a low military profile since the end of the Second World War II. It only focused on rebuilding its military power after joining NATO and even then, the effort was quite minimal. Since then, Germany has been having a minimal military budget, a move that made it to be ranked among the lowest military spending troupes based on the country GDP according to NATO. The controversy about their spending came about after the election of Donald Trump as the president of the country. Trump complains about minimal Germany contribution toward NATO operations. According to Buck (3), the United States is demonstrating reduced interest in acting as the European security guarantor, and Berlin is being pressurized to assume more responsibilities. The retreat in Britain from assertiveness of Russia and European Union in Eastern Europe has also been focusing on Germany readiness to lead. The pressure seems to be pushing Germany to the spending edge with the country focusing on enhancing welfare rather than spending on the weaponry. There is also Germany growing fear of against Russia, especially without US maximum support. Germany has been considering military reinforcement to strengthen its commitment to NATO. Generally, Germany military is about to experience massive change, however the direction of change is not yet clear (Buck 4).

Germany military first offensive confrontation after the Second World War was in Kosovo NATO war in 1999. German troupe has also been deployed in the Afghanistan in 2004, a plan that experienced a recent boost in budget and addition of troupe members on March 2018, with a plan to remain there for up to 2020. Germany also extended its military services in Iraq but to specifically train the Iraq army but not to be directly involved in the war. Germany also extends its military mission in Mali and Southern Sudan, and in a NATO-guided sea guardian missions in the Mediterranean Sea. In most of these missions, Germany is not directly engaged in the war field, but it plays a great role in training the countries’ military troupes and providing the governments with the necessary military equipment (Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty).

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Germany is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) where it became a member in 1955. NATO was established in 1949 with intention of defending the security and freedom of its members by military and political means. NATO protects the common values of the rule of law, individual liberty, democracy and the peaceful disputes resolution as well as promotion of the said value for its allies across the Euro-Atlantic area. NATO initially had 12 members; however, they have today grown to 29 members. NATO plays a great role in setting rules in the deployment of military powers by any of its members in any part of the world. It thus plays a great role in controlling Germany military use across the globe. Similar to other members of NATO, Germany is required to make reasonable contribution to NATO to enhance its mission across the world (NATOb, 1).

Germany experienced a moment of massive destruction during the First and the Second World War. The country recorded huge losses in terms of people, combat, weapon, industrial power and properties in in general. The country recorded losses economically and in terms of population. It had any little power to engage in another war and huge debts to pay related to the Second World War. Germany was thus having a firsthand negative experience of the effects of the war. Beside this, Germany was put on a close watch by its opponent such that any military based investment was likely to attract a counter attack. To remain in peace, and to rebuild its economy, Germany has since maintained a small troupe until it Joined NATO in 1955. Even then, the country military maintained a low profile and only worked with NATO guidance. The country troupe was in 1990 slashed to 180000, with limited resources (Buck 4). This was basically meant to avoid being suggestive of their readiness to war, especially among superpower countries such as the US who could still doubt German military power intention. Although Germany still leads as the country with the best military technologies, it maintains minimal utilization of these technologies. In addition, general involvement of Germany military in conflict engagement is still way below its actual ability. In addition, the military budget in the country has been very minimal. The advanced equipment can be explained by reduced spending on field battle engagement by Germany military. The country has since World War II valued the life of military officers where by today officers dying in the war field are highly commemorated. Thus, the country military can only engage in a serious way only in a situation where the life of its citizen is at stake, or what would be regarded as “in self-defense.”

Work Cited

Buck, Tobias. “German Military: Combat Ready? The Big Read Germany Politics. 2018, https://www.ft.com/content/36e2cd40-0fdf-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277 Accessed 4 May. 2019

NATOa. German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) History. n.d. https://www.nato.int/nrfc/database/germany.pdf . Accessed 4 May. 2019

NATOb. What is NATO? 2019 https://www.nato.int/nato-welcome/index.html Accessed 4 May. 2019

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. German Cabinet Approves Troop Increase for Afghanistan, 2018, https://www.rferl.org/a/germany-troop-increase-afghanistan/29085350.html. Accessed 4 May. 2019

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