Majority of Germans Back Return of Compulsory Military Service: Younger People Not So Sure

14 December 2023, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Stralsund: Bundeswehr recruits stand in t
Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty

More than half of Germans of all ages – with one key cohort excepted – want to restore compulsory military service, a survey released Thursday reveals, as war on the European continent between Russia and Ukraine drags on into another year.

The revelation comes courtesy of a representative survey by the opinion research institute Insa and published by Welt. It shows 52 percent of respondents are in favor of armed service while 32 percent are against it.

Germany scrapped compulsory military service back in 2011 although a growing call for rearmament right across Europe is now forcing it to think again.

Bundeswehr recruits during a swearing-in ceremony on 14 December, 2023, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Stralsund. Some 145 new soldiers from the Parow Naval Academy took part. (Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The polling sets out as the age of the respondent increases, agreement increases from just 30 percent among the youngest to 65 and 62 percent among the oldest respondents.

A relative majority of 18 to 29 year olds – the age group affected by compulsory military service – say no to the question, 49 percent, while among older people the positive view predominates at 43 to 65 percent.

The Welt story outlines shortly before Christmas, Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) suggested conscription based on the “Swedish model.”

(L to R) Inspector General of the German Armed Forces Carsten Breuer, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and youngest daughter of German army officer Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg who carried out an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Konstanze von Schulthess-Rechberg, review recruits during a swearing-in ceremony of German Bundeswehr soldiers on July 20, 2023. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty)

Sweden ended conscription in 2010 after over a century of continual operation, but a changing security picture in Europe and an inability to recruit enough soldiers voluntarily saw it return in 2017.

Men and women are recruited on an equal basis, one of the only countries in the world to do so, but not everybody serves, with the government selecting a few thousand out of the pool of eligible teenagers every year.

“All young women and men are mustered there and only a selected number of them end up doing basic military service,” Pistorius said, echoing a call to arms that is growing right across Europe, as Breitbart London reported.

Deutsche Welle notes during the Cold War in the 1970s and 1980s, there were almost half a million soldiers in the West German armed forces, the Bundeswehr (literally ‘Federal Defence [Force]’).

Meanwhile, the National People’s Army (NVA) in East Germany still comprised around 168,000 soldiers at the end of 1989.

Today, the Bundeswehr is a professional army made up of volunteers — but the volunteers are no longer coming.

A recent report found there were some 27,000 positions in the Bundeswehr left vacant in 2022, out of a total of 164,000.

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