Daily Management Review

Does Germany Prepare for War?


Leading German politicians argue that Ukrainian conflict calls for increased military spending. This topic has recently been politically taboo in Germany. German Defense Minister announced in late February that the armed forces will no longer throw good equipment to improve military readiness. More than 40 tanks, which were scheduled to be decommissioned, will soon form a new armored battalion in northern Germany.

A more aggressive foreign policy of Russia drew attention to the national defense throughout Western Europe and the NATO leaders called on Member States to strengthen their armed forces. But nowhere is this shift was as dramatic and actively discussed as in Germany, a country where the postwar aversion to military confrontation, especially with Russia, was a key element of political culture. "Events in Ukraine opened the eyes of many," - said Henning Otte, a member of parliament and press secretary for defense in the conservative bloc Chancellor Angela Merkel. "It's about deterrence. We give to understand that it is better not to attack a member of NATO."

"Given the numerous crises and instability in the world, we certainly need to take the higher defense spending in the coming years," - said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in an interview published in the Bild AM Sonntag last week. 

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen outlined at the end of last month the first steps that are necessary to compensate for the years to nullify the military industry. "Extra good equipment will no longer be given and will not be scrapped," - she said, adding that the reduction of the Leopard 2 tank arsenal is currently being revised. New Tank Battalion, which is now being formed, will be persisted in northern Germany in the city of Bergen, on a military base in this liberated by British troops.
The move, according to von der Leyen, will let Germany to perform their duties in accordance with the reaction of NATO to the crisis in Ukraine amid fears that Russia could intervene militarily in the Baltic countries, which are also members of NATO. Germany is one of the three countries leading the new rapid reaction force that can be deployed within a few days to the eastern borders of the alliance. "We have an amazingly tough year behind us, but it also opened our eyes," - said von der Leyen. "We want to adapt quickly to the changed parameters ...."
The September survey of TNS Emnid research firm showed that 73% of Germans still oppose the increase in military spending of NATO countries. Manfred Güllner, head of the Berlin Institute of Sociology Forsa, said that many Germans equate military buildup in an increased risk of war. They "prefer military inaction and that they stay at home," - he said. - Atlantic Council