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CommanderA9

Germany "Militarily Weak?"

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Hello, tread-heads. Sorry for not being around much. Wanted your response to an issue my political science professor just proposed.

We are discussing comparative political systems, and Germany is one of our states of focus. My professor believes that while Germany is an economic powerhouse and a leading state for the European Union, it continues to remain as militarily weak as it was during the Cold War. I didn't yet get into a discussion with him regarding Germany's military hardware, Ramstein acting as NATO Command, or Wiesbaden and the U.S. 1st Armored working in tandem with Germany's military, but what do all of you think?

Is Germany weak militarily today, or is it capable of sustaining itself?

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Is Germany weak militarily today, or is it capable of sustaining itself?

Well, politicans say that there is no be military needed, as there is and "european security structure".

The questeion of mil. strenght answers itself...when the current structure reform gets goin we will have left:

(Total mil budget at around 35-37 billion €)

-90 MBT (yes, in total, the whole german army)

-around 300 IFV

-no AA-capabilty

-very limited art.

...

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Well, politicans say that there is no be military needed, as there is and "european security structure".

The questeion of mil. strenght answers itself...when the current structure reform gets goin we will have left:

(Total mil budget at around 35-37 billion €)

-90 MBT (yes, in total, the whole german army)

-around 300 IFV

-no AA-capabilty

-very limited art.

...

Oh my god! :eek2:

I hope they won't do that...

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We are discussing comparative political systems, and Germany is one of our states of focus. My professor believes that while Germany is an economic powerhouse and a leading state for the European Union, it continues to remain as militarily weak as it was during the Cold War.

I would take objection with the assertion that Germany was militarily weak during the Cold War (90 tank battalions, 2300 Leopard 2 and about 4000 Leo 1 in the inventory, ... - not sure what he considers "strong" if that is "weak").

But be that as it may be, there certainly is a massive downscaling in forces as we are clearly transitioning to expeditionary warfare. Whether or not that is a smart move is up for debate. As is the question for what military strength is needed, and what Germany's strategic goals are, and which role the military is supposed to play in this. Also, Germany's military strength must be seen in the context of NATO and the European Union as it is highly unlikely that the Bundeswehr would ever operate outside of Germany's territory on its own. In this context, the argument goes that Germany doesn't have to be capable of doing everything as long as there are complementary capabilities among its allies.

Whether or not that is a sound strategy is a matter of political and personal value judgment. But I think it is relatively undisputed that there simply are no territorial conflicts on the horizon that Germany has with any of its neighbors, and that begs the question for what a bigger army was needed.

If expeditionary warfare is the goal, and the capability to run one major engagement or one medium and two small engagements, the force structure could probably be still justified to some extent.

The far more interesting question IMO is, does the German government since 1990 actually have a clear idea what they want to do with the Bundeswehr, except shrinking it so that it be less costly. Is there actually a strategic vision and framework into which the Bundeswehr and its force composition fits.

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The far more interesting question IMO is, does the German government since 1990 actually have a clear idea what they want to do with the Bundeswehr, except shrinking it so that it be less costly. Is there actually a strategic vision and framework into which the Bundeswehr and its force composition fits.

IF they have an idea, they are doing a lousy job in communicating it 8-)

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If expeditionary warfare is the goal, and the capability to run one major engagement or one medium and two small engagements, the force structure could probably be still justified to some extent.

Let's hope that in our zeal to go expeditionary we convince the otherside to-do the same. If they don't it will be very interesting to see how we would respond. Then again how many people here still think that major unit engagements will still occur?

Tanks

Andy

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IF they have an idea, they are doing a lousy job in communicating it 8-)

I grant you that, but no opposition or broad societal movement is in sight that would actually press the government to answer these questions. Therefore "bumbling through" is an attractive option - you can't gain voters in Germany by being outspoken "pro military", and nobody was ever voted out of office for downscaling the Bundeswehr. The last Chancellor who was an outspoken advocate of military strength incidentally was also the last one who served as an officer in WW2 - Helmut Schmidt - and we know how his own party treated him for that.

Three defense ministers since 1982 actually tried to raise the issue - Rühe, Struck, and Guttenberg - but none of them actually managed to get other people involved in the debate. So, you just try to make do with the budget that you have, and hope for the best.

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Let's hope that in our zeal to go expeditionary we convince the otherside to-do the same. If they don't it will be very interesting to see how we would respond. Then again how many people here still think that major unit engagements will still occur?

Tanks

Andy

Nobody thougth that war in Georgia would suddenldy(at least it didn't brew up in the stated 12+ month preparation time they plan with) happen. If some things like that happens, you will have huge unit engagements. With 90 tanks, the potential enemy (o.b.d.a. china) could be armed with wet-towels and still kick your ass.

In my book, a lot of this downscaling is like srcapping the fire-engines because it didn't burn for a longer time....

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...von Guttenberg

zu Guttenberg, wenn Du Dich schon als Adels-Freak outen willst. :debile2:

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Nobody thougth that war in Georgia would suddenldy happen.

Presume, Germany had had still 2,000 Leopard tanks at that time. Then what?

Would we have sent them to Georgia? Assuming that rail and ship transport through Turkey would have immediately started, we'd still been week too late to do anything ... unless we wanted to start a war with Russia about it.

I too think that 300 tanks was already on the low side, and 90 is certainly no better. But the question is valid what would need to happen that, of all countries, Germany was willing to send its Panzer fleet rolling. Where are the countries within our operational reach and strategic zone of interest where Leopard tanks could eventually be needed, and help to actually solve a conflict instead of making matters worse.

I certainly am no peacenik, but seriously: What do you want to do with 2,000 tanks that you couldn't do with 90? The limiting factors are strategic interest, operational mobility, and political willpower - not the number of tracked AFVs.

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There´s still the Baltics, Belorussia and the Ukraine-now if that talk about defending the alliance and its borders is true, then Germany as the main NATO power in that sector should at least have the capabilities for that. And if that means sending a Panzer brigade to Estonia because there is no other way and they need it, then the Estonians have every right to demand just that and Germany has to have the forces for those kinds of commitments. But hey, you always fight the next war with the (remnant) army you retain from the last one...*shrug*

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Only the Baltics are NATO territory, and again, there are two basic questions - will NATO as an alliance (and that includes all other European nations) be willing to protect them by force (Yes, I think so) and able to react in time (maybe). Would Russia be willing to start a war with NATO over the Baltic states?

And why should it be (only) Germany to defend them when we also have Poland in immediate vicinity, and France and the UK with about as many tanks as Germany has, in a similar distance to the theater. If the UK no longer has a serious tank force and doesn't draw criticism for it, then what's the fundamental difference with the case of Germany?

Maybe we should have a look at the alliance and its strategic posture as a whole, instead of focusing on a single member state. The truth is, there is no broad consensus in NATO about what the tasks of the alliance should be, aside from territorial self-defense. The member states have different motivations for and interests in their membership. Spain and Portugal are interested in other aspects from this alliance than, say, Poland, or Germany, or France, or the US. Or Turkey and Greece.

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As a staunch replublican, I take pride in being totally ignorant. From a legal point of view, there is no difference. There is no nobility as such in Germany since WW2 (that would go with legally elevated status), there are no longer titles. Unlike Austria we haven't stopped the use of titles however, but they are now part of the name.

Legally speaking, the difference between "von" and "zu" (and yes, we also have a "von und zu") is equivalent to the difference between "Miller" and "Smith".

Edited by Ssnake

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dont be talking trash about german buddies I like your st pauli girl and spaaten and some other weird named beer I don't remember but i also listen to the best heavy metal bands they come from germany!

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I grant you that, but no opposition or broad societal movement is in sight that would actually press the government to answer these questions. Therefore "bumbling through" is an attractive option - you can't gain voters in Germany by being outspoken "pro military", and nobody was ever voted out of office for downscaling the Bundeswehr. The last Chancellor who was an outspoken advocate of military strength incidentally was also the last one who served as an officer in WW2 - Helmut Schmidt - and we know how his own party treated him for that.

Three defense ministers since 1982 actually tried to raise the issue - Rühe, Struck, and Guttenberg - but none of them actually managed to get other people involved in the debate. So, you just try to make do with the budget that you have, and hope for the best.

To what extent is that "anti-military" view due to the German experience in the 1930s and 1940s? Or is it simply more of a guns or butter calculation?

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To what extent is that "anti-military" view due to the German experience in the 1930s and 1940s? Or is it simply more of a guns or butter calculation?

It seems to me that the problems with the Bundeswehr come from several aspects. The biggest issues are political and psychological, with economics taking a backseat to those. Germany is an economically strong country, one of the stronger in the EU, and has a lot of domestic arms development. Of note to us are KMW and H&K, amongst others.

The Prussian General Staff introduced the concept of total, people's war early on. Clausewitzean thinking is that you don't go to war for half measures or half reasons, when you go to war you commit your full strength and achieve a decisive victory at the earliest opportunity. Germany, beset by enemies on all sides or with their backs to potentially hostile nations, built up a strong military and used it successfully a number of times.

After the political cluster**** that was the end of the First World War, the door was left open for that radical retard Hitler to come in. We know how that ended. De-Nazification also incorporated a great deal of "de-Clausewitzification", where the Germans were humiliated repeatedly (reportedly, occupation forces only took a kinder look towards the Germans in the mid 1950s) and encouraged to think that they were not a warlike people and that starting wars would result in them losing wars. A Dutch friend of mine accurately characterized NATO as: "Keeping the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down." The realities of the Cold War meant that for there to be any chance of a non-nuclear confrontation the German Army had to be capable of territorial defence, and that with the depth of the FRG being as shallow as it was, it had to be very robust to conduct a forward defence.

The Bundeswehr was then perceived more as a "shield" than a "sword" of the country. When the Cold War ended, along with absorbing ridiculous debt and economic/infrastructure/environmental issues from German reunification, there was a perception that there's no need for a military any longer so massive cuts were begun. To justify this we have the "Well, who are we going to fight?" and total ignorance of the idea that we only fight unconventional wars now because we can unconditionally win conventional wars. The corollary is that as we weaken our conventional warfighting capability, we are more likely to be presented with conventional wars.

Alternative service was always an option, when compared to mandatory service in the Bundeswehr. Major defence restructuring has made the Bundeswehr less and less popular, and instead of switching to an all-volunteer force the Germans arguably dragged conscription along with the BW longer than they should have. This may be because alternative service is so popular: the social services that draw from the alternative service manpower base rely heavily on conscription. I see this as being separate, but to the German mind they may not be. Without military conscription, why conscript people to perform civilian alternative service? And so on.

Right now, almost every German I talk to who I have not met through my studies or through a military friend have been anti-war, anti-military, "tree-hugging pot-smokers." If I take them - and I don't hang around in hippie communes - as a representational sample of German society, the military is not particularly popular. Thoughts of strengthening the BW, and anything that smacks of Nazism (remember the "Further East than Granddad got" T-shirts with DAK emblems in RC North?) causes an almost conditioned "It's evil we need to get rid of it!" whiplash at many political levels.

Recently, with the economic recession, we're hit hard in the "gesicht" with the fact that militaries are expensive things to maintain. Especially as it becomes "necessary" to upgrade with all sorts of high technology inserts. I debate the necessity of those technologies, but that's an entirely different subject.

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(remember the "Further East than Granddad got" T-shirts with DAK emblems in RC North?)

I preferred the "Thou shall not steal" t-shirts. :wink:

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