In 2011, several major structural changes to the German defense began; inter alia the military service was replaced by a voluntary basic education. The changes in the German defense are the largest since 1990, when Germany reunited and two defense forces became one.
In 1989, the largest concentration of combat forces in the world was in the two German states. During the period 1955–89, West Germany’s (BRD) defense force was integrated into NATO and East Germany’s (GDR) into the Warsaw Pact. The GDR’s defense, the National People’s Army (NVA), consisted of a standing force of 170,000 men, with a total mobilization of 390,000 men. In addition, there were 40,000 men in border protection troops and a militia of 500,000 men.
The Soviet Army had 400,000 men with its most modern defense equipment stationed in the GDR. West Germany’s defense consisted of a standing force of 470,000 men, including 200,000 conscripts, totaling 1,350,000 in mobilization. The border protection troops included 20,000 men. NATO had 400,000 men (mainly American but also major British, French, Dutch and Belgian allies) stationed in the BRD for an advanced defense against the Warsaw Pact.
The defense of the United Germany has been based since 1990 on continued membership in NATO. In the 1990 agreement between the four victorious forces in World War II and the two German states, the new joint German defense force was limited in 1994 to a maximum of 370,000 men standing, of which 60,000 in the eastern part. The Soviet Union/Russian Federation pledged to leave Germany by 1994. No NATO allies would be stationed in eastern Germany. Under the CFE Agreement 1990 (revised 1996), Germany’s military force is limited to a maximum of 345,000 men.
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A discussion was held in 2003 within the EU on a common European defense and security policy in the formulation of the new EU constitution. Germany, France and others States stated in the same year that the transatlantic ties are of strategic importance to NATO and thus to Europe’s defense. Today (2011), greater coordination of NATO’s defense efforts is partly at the expense of national versatility. Examples include common procurement of materials, coordinated training and the distribution of defense tasks between Member States. The issue of a common European defense is still open in 2011.
The developments in Afghanistan and the conclusions of the conflict between the Russian Federation and Georgia (2008) have raised the question of the balance between traditional, territorial defense and non-territorial interventions, e.g. in Afghanistan, at its peak. Germany’s four-year defense plan from 2009 with the priority of strategic means of transport, strategic intelligence gathering ability, management system and strategic air defense will be seen in this context.
As noted by Digopaul, Germany participates in all NATO activities in Germany and is a member of the European Corps (Strasbourg), the German-Dutch Corps (Münster) and the North-East Corps (Szczecin). Management bodies and all-round allied resources are coordinated. Of the NATO states, the United States has 53,000 men in Germany, of whom the army has 38,000 and the Air Force 17,000 men. The UK has 18,000 men in Germany, mainly army, France has 2,800 men and Canada has 270 men. Germany has staff in France and Poland as well as educational resources in the USA.
Germany’s defense amounted to 251,000 men in 2011 and the reserves to 40,000 men. In connection with the cessation of military service on 1 July 2011, an initial reduction of 40,000 men was implemented.
The combat forces are organized in an army of 105,000 men with 5 division staffs and 12 brigades, one of which is an airborne and one for air landing, and has 768 tanks and 190 combat helicopters. The navy comprises 19,000 men with 4 submarines, 20 fighters/frigates, 10 patrol boats and a naval aircraft with sea surveillance tasks.
The Air Force comprises 44,500 men with approximately 310 fighter aircraft and a well-developed air defense with the Patriot and Roland robots. The equipment is modern by NATO standard. Defense costs decreased in 1985–2009 from 3.2% to 1.4% of GDP.
Germany participates in a number of UN peacekeeping efforts. Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR), Serbia and Montenegro (KFOR), Afghanistan (ISAF), Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Uzbekistan (ISAF). It also participates with maritime forces in the international operation in the waters outside the Horn of Africa (EUNAVFOR).
Germany is a member of NATO. General military duty was abolished with effect from 1 July 2011. The total force for Germany’s armed forces is 179,400 active personnel, with a reserve of 28,250 personnel (2018, IISS).
Of foreign forces stationed in Germany, France had 2,000 personnel, the United Kingdom 3750 personnel and the United States 37,950 personnel.
The army has a personnel force of 61,700 active personnel, and a reserve of 6500 personnel. Heavier materials include 236 tanks of a Leopard 2, 578 armored vehicles, and 1,246 armored personnel. In addition, 185 helicopters, including 67 combat helicopters of the EC665 Tiger type, and 128 light and medium- heavy drones.
The Air Force has a workforce of 27,600 active personnel, and a reserve of 1,200 personnel. Materials include 129 fighters central Eurofighter Typhoon, 68 fighter of a Tornado IDS, 20 match and EK aircraft (Tornado ECR), four tanker category A310 met, 53 transport aircraft, 109 trainers, 88 helicopters and eight heavy drones.
The Navy has a workforce of 15,900 active personnel, and a reserve of 3300 personnel. The fleet includes six tactical submarines, seven fighters, seven frigates, eight patrol vessels, 24 minesweepers, one landings vessel and 22 logistics and auxiliary vessels. In addition, eight Orion patrol and anti-submarine aircraft, two light transport aircraft, 22 Lynx anti-submarine helicopters and 21 Sea King rescue helicopters.
In 2018, Germany participated in NATO operations in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 130 personnel, in Estonia (Baltic Air Policing) with six fighter jets, in the Mediterranean (SNMG2) with a frigate and in Serbia (KFOR) with a personnel force of 440.
In addition, Germany participated in UN operations in Libya (UNISMIL) with two observers, Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 144 personnel and a frigate, in Mali (MINUSMA) with 430 personnel, in Sudan (UNAMID) with seven personnel, in South Sudan (UNMISS) with three personnel and 11 observers, and in Western Sahara (MINURSO) with three observers.
In addition, Germany had 300 personnel and four fighter jets in Jordan (Operation Inherent Resolve), and two transport aircraft in Niger (Barkhane).
Berlin – (History – from 1945 onwards)
Berlin was conquered by the Soviet Union in the Battle of Berlin from 16 April to 2 May 1945, and symbolically hoisted the red flag on the Brandenburg Gate. More than half of the city was destroyed and the population fell to less than 3 million.
The Allied Powers had agreed in London in October 1944 that Berlin should be divided into three, later four sectors and kept occupied. This was confirmed by the Four Powers Agreement on June 5, 1945, after which the United States, Britain, and France moved into the three western sectors, while Soviet troops withdrew to the eastern sector. In the autumn of 1945, agreements were reached on access roads and on three air corridors between Berlin and the zones in West Germany.
The Allied “High Command”, established on July 11, 1945, based in Zehlendorf in the American sector, consisted of the commanders of the four allied powers and became the supreme governing body of Berlin. The commando ceased to function in June 1948, when the Russians withdrew.
Thereafter, the community was in fact limited to guarding the imprisoned Nazi war criminals in the Spandau Prison, which ended with the death of Rudolf Hess in 1987. But the notion of Berlin as a shared responsibility was maintained and gave citizens and military from the four allied states the right to move anywhere. On August 13, 1946, the Allied Commandant issued a preliminary constitution for Greater Berlin, and elections were held on October 20, 1946; O. Ostrowski of the SPD was elected mayor.
During the Berlin Blockade of June 1948, Berlin’s political division was completed, so that the city was administratively divided into two. In November 1948, a magistrate constituted himself in East Berlin, which with the communist Friedrich Ebert as Lord Mayor ruled from the old town hall. The magistrate was recognized by the Soviet Union, thus preventing a common election throughout Berlin.
In December 1948, the Social Democrat Ernst Reuter became Lord Mayor of West Berlin and took his seat at Schöneberg City Hall. In 1948, a new university in West Berlin, the Freie Universität Berlin, was founded, which in the 1960’s became one of the centers of the international youth uprising.
Berlin formally remained under Allied rule after the two German states were established in 1949.
West Berlin with over 2.1 million. inhabitants had a complicated constitutional position after World War II. It got its own constitution in 1950, but was under West Allied rule, which limited West German law. The city was not allowed to rule from Bonn, the West German constitution only applied with restrictions, and the West Berlin MPs did not have the right to vote in the Bundestag. Nevertheless, West Berlin was part of the West German legal, economic, monetary and social order and, after West Allied acceptance, part of the EC.
West Berlin benefited from certain favors. They were exempted from military service, received wage and rent subsidies, and the city was heavily financially supported. West Berlin developed industrially and economically and became a “showcase” to the east.
Until 1975, the SPD was the largest party; then it became the CDU, and in 1981 the first mayor of the CDU was elected.
East Berlin with 1.1 million. inhabitants became East Berlin 1949 the capital of the GDR, which, however, was not recognized by the Western powers. On the other hand, it became so by the Soviet Union, subject to the obligations arising from the international agreements concluded on Germany as a whole.
East Berlin was ruled by an SED-led unit magistrate in 1954-67. The GDR and the Soviet Union sought to free East Berlin from its four-power status. In 1981, direct elections to the House of Representatives were held for the first time.
East Berlin was gradually expanded into the political, administrative and ideological-cultural center of the GDR; the city was the seat of government and parliament and was the corresponding architectural and economic “showcase” to the west.
Berlin remained with its location in the middle of the GDR focal point during the Cold War, but also an escape route for many of the approx. 3 mio. East Germans fleeing as the sector border between East and West remained open. The situation was critical on June 17, 1953, when Soviet troops crushed an East German uprising (the June Uprising), and again in 1958, when the Soviet Union demanded the Western powers out of the city.
A new crisis arose in August 1961, when the GDR closed the sector border with the Berlin Wall.
Thereafter, West Berlin was surrounded by a more than 150 km long wall that isolated the city, but also forced agreements between East and West to facilitate West Berliners’ visits to East Berlin.
The first passport agreement was signed in 1963 and gave West Berliners limited access to East Berlin at Christmas. It was followed by similar agreements. In the early 1970’s, four- party negotiations led to the Berlin Agreement, which established the status quo, secured West Berlin’s position, and facilitated relations between West and East.
The wall fell on November 9, 1989, and the Allied regime ended on September 12, 1990, after which the Allied occupying forces left Berlin; the last in 1994.
The fall of the wall gave free access between the two separate districts, and in 1990 they were merged. Berlin became an independent state, which after the December 1990 elections was ruled by a coalition of the CDU and the SPD.
With reunification, Berlin again became the capital of Germany, and the Bundestag decided in June 1991 that Berlin should once again be the seat of government, and significant parts of the Federal Republic’s central administration be transferred from Bonn. In 1999, the German Bundestag held its first meeting in the rebuilt Reichstag building.
On 1 January 2001, a management reform entered into force, which led to a restructuring of Berlin’s administrative structure. The existing 23 Stadtbezirke (municipalities) were replaced by 12 equal districts in terms of population.
After the reunification and transfer of government functions to the city, Berlin has not achieved the expected progress. The population is (2005) stagnant and the city has gotten into serious economic-financial difficulties.
They were the main explanation for the breakdown of the ruling coalition between the CDU and the SPD. In the summer of 2001, the SPD withdrew from cooperation with the CDU in the state government, and a majority with Die Grünen and PDS elected Klaus Wowereit (b. 1953) (SPD) as the new head of government.
In the autumn of 2001, untimely elections were called for the city parliament, the Abgeordnetenhaus, and the result of the election was a victory for the SPD, progress for the PDS and a major decline for the CDU.
After long negotiations, a new senate consisting of SPD and PDS could be formed at the end of the year with Klaus Wowereit as head of government. Incidentally, the election revealed that Berlin was still politically divided, with almost half of East Berlin voters voting for the PDS.