Why do some people dislike the military

Lack of recognition: The Bundeswehr, Germany's unloved army

Now they are needed again. As a sandbag carrier, rescuer, defender of possessions, tackle, and emergency reserve. 100 liters of rain in 48 hours, all the dikes are shaking. Land under between Passau and Lauenburg. Disaster alert, dirty work. Hope, fear and have a go at it.

So: Bring the troops, crisis deployment in Passau, Regensburg, Dresden, Pirna, Bitterfeld, Magdeburg, Hitzacker, Lauenburg again, even the Chancellor is extremely grateful. Soldiers have been welcomed pretty much everywhere over the past week. Cleaning up in Deggendorf, dam break in Hohenwarthe, dike heightening in Mühlberg - the army is always there where the others can no longer cope with their fate.

But when it's all over, when the brown broth has run out and the last washed-up tree trunk has been pulled from the pasture with heavy equipment; so when they can resign with their sweaty uniforms, then many pretend that the Bundeswehr no longer exists. Former Federal President Horst Köhler assumed a “friendly disinterest” in dealing with their army and demanded more “attention, solidarity and gratitude for our soldiers”. That was in 2008.

Recognition? Not a trace

Five years later, little has changed in this description of the situation. At least that's how many soldiers see it, officers whom you speak to and ask how they feel in their new Federal Armed Forces Republic of Germany. In a country where there is no longer any conscription and fewer and fewer barracks. In which the ways become long to the next crisis operation. A country in which one no longer meets tired hunts of young “red arrows” on the last train to somewhere on Sunday evening.

Overall, one is treated a little friendlier than in the days of the old Federal Republic, says an officer of the "Welt am Sonntag". Back then, before 1990, he was alone in his class with the decision to join the armed forces and against community service. Such concentrated rejection is no longer encountered these days. But real interest in the work of the army? Respect, recognition, maybe even a real solidarity with the army, as he experienced during his stays in England or the USA? Not a trace. "You cannot at all compare what you experience there with our conditions."

Our circumstances. The conscription army, with which almost everyone was connected directly or indirectly, through friends, clubs, the barracks next door, be it just through refusal or written contact with a bureaucratic monster called the district military replacement office, has become a volunteer army that has more and more and withdraws more from the surface; which is no longer present in many areas, especially not in the big cities. In Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne these days you hardly ever meet a person in uniform, unless it is November and a few scattered people in berets are gathering at the market for war grave care. The Bundeswehr wanted and should be an army “in the middle of society”. Instead, it is more and more common to find them on their farthest edge. A pretty hidden group.

Some wish the armed forces to hell