The Return of Direct Defense in Europe: The German Case

By Second Line of Defense

“Germany’s challenge is to recognize that history and geography have not disappeared as key factors shaping Germany’s prosperity and security; and that Germany needs as well to focus upon re-energizing the European project as well. If Germany became a nation isolated in a disaggregating Europe, Germany itself might disintegrate as a political force.”

Dr. Andrew Dennison, the Director of Transatlantic Network highlighted the significant impact of the return of direct defense to Germany within a disaggregating European landscape.

And in an interview with Lt. General (Retired) Klaus-Peter Stieglitz, a former German Air Chief, the nature of the challenge to Germany was highlighted.

“The strategic environment has changed and requires Germany, a country in the heart of Europe with 80 million people to pay our fair share of the collective defense and to shape a force appropriate to the new situation.

“Obviously, the new defense effort requires more money.  This is starting to happen. But we are facing a significant rebuild given the state of readiness of the force and the need to repair the force.  Just doing the repair of the state of readiness will make the Bundeswehr a construction site for the next few years.”

“We are almost back to 1955 when we had to build a new Bundeswehr.  Our rebuild for the new strategic environment is as a significant as that but now comes after two decades of a peace dividend which has certainly not been spent on modernizing the Bundeswehr.”

“But money alone is not enough.

“We are talking about changing the culture and building a 21stcentury defense force which can play its role at the heart of Europe.  We are no longer talking about defense at the inner-German border; we are talking about reinforcing our new allies in Poland, the Baltics and elsewhere east and north of us who border directly onto Russia and wish to see NATO have a credible defense strategy and deterrence capability.  Germany needs to focus on this challenge and build an appropriate force.”

For an ebook version of the report, see below:

Download Report

Enter your name and email below to download the report directly.