Germany Calling: Germans in Favour of Military Service

In 2011, the mandatory military service was discontinued in Germany. However, a recent survey shows 61% of Germans desire its reinstatement. Surprisingly, more than one-third advocate for its application to both men and women.

The Statistical Facts

A recent survey conducted by the Paris-based multinational market research and consulting company Ipsos MORI group revealed that the majority of eligible German voters (aged between 18 and 75) desire the reinstatement of compulsory military service.

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The poll surveyed 1,000 individuals nationwide and showed that 61% of respondents favoured reintroducing mandatory service.

Of those favouring compulsory service, 43% believed it should apply to both genders. On the other hand, 18% stated that it should only apply to men, as it did under the old law. Indeed, the sentiment can not be overlooked. Many believe the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine in Europe has contributed to this shift.

The German Army provides troops for both NATO and the UN. Here German soldiers are seen in Somalia in 1993

Earlier this year, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius added to the debate when he stated that he believed the decision to suspend mandatory military service was a mistake.

According to the polls, older Germans who are no longer eligible for military service were more likely to support the idea of reinstating compulsory service. Nevertheless, young Germans, who could still be called up, disagree with the idea.

Compulsory Service for Both Genders?

In the 60-75 age group, 47% of respondents supported the reintroduction for all, with an additional 18% stating that it should only apply to men. Among those aged 18-39, 39% supported reintroduction for all, while 21% supported it for men only.

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Notably, no age group had more than one-third of respondents expressing strong opposition to the idea. Seeing this is somewhat surprising, given Germany’s pacifist stance since World War II.

Furthermore, the survey showed that men were more likely to support the idea of equal military service for both genders. As many as 49% of male respondents were in favour, while only 36% of female respondents shared this view.

Demands for a Stronger Military Post-Russian-Ukrainian War

It should be noted that Germany did not abolish its military service rules entirely in 2011. Instead, they were put on hold indefinitely until a national emergency or an attack on Germany occurred.

During the time when the law was in effect, there were alternative options to military service. For young men who did not wish to serve in the military, these included work experience at civic institutions like schools or churches.

National Service
German soldiers in Afghanistan in 2009. Will national servicemen, and women, be filling the ranks?

The issue of enhancing Germany’s military has been a recurrent topic since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Indeed, it is deemed a significant security threat by Western leaders both in Europe and globally.

Following the invasion, the German government created a special one-time fund of €100 billion aimed at upgrading the military over several years.

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Since then, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has emphasized the importance of enhancing Germany’s armed forces. Furthermore, in light of what he refers to as a turning point (or Zeitenwende) in European history, he talked about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Scholz has remained active in this domain, making several speeches and statements to pursue the cause.

Ipsos MORI

“Ultimately, success comes down to a simple truth: ‘You act better when you are sure,'” says Didier Truchot, Founder of Ipsos MORI.

Ipsos MORI is a market research company that works to provide reliable information. According to the company, its goal is to help people make confident decisions in a rapidly changing world.

The company resulted from a merger between Ipsos UK and MORI in October 2005. The company is known to use computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), face-to-face (CAPI), and Internet surveys to gather its data.

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Like any big company, Ipsos MORI is not without controversy. In May 2013, The Sunday Times reported that the company had struck a deal with the EE mobile phone network to commercialise their data. The company had plans to sell the newly acquired data to The Metropolitan Police and other parties.

When confronted, The Metropolitan Police refused to comment. However, Ipsos MORI defended their actions by saying that they only received anonymous data, which made it impossible for them to identify the users.