Call to bring back conscription in Germany to fight extremism

Soldiers of the German army Bundeswehr wear face masks as they stand to attention at a mobile disinfectant production line on the premises of the Bundeswehr university in Neubiberg near Munich, Germany. EPA-EFE/PHILIPP GUELLAND

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Germany’s new parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces has urged the reintroduction of compulsory military service, saying far-right extremism was less likely to develop in an army of recruits than in a professional army.

In an interview with Funke Media Group published on Saturday, Eva Högl, a Social Democrat, said she considered it a “big mistake” that compulsory military service had been suspended in Germany in 2011.

It would do the army good if “a large part of society does its service for a while,” she told newspapers of the Funke Media Group. “That makes it difficult for far-right extremism to spread among the troops.”

In the interview, Högl said the problems in the Bundeswehr ranged from “far-right extremist comments to far-right extremist affiliations and activities.”

But she said that so far there were “no signs of an army existing within the army or an underground army.”

Högl’s remarks come after a slew of reports on far-right activities in Germany’s armed forces over the past year, most recently in the elite special forces unit KSK.


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