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(Redirected from Military of Germany)

The Bundeswehr is the armed forces of Germany. It is a federal defense force with Army (Heer), Navy (Marine), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Medical Services (Zentraler Sanitätsdienst) and Streitkräftebasis branches. It employs some 290,000 soldiers, 75,300 of whom are 18-30-year-old men doing their duty in the military services for currently at least 9 months. In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is led by the minister of defense, currently Peter Struck (2004). If Germany is attacked, the chancellor becomes commander in chief of the Bundeswehr.

Military manpower
Military age 18 years of age
Availability males age 15-49: 20,863,020 (2000 est.)
Fit for military service males age 15-49: 17,800,862 (2000 est.)
Reaching military age annually males: 485,422 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures
Dollar figure $30.08 billion (FY04)
(EUR 24.06 billion)
Percent of GDP 1.5% (FY98)


The Bundeswehr was founded in 1955 succeding the Wehrmacht and the former Reichswehr - after some discussion about re-militarizing Germany (the Wiederbewaffnung) after World War II - by changing the German Grundgesetz (basic law, Germany's constitution). In 1955 Germany became a NATO member. In 1956 a military duty for all men between 18 and 45 in years was introduced, later on softened by the introduction of a civil alternative with longer duration.

After reunification in 1990, the Bundeswehr was effectively merged with the Nationale Volksarmee of the GDR, by the fact that the latter was dissolved.

In 1999, the NATO war on Yugoslavia was the first non-defensive war the Bundeswehr actively took part in.

In 2000 the European Court of Justice opened up the previously all-male (besides medical divisions and the music corps) Bundeswehr to women.


The Bundeswehr currently consists of about 280,000 soldiers, about one third of whom are conscripts. There are three corps; below them are 24 combat brigades. The I Corps is headquartered at Münster, II Corps is headquartered at Ulm, and IV Corps is headquartered at Potsdam. I Corps is German-Dutch, while II Corps is German-American. Additionally, Eurocorps is under the administrative command of II Corps.

The 5th Panzer Division is currently under the command of the US V Corps.


The role of the Bundeswehr is described in the Grundgesetz (Art. 87a) as defensive only. Today defense is seen as including not only defense at the borders of Germany, but also as crisis reaction and conflict prevention, or broadly as saving the security of Germany. This allows the Bundeswehr to take part in missions outside of the borders of Germany, as part of the NATO or mandated by the UN.

Currently there are Bundeswehr troops in Afghanistan (2,240; ISAF), Kosovo (3,320; KFOR), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1,290; SFOR), Republic of Macedonia, Georgia and as part of the EU-Congo mission "Artemis". As part of the "Enduring Freedom" mission, c. 750 soldiers patrol the Indian Ocean vis-ā-vis Somalia. Currently a UN-mandated peacekeeping mission in Iraq is debated.

See also: German Federal Coast Guard, Luftwaffe, German Navy, ceremonial oath of the Bundeswehr , Aganauten

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45