Basic training in the Bundeswehr
© picture-alliance/ dpa/dpaweb
"Bundeswehr” is the name given to the German armed forces. The Bundeswehr was founded in 1955. According to the German constitution
, it can be used solely for defence purposes and not to attack. At first, only volunteers
were in the Bundeswehr, but in 1956 compulsory military service was introduced for men from the age of 18. The Bundeswehr ist divided into three parts. The soldiers belong to the army, for example, if they are tank drivers, to the air force if they are pilots, or the navy if they do their service on a ship.
Normally – that is, in peacetime -
the Defence Minister
is in command of the Bundeswehr. If Germany were to be attacked by an enemy, however, and the Bundeswehr had to fight to defend the country, the German Chancellor
would take command. But, fortunately, Germany has never been attacked during the time the Bundeswehr has existed. The Bundeswehr has however often helped during catastrophes like floods, and its soldiers have been sent by the UN or NATO on peace
missions to other countries.
Incidentally: the Bundeswehr used to accept only men. But since 2001 women have also been able to serve in all sections of the Bundeswehr.
Gerd Schneider / Christiane Toyka-Seid