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Germany Is Unable to Fulfill Trump’s Requirements on Defense – Die Zeit

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According to the Die Zeit newspaper, Germany currently has the smallest army in its history.

Germany Is Unable to Fulfill Trump's Requirements on Defense - Die Zeit

Photo: Getty Images / C. Koall

Germany has the smallest army in its history and seems not to be ready to carry out tasks to protect its borders, as well as NATO’s borders, the Die Zeit newspaper reported.

According to the article’s author, US President Donald Trump actively calls on Germany to discuss the issue of increasing the defense budget and allows himself to voice “false” allegations, according which Berlin owes NATO.

“This is obvious stupidity, but there is a grain of truth in these discussions: during the past 25 years, since the end of the Cold War, the Bundeswehr has been implementing a large-scale disarmament program. And it seems that now it is hardly able to fulfill the main task – to protect the country and, as a consequence, the military alliance in case of an emergency,” the newspaper states.

During the Cold War, the Bundeswehr consisted of 500,000 soldiers. Now, its strength is about 176,000. As the author noted, this is the smallest army in the history of Germany.

The number of military hardware also fell sharply against the background of the acute economy regime. During the Cold War, there were 3,000 of combat tanks, now there are only 225 pieces. According to the newspaper, this is not enough even for a small army. The situation with other military hardware is similar.

The problems are not only about the country’s land forces – the Air Force and the Navy lacks aircraft, ships, as well as helicopters, whose operation is very expensive.

As Die Zeit noted, after the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis and the annexation of Crimea to Russia, the situation began to change. However, no one expects large-scale changes. For example, the Bundeswehr’s plans include increasing of the number of tanks from 225 to 320 pieces, but this is still far from the Cold War’s indicators.

The newspaper cited the situation in Lithuania near the Russian border as an example. The Bundeswehr leads the local NATO forces, which strive to show that they are ready to support the allies against the “powerful neighbor.”

“However, this is just a political demonstration,” the article’s author states. So, the troops have only 20 Marder combat vehicles that were put into operation in the 70’s. When crews of various infantry fighting vehicles talk to each other during the exercises, they can be heard by “practically everyone,” as their radio instruments are not equipped with encryption devices.

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