Contradictory images thrown together by a Google search
If the proposed legislation goes through, then from 1st July 2011 there should be no more youngsters from Germany called up to do their military service.
It means that the threat of another armed conflict is seen as less and less likely. It means that Germany is lowering its defences, actually and metaphorically. It means that my nephew and his classmates will not have their lives disrupted by a call-up.
That all seems to be good news. But not all the young people ended up as soldiers in the army. Some of them helped in the community. Any institution or person who benefited from the labour and company of those young people will probably feel the loss when it is withdrawn. The young people themselves may also be the poorer if they don´t spend a period of time learning to stand on their own feet. Some people think that a period of time spent away from home focusing on discipline, responsibility and service are a good thing, especially for youngsters who would not be going away from home to study.
Are discipline, responsibility and service outmoded concepts now? I get the feeling that discipline is being replaced by other concepts, like motivation or focus. It also seems to me that responsibility is being pushed aside by the other side of the coin, “rights”. What about service? Not sure about that one. A lot of people do talk about giving something back to the community once they get to a certain age, or a certain level of income. Many businesses have woken up to the fact that good service is essential to profits.
Before I get lost in the philosophy of the question, here are a few words of German which I have learned this week, in connection with this subject. They come from the magazine “Focus” which has named Guttenberg as their man of 2010.
Schlagwörter (n) means headlines (hit words)
Armee (f) is armed forces
Bundeswehr (n) – federal armed forces, presumably not applicable to unfederal Britain
CSU – the party of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the name behind this legislation
Pflicht (f) is task, duty or obligation and Wehr (n) can mean barrage or weir as well as defence.
Need more info? Try the magazine SPIEGEL (mirror), http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,706490,00.html
What do you think about compulsory service? Germany´s neighbours who share the same language, Austria and Switzerland, still have it.