The German Peace Society calls on the German Government: Don't reactivate conscription

Source: DFG-VK website
Source: DFG-VK website

The German Peace Society - United Opponents of War (Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte Kriegsdienstgegner*innen, DFG-VK) protests against the reactivation of conscription advocated by some parts of the government. The peace organization announced that, in case of doubt, it will take legal action against conscription - and also reactivate its advisory service for conscientious objectors.

Minister of Defense Pistorius' statements on conscription 

The new Minister of Defense, Boris Pistorius (social-democrats, SPD), is causing unrest by recently calling the suspension of conscription a mistake. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (liberals, FDP), chairwoman of the defense committee in the German parliament, jumped in and expressed her support for reactivating conscription. The German association of reservist as well as other militarists and bellicists are also currently campaigning for the reactivation of conscription, which was suspended in 2011.

Conscription not in line with the times

In view of the current military policy debates, the DFG-VK feels that it has been taken back 70 years. "After young people had to suffer particularly large cuts in life during the Covid-19 pandemic, they should now, according to some politicians and militarists, also lose another year of life in conscription", says Michael Schulze von Glaßer, the political director of the DFG-VK.

Especially in times of shortage of skilled workers, this is nonsensical, says the political scientist. "Compulsory military service educates to immaturity and subordination, and does not fit a democracy and society in which free, tolerant and social people should live together." Schulze von Glaßer sees further problems: "Reactivating military service in Germany would be a fatal signal to other countries and would further fuel the rearmament spiral - if Germany makes its youth fit for warfare, other countries might also feel obliged to do so."

Legal hurdles

DFG-VK also sees legal hurdles. According to Article 12a of the German constitution, only men can currently be required to serve in the Bundeswehr. Such a form of unequal treatment would be difficult to convey to society today and would not be acceptable. An amendment to the constitution would therefore have to be voted on in the parliament - and the federal council would also have to approve it. The reactivation of conscription, which is often discussed, is also currently prohibited by the constitution.

DFG-VK opposes the reactivation of conscription

"If all else fails, we will exhaust all legal possibilities to save young people from conscription," said Shari Kohlmeyer, spokeswoman of the DFG-VK. "Since the reintroduction of conscription in 1956 until its suspension in 2011, our association has counselled hundreds of thousands of young men and accompanied them in their official recognition as conscientious objectors under Article 4.3 of the German constitution," Kohlmeyer states "We would immediately resume this successful counselling activity nationwide if conscription is to be reintroduced." In the eyes of the DFG-VK, any forced recruitment is a violation of human rights and an act of violence.

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