Operational soldiers still have classes

armed forces

Hans-Joachim Reeb

To person

Dr. phil., born 1955; Lecturer at the Helmut Schmidt University. University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Postfach 70 08 22, 22008 Hamburg.
Email: [email protected]

The Bundeswehr has changed due to its foreign missions. This change must be understood in the constitutional foundations, in relation to society and in the level of troops.


The Bundeswehr has changed a lot as a result of deployments abroad. However, only a small number of the soldiers currently active can recognize the striking differences to the "old" Bundeswehr from their own experience. Less than 20 percent of them started their service before 1990. For the majority of military personnel, the "new" Bundeswehr has become a matter of course.

The decisive factor for the changes is the change in security policy over the past two decades. Military history has registered a transformation in the western armed forces since the mid-1990s, which aims to provide an answer to the challenges posed by the "new wars" (H. M√ľnkler). [1] However, no key document can be identified by which this paradigmatic change was initiated. In contrast to 1950, when the trend-setting "Himmeroder Memorandum" expressed the expectation that something "new was to be created", [2] since October 3, 1990, a rather insidious process has taken place in German military policy. Most of the missions abroad that have been carried out since then have resulted from unforeseeable crises and had to be decided and planned at short notice. In the meantime, scientific analyzes point to the various facets of the missions abroad. [3]

State institutions such as the Bundeswehr can be described according to their mandate and the modalities for fulfilling the mandate. For this purpose, the differentiation proposed for the Inner Leadership Concept in the aspects of legitimation (of military action) and integration (in state and society) on the one hand and organization and motivation (of the soldiers) on the other hand serves as a structuring pattern. [4] Along these four functional areas, the characteristics of an "army in action" are to be reconstructed and analyzed on the basis of the known facts and characteristics.