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Readers opine on the end of conscripted military service

The last batch of German army conscripts has reported for duty to the Bundeswehr. Readers tell us how they feel about the end of an era of military service.

A group of the last conscripted German youths heads off to train with the Bundeswehr

Bundes-where'd they go?

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Is it a good idea for Germany to abolish compulsory military service?

The following is a selection of reader responses from Facebook:

[I] hope each and every country abolishes the military service! -- Mahfuzur

Depends ... if it would be for the sake of peace, yes! But I guess it is to establish a paid army, private forces, so it is not bound anymore to inconvenient laws or regulations of the republic of Germany, especially in terms of our difficult past history. I have very mixed feelings about this development. -- Hildegard

This is very likely to influence the current debate in Austria for an end to conscription. But there has to be union representation for professional soldiers, or they will become more mercenary-like. I hope there is consultation with organizations like Euromil. -- Aniel

Then how will you defend yourself from all sorts of cultures who want to dominate the world for themselves with sticks? You've got to be kidding me. Europe, US and Australia all need very strong military forces, strong enough that those who want to take over abolish the idea, seeing the strength of defense forces. -- Monie

No. It's a great loss of a cohesive force in German society. Many of my friends in Germany know each other from their military service. Also they learned some cultural activities they undertake from military service: hiking, mountain climbing, camping and other outdoor pursuits. If only more nations had conscripts I believe they would have fewer problems integrating migrant communities, stronger cultural institutions and a more politically active citizenship. Germany struck the right balance, with military service for some and civil service for others and it is a shame to have it vanish. Germany will be poorer for it. -- Scott

It could be a loss in any community and any country. A professional army does not share the same feelings as an army of conscripts. This is not good for a country to abolish conscription. It leaves Europe with a population that will not be able to defend their homeland. -- Adrian

Absolutely controversial decision! Think once again, Germany - think! -- Paritosh

The US has not had conscription since Vietnam. I doubt anyone would deny that it has the ability to defend itself as a result. -- Major

I agree with some of you guys. A country like Germany or many others from Europe must have a force that can defend them from external and also possible internal attacks. I don't care if [they] are conscripts or professionals, if the number of them is the correct one. -- Alfredo

A draft or conscription has the potential to be an equalizing force in society. When I see the news about the young men and women of the US military fighting and dying or being injured right now, I see that they tend to be from the disadvantaged parts of society. Whatever one might believe about these military campaigns, mainly the poor or those who have limited choices are sacrificing for the decisions made by the powers that be. -- Brian

Bad idea. A military force should be made up of people of all colors and all incomes. You don't get that with an all-volunteer force. -- Tom

An all-volunteer force has worked well for the USA. Adequate pay and allowances - and patriotism - will provide adequate manpower for Germany, as has been the case in my country. -- Gerard

Compiled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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