1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany to introduce a Veterans' Day — report

April 20, 2024

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is supporting plans for an annual day of commemoration for former armed forces personnel. A German media outlet reported that the date has already been finalized.

Men and women of the Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces, take part in the military tattoo farewell ceremony for former Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in Berlin Germany, on December 15, 2021
Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, currently has more than 260,000 personnelImage: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Germany's governing and opposition parties have agreed to hold an annual Veterans' Day for ex-armed forces personnel, a German media outlet reported Saturday.

The RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) said the three coalition partners and the conservative opposition had agreed to the move and would send a draft motion to the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, shortly.

According to RND, June 15 will be declared German Veterans' Day.

The day was chosen as the veterans' badge was awarded for the first time on June 15 in 2019.

The parliamentary groups are also calling for an improvement in care for soldiers who are permanently injured during their military deployment.

Germany's armed forces set to get overhaul

Bundeswehr has 10 million veterans

Since the modern German military, the Bundeswehr, was founded in November 1955, over 10 million men and women have served in it, the motion states.

Many ex-soldiers have suffered serious physical or psychological injuries that continue to affect their lives and their loved ones long after they leave the armed forces.

The motion also includes rehabilitation measures, therapy and other services to meet the day-to-day care needs of injured persons and their relatives.

The draft also calls for compensation options and the creation of a Bundeswehr inpatient therapy facility, specifically for veterans.

The proposal was welcomed by Eva Högl, the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces.

Högl said it was important to express pride, gratitude and appreciation for Germany's ex-soldiers, especially the fallen and wounded.

"We need more of a veterans' culture in Germany," she told the Funke media group.

Poll shows many Germans see threat to peace in Europe

Veterans' Day idea discussed for years

The idea of a German Veterans' Day was first mooted by then-Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere more than a decade ago.

The plan was raised again by the conservatives at the end of last year, winning the support of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has spurred Germany to invest €100 billion ($107 billion) in the Bundeswehr, to help meet a NATO target that members spend 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense.

Earlier this month, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced plans to reform the military, saying Berlin wanted its soldiers "war ready."

mm/nm (EPD, AFP)

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.