Berlin (dpa) - Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) attuned the young soldiers to the challenges of a world that has become unstable. "Great tasks come to you," he says to the vowed in front of the Reichstag building recruits of the Parliamentary Army.
Never make it easy for the Bundestag to decide on an assignment. The world is globally networked and in disorder. Germany should not take off. Sometimes robust combat missions are needed. "Your decision is a bold promise, because you commit to fight in an emergency," says the CDU politician.
With solemn oaths in Berlin and five other cities, the Bundeswehr wanted on Tuesday set a sign for the anchoring of the armed forces in society. Also in Stralsund on the Old Market, in Rotenburg / Wümme on the horse market, in Mainz on the citadel, in Freyburg on the Schützenplatz as well as in Plön on the castle court oaths were on.
«Vows standing still», it sounds in Berlin across the square. Boots popping on the asphalt. The ceremony is military-solemn. More than 200 members of parliament, 20 ambassadors and ambassadors from other states and about 1200 members of recruits have come. The Republic Square in front of the Parliament building is cordoned off by police and military personnel - like a high-security zone. TV cameras are running.
The vow is thus in a sense semi-public. Uninvolved citizens have no direct access. In earlier years there were violent and violent protests in vows. A highlight was 1980, when it came in Bremen around the Weserstadion to bloody riots. There were injured, Bundeswehr vehicles were set on fire. The time of these protests seems long over.
After the suspension of compulsory military service, there is an estrangement between the armed forces and the citizens. For many people, the military seems alien. Even an opening for citizens of other states was discussed in the meantime. Does the concept of a "citizen in uniform" ever have to be questioned?
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Tuesday stressed the importance of the armed forces for a free society. "Our Bundeswehr is a parliamentary army and it will remain so, not only because the Bundestag decides on their combat missions, but above all because our Bundeswehr is an essential instrument of our defensive democracy," she says to the recruits. "The Bundeswehr defends Germany against external threats."
Zeitsoldaten swear on Tuesday, "the Federal Republic of Germany faithfully to serve and brave the right and the freedom of the German people to defend". Those who perform voluntary military service say instead of «I swear»: «I vow».
Criticism comes from the left. "The Bundeswehr's public pledges are part of a comprehensive campaign to militarize society," says defense politician Alexander Neu. "The aim of this campaign is to make the population again military measures as supposedly legitimate means of German foreign and foreign trade interests."
This contradicts the CDU defense politician Henning Otte: "The Bundeswehr is a central pillar of our security policy and a strong symbol of our democracy," he explains, calling public pledges as an important expression of this awareness.
§9 soldier's law, oath and solemn pledge
Bundeswehr on foundation day
Weser courier to riots 1980