The World from Berlin: 'End of an Era' as Germany Suspends Conscription

Spiegel Online
Jan. 28, 2011

The German army received its last round of conscripts on Monday ahead of the official suspension of the draft later this year. German commentators have reacted to the end of a tradition with mixed feelings. Some miss the camaraderie of the barracks, while others argue the reforms are long overdue.

For more than 12,000 young men in Germany, Jan. 3, 2011, was a special day in their lives, though maybe not for reasons they would have chosen. It was their first day of compulsory service in the Bundeswehr, or German armed forces.

It was also a historic moment for Germany, as those men are the last conscripts the German army is likely to see for a long time. After more than 50 years the Bundeswehr will suspend compulsory service this July 1. Monday's round of draftees are the last post-war Germans to perform obligatory military service, which now lasts six months. The next intake, in March, will feature only volunteers.

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