Against the background of the Ukraine war, more new soldiers took up service in the Bundeswehr in 2022 than in the previous year. The number of recruits rose by around 12 percent to 18,775 in the year of the Russian attack on Ukraine. This was announced by the Federal Ministry of Defense at the request of the German Press Agency. However, the pre-corona level has not yet been reached: In 2019, 20,170 men and women had started service in the Bundeswehr.
Last year's recruits included 9,171 temporary soldiers, 8,623 volunteers doing military service and 981 volunteers doing military service in Homeland Security. At 17 percent, the proportion of women was slightly above the pre-Corona level (15 percent) - as was the proportion of minors, which increased from 8.5 percent in 2019 to 9.4 percent. Compared to the previous year, the number of women and minors who joined the Bundeswehr increased.
The Ministry of Defense emphasized that under 18-year-olds do not perform any service "that could require independent use of the weapon".
In addition, the Bundeswehr ensures that only 17-year-olds are hired who have dealt with the requirements of the military profession in detail and are suitable for it. The settings would thus be fully in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed in the federal coalition agreement that training and service with weapons should be reserved for adult soldiers. The Ministry announced that the implementation of this project is currently being prepared.
Compulsory military service was suspended in 2011 after 55 years. Shortly after taking office, Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) described the suspension of compulsory military service as a mistake that could not be corrected in the blink of an eye. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) rejected a debate about a return to conscription in February.
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