Germany’s low levels of defense spending in the post–Cold War era reflect a commendable wariness toward using military force after the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany in World War II. However, as the state with the greatest wealth, population and political clout in the European Union, it will be expected to contribute more to European defense as Moscow presents a more aggressive posture in eastern Europe. Before Berlin can seriously expand its forces, it must build up spare parts and personnel so that it can actually bring majority of the ships, airplanes and armored fighting vehicles it already possesses into combat-ready condition.
Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring .
Image: A submarine at the German shipyard Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH in Kiel. Reuters/Fabian Bimmer.