This week while reviewing the 1974 bbc World War ii series The World at War, I noticed a segment filmed during the immediate pre-war years featuring the Wehrmacht encouraging parents to introduce their children to military weaponry at a very young age. It was stated that this was part of the design of German propagandists to condition the young, and their parents, to a military mentality in preparation for placing the nation on a war footing.
Thus it was that I was intrigued by a report from German-Foreign-Policy.com stating that the Bundeswehr is currently engaged in efforts to “win over parents to send their children to the army. The online portal of the German Armed Forces writes that recruiting strategists are aiming their efforts more and more at even the personal friends of already active soldiers. The reason for this is the need of the German military to add to its ranks ‘dramatic young blood,’ a need which will be met with a package of extensive measures” (March 17; our translation).
The Bundeswehr already has several special initiatives set up within the German economy to aid in recruiting the young for a military career. One is the “Schaumburg model.” This recruiting approach uses private enterprise as the front end of recruitment. Within select industries, youths are employed in technical professions for an average of three years training. After graduating from the traineeship they are taken on by the Bundeswehr. Upon successful completion of basic military training their status is then adjusted to a higher grade than a regular soldier in the army.
As explained on the Bundeswehr portal, the “Schaumburger model” plans on educating the young through private enterprise in relevant technical military professions. Such a system is designed to secure for the German military increasing expertise and support from a cadre of professionally trained officers—“dramatic young blood.”
A prime incentive to parents of the young is that this scheme offers its graduates a secure professional future. After completion of an average three-year training period in a private commercial enterprise, the Bundeswehr offers the graduate a 12-year initial career in military service. Thus, the young men have the prospect of up to 15 years of solid job prospects as a military professional.
Within the 27-nation European Union, this system for the rapid development of a highly professional, technically astute military elite is unique to Germany. It is guaranteed to escalate the quality of Germany’s military force to the top of the pile within Europe—if not the world!