Germany should reintroduce mandatory military service as part of a package of measures to combat the hard right, the youth wing of the country's Christian Democrats have said. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


Young Christian Democrats: Bring back military service in Germany to fight populist Right


Germany should reintroduce mandatory military service as part of a package of measures to combat the hard-right, said the youth wing of the country’s Christian Democrats.

The measure would address the growth of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) amongst young people, said Junge Union (JU), the youth organisation for both the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU).

The Christian Democrats must push a suite of measures aimed at securing the youth vote, JU chairman Johannes Winkel told local media outlets.

“This includes the debt brake, finally honesty when it comes to pensions, a turnaround in immigration and a strengthening of the economy,” he said.

Compulsory military service was another cornerstone of this push, added.

Building up the Bundeswehr has become an essential element of ensuring a prosperous future for Germany.

“We will gradually withdraw the suspension of compulsory military service and introduce compulsory military service for everyone,” said Winkel.

“The state must take comprehensive precautions in the event of a war breaking out against Germany or its allies.”

The JU chairman is not alone in pushing for the return of mandatory military service.

Numerous politicians within the CDU and CSU now also want to see the practice return. One Bundestag MP called for it to be applied to women for the first time.

“The [constitution] should be changed in such a way that compulsory military service applies not only to men, but also to women,” CDU military spokesman Markus Grübel said May 6.

The proposal is also being backed by Germany’s struggling arms industry, with the head of weapons manufacturer Rheinmetall endorsing the position over the weekend.

“Conscription could have a positive effect on the readiness for our national defence,” said Rheinmetall’s head Armin Papperger.

Others worry the proposal could further alienate younger voters at a time when they already seem to be drifting away from Germany’s more mainstream parties.

The hard right AfD are now the most popular party amongst Germans aged from 14- to 29, with the Christian Democrats coming a distant second, according to polling late last month.

Support for the party within this demographic is around 22 per cent, compared to 18 per cent among the general public, according to the latest INSA poll.

This appears to reflect a sudden lurch to the Right amongst Germany’s Generation Z.

Even some younger representatives within Germany’s centre-left and centre-right parties appear to harbour hard-right views on topics such as immigration.

The youth wing of the ruling Free Democratic Party (FDP) is also currently dealing with a scandal involving their Bavarian wing after several of its junior members reportedly chanted “Germany for Germans, foreigners out” after the party’s state congress in April.

Party representatives insist they have already expelled the members involved in the incident.

The phrase “foreigners out” — or “ausländer raus” in German — has grown in prominence amongst the country’s youth, with one video of young people chanting the slogan along to a song at a nightclub recently going viral online.

Police are now investigating what they describe as a suspected case of “incitement to hatred” in relation to the viral video.