Germany and the Return of European Direct Defense: A New Special Report


“Germany’s challenge is to recognize that history and geography have not disappeared as key factors shaping Germany’s prosperity and security; and that Germany needs as well to focus upon re-energizing the European project as well. If Germany became a nation isolated in a disaggregating Europe, Germany itself might disintegrate as a political force.”

Dr. Andrew Dennison, the Director of Transatlantic Network highlighted the significant impact of the return of direct defense to Germany within a disaggregating European landscape.

And in an interview with Lt. General (Retired) Klaus-Peter Stieglitz, a former German Air Chief, the nature of the challenge to Germany was highlighted.

“The strategic environment has changed and requires Germany, a country in the heart of Europe with 80 million people to pay our fair share of the collective defense and to shape a force appropriate to the new situation.

“Obviously, the new defense effort requires more money.  This is starting to happen. But we are facing a significant rebuild given the state of readiness of the force and the need to repair the force.  Just doing the repair of the state of readiness will make the Bundeswehr a construction site for the next few years.”

“We are almost back to 1955 when we had to build a new Bundeswehr.  Our rebuild for the new strategic environment is as a significant as that but now comes after two decades of a peace dividend which has certainly not been spent on modernizing the Bundeswehr.”

“But money alone is not enough.

“We are talking about changing the culture and building a 21stcentury defense force which can play its role at the heart of Europe.  We are no longer talking about defense at the inner-German border; we are talking about reinforcing our new allies in Poland, the Baltics and elsewhere east and north of us who border directly onto Russia and wish to see NATO have a credible defense strategy and deterrence capability.  Germany needs to focus on this challenge and build an appropriate force.”

We have published a second version of our new Special Report which focuses on the direct defense challenge to Germany and to discuss some ways ahead.

The report is based on recent interviews in Germany with senior retired Bundeswehr officers as well as strategists and journalists.

The report can be downloaded here:

The Return of Direct Defense in Europe: The Challenges for Germany