German militarist propaganda aimed at children

This video from the USA about nazi Germany says about itself:

PRE-MILITARY INSTRUCTION OF HITLER YOUTHNational Archives and Records Administration – ARC 43680, LI 242-MID-2106 – DVD Copied by Nick Stoller.

Series: Motion Picture Films From G-2 Army Military Intelligence Division, compiled 1918 – ca. 1947. PROMOTIONAL DOCUMENTARY: Animates the contents of the official war book, The Bridge With The Red Tower, as a method for Hitler Youth pre-military training. Shows the German army capturing towns and advancing against Allied forces, dive bombers, burning towns and marching troops. Emphasis is on the invaluable role of the library in pre-military training of German youth.

By Franzi Vier in Germany:

German army targets youth with war propaganda
29 June 2015

When were these images last seen in Germany? Children clamber on tanks, sit in military helicopters, hold anti-tank weapons in their hand and receive orders from soldiers in uniform about their functions. The army and military equipment are shown as a seemingly acceptable part of free time and family excursions.

These images come from Germany’s armed forces day, the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the Bundeswehr on June 13. “Believe it or not, it was 60 years waiting for this day,” states the Bundeswehr’s official homepage. But now it was finally here: “German armed forces day is being celebrated for the first time at 15 locations nationwide.”

The weapons displays, combat and tank manoeuvres, simulations of helicopter operations and personal discussions with soldiers, combined with entertainment activities aimed at children and families, were a spectacle orchestrated as a key part of the foreign policy shift announced by the German government early last year.

Already in 2012, in a speech at the German army’s leadership academy in Hamburg, President Joachim Gauck called for a stronger role in society for the army and more public debate involving the military. “Generals, officers, soldiers—back to the heart of our society!” he proclaimed to his audience.

German armed forces day is only the latest highpoint in an intensive and comprehensive strategy by the army to recruit young people to serve in the military. Gauck’s demand for the merging of civilian and military life recalls the darkest period of German history. Through the militarisation of society, the population is to be conditioned to accept war and violence as normal, and prepared for new wars.

The German army’s plans have confronted widespread opposition among the population. Due to the crimes of German imperialism in two world wars, anti-war sentiment is powerful. As has been the case in the past, the German army has failed to achieve its target of 15,000 to 20,000 new recruits annually.

The army has therefore been investing increasing sums of money to secure new trainees since 2011. While in 2009 only €3.8 million was spent on this, annual spending is now €29.9 million. This is increasing, with €35.3 million in spending planned for 2015.

A central role in the recruitment activities is being played by so-called youth officers and careers advisers, who seek to spread among young people the German army’s goal, pronounced by defence minister Ursula Von der Leyen, to become “one of the most attractive employers in Germany.” German armed forces day, which is to take place annually, is part of a comprehensive recruiting strategy at schools, job fairs and on the Internet.

Youth officers and career advisers, who are specially trained to work among young people, appear at training courses and in front of school classes across the country. They also organise troop visits. According to the children’s support organisation Terre des hommes, between 300,000 and 400,000 pupils are reached annually through this work. In this way, the army influences teaching content at schools. This is taking place “currently throughout the entire federal republic,” stated education journalist Armin Himmelrath in a radio interview with SWR in April.

Appearances by youth officers and career advisers are part of the compulsory curriculum. Pupils are only permitted to leave the military speeches if parents have previously submitted a written request for alternative lessons. However, soldiers often show up unannounced, making this option impossible.

Officers appear at schools as alleged objective experts in foreign and security policy, mainly speaking on foreign interventions and the threat of international terrorism. They not only seek to convince the youth of the correctness of military interventions around the globe, but also of the lack of any alternative.

Along with its immediate presence in classes, the German army is also developing its own propaganda material for lessons. An example of this is the education magazine Frieden und Sicherheit (Peace and Security). The latest edition has the character of a summary of the foreign policy shift of the past year.

The editorial accuses Russia of threatening “the sovereignty of Ukraine” and striving “to revive a ‘new Russia’.” The European Union (EU) and NATO therefore faced “new challenges in their relations with Russia.” Further challenges are identified such as the Syrian civil war against dictator Bashar Al-Assad, the Islamic State, and unstable states in general, which are confronted “with the radicalisation of people, civil wars, and migration movements.”

The entire magazine attempts to create the impression that Germany has no other option but to respond to the challenges of the 21st century with a major rearmament programme and militarisation abroad and at home. Under the headline “Army in transformation,” Gauck’s notorious speech before the German army is cited. The section “Bundeswehr and society” defines the army’s tasks as, among other things, global interventions and “a contribution to domestic protection … in internal emergency situations.”

The didactic and methodical suggestions contained in the guide for teachers accompanying the magazine confirm what is involved. Under “competencies and learning outcomes” it states: “identify possible actions with reference to peace and security for oneself and in connection with state, civil society and international organisations, as well as to reflect on and develop strategic concepts backed up by arguments for this.”

In other words, pupils are to be made strategists for German imperialism and, in the best cases, consider the “possibilities for action” for the Bundeswehr. To achieve this goal, the German army is constantly expanding its campaigns and collaborating with radio stations, television broadcasters and newspapers. The military even sponsors school buses so that it can print advertising on their timetables.

On its YouTube channel, with the programmatic slogan “We. Serve. Germany,” the German army publishes advertising for out-of-school sporting activities along with militarist war videos. Since 2012, it has been advertising on the youth magazine Bravo ’s web site for its army adventure camps with colourful images and flowery text. The activities are directed at “girls and boys aged 16 and 17 with German citizenship.” The German army covers all costs.

In order to integrate itself into the daily lives of young people, the army has uploaded posters for young people’s bedrooms, desktop backgrounds with weapons and tanks, or school timetable planners with Eurofighter logos on its youth web site ready for download.

The increased attempts to subordinate schools to the interests of German militarism and win new recruits for the army have met with mounting opposition from pupils, parents and teachers.

On the Internet and in local communities, a number of initiatives have emerged protesting the militarisation of schools. In one prominent example, the Robert Blum gymnasium in Berlin took the decision at a school meeting in 2011 to ban any activities by the military.

On the other hand, there are schools where critical students have already been punished for protesting against the appearance of the military at their school and posing difficult questions. In February, a pupil at a school in Bamberg received a sharply worded warning for posing a question on the Kundus massacre in a career planning seminar in which the Bundeswehr participated as an employer, and later demonstrated with friends against the army’s presence during a break.

The warning was issued based explicitly on political grounds and contained the following threat: “To graduate successfully, he (the pupil) must be careful in the future to avoid making statements expressing his extremist political opinions.”

Regardless of the fact that the school administration withdrew the warning after public protest, the incident is particularly disturbing. Seventy years after the end of World War II and 60 years after the founding of the German army, a pupil speaking out against the return of German militarism has been branded an extremist and threatened with reprisals.

‘The British Armed Forces need to stop targeting and recruiting children’: here.

Germany is to expand its military intervention in the Mediterranean Sea. The cabinet made the decision at a meeting on Wednesday. It signifies a massive escalation of the military operation and is in pursuit of several goals: the blocking of the influx of refugees, the strengthening of fortress Europe and the preparation for military interventions in North Africa: here.

German court clears the way for military deployments without parliamentary approval: here.

The German defence ministry is preparing a massive Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) combat mission in Mali, which is torn by civil war. This would be the most dangerous deployment of German troops since Afghanistan, where 56 German soldiers have been killed so far: here.

“The citadel of militarism” is how Bertha von Suttner, the well-known anti-militarist, described Berlin in the time of the German Empire before the outbreak of the First World War. Tourists and Berlin residents who found themselves near the Reichstag (German parliament) building Wednesday evening, would have gotten the impression that the German elite is, despite its crimes in two world wars, once again courting this “title”: here.

German government sends more troops to Mali and northern Iraq: here.

In the course of 2015, Germany had made significant strides in its return to great power politics and the rebuilding of its military. The German army is taking part in risky military provocations against Russia, undertaking new military deployments in Afghanistan and Mali, and is now also taking part in the war in Syria: here.

In recent weeks, leading figures in the German government, including Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (both of the Christian Democratic Union, CDU) have held out the prospect of a major increase to the country’s defence budget. Now the minister of defence, Ursula von der Leyen (also CDU) has provided additional details of these plans. Germany will commit at least €130 billion in additional military spending by the year 2030: here.

The return of German militarism is assuming ever greater dimensions. Last Wednesday, German Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen declared that Germany would spend an additional €130 billion on the military by 2030. Just one day later, parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to send an additional 650 troops to Mali and increase the number of German troops in northern Iraq to 150: here.

German defence ministry spent billions on wars abroad: here.

German news magazine Der Spiegel urges war against Russia: here.

On Wednesday, the German cabinet adopted a four year budget plan that would dramatically increase spending on the military, police, and intelligence services: here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung lobbies for militarism and war: here.

On the eve of this weekend’s NATO summit in Warsaw, Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) delivered a government statement to the Bundestag (parliament) demanding the acceleration of German re-armament. In addition to expanding the military budget by almost two billion euros in the next year, and “more than an additional 2.5 billion euros” after 2018, Merkel announced that the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) would engage more actively alongside NATO in Iraq, Syria, Libya, the Mediterranean and Afghanistan: here.

The German government is once again expanding its operations in the Middle East. Soldiers will begin monitoring Syrian airspace from NATO’s so-called Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) reconnaissance aircraft. They will be stationed at the Incirlik air base in Turkey. In addition, current military deployments involving Tornado aircraft, a battleship and reconnaissance equipment will be prolonged till the end of 2017. These decisions were made by the German cabinet on Wednesday: here.

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