More and more young Germans are saying no to military service. The Federal Ministry of Defense reported Monday (December 7) that by the end of the year a record 170,000 service-aged men will have registered as conscientious objectors, a third (34.3 percent) of all those called up to serve in 1998. The previous record was reached in 1995, when 160,494 young men applied for conscientious objector status. In Germany, men between the ages of 18 and 25 may be called up for a basic ten-month tour of duty in the armed services. Although military service is considered a public obligation, a draftee has the right to decline service on grounds of conscience. Those who take this step must devote thirteen months to a substitute service in civilian institutions such as hospitals or homes for the disabled.
This Week in Germany, December 11, 1998