Citizen Participation (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – The current discussion in Germany about the German population’s “resilience” to attacks by enemy combatants can be traced back to reflections expressed in World War I and during the Nazi period. In 1935, Gen. Erich Ludendorff, who had been appointed in 1916 to the Supreme Command of the German Empire’s army, declared that the “German people’s spiritual unity” was a prerequisite to victory in the coming “total war.” According to Ludendorff, the population, the military and the political leadership must be “welded” into a “powerful unity,” seeing itself as a “community of destiny” and devoting all its energy to the service of warfare. To this end, the general demanded the introduction of “general compulsory service” for men and women, as well as the launching of the appropriate propaganda campaigns – “already in peacetime.” Parallels can be found today in current German government initiatives. For example, in its “Civil Defense Concept” the German Ministry of the Interior speaks of changing the constitution to permit women to be obligated to work in “defense-relevant domains.” Through “social discourse” the population should be prepared to “assume risks” and “endure” damaging events.

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