Germany Ponders Conscripting All 18-Year-Olds Amid War Fears

German teenagers may soon be required to join the military as fears over a potential widespread European conflict increase.

Political leaders in Germany are considering three possible methods of conscription to strengthen the military.

According to the German news outlet Welt, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius became convinced of the necessity for some form of military draft during his recent visit to Washington DC and is currently evaluating his choices.

“I am convinced that Germany needs some form of conscription,” he stated during a presentation at Hopkins University in Washington on Thursday. It is anticipated that Mr. Pistorius will formally announce these plans in June, as per various sources.

Last week, the Defence Ministry presented three conscription options to the minister. The first and least severe option involves encouraging voluntary enlistment by distributing informational materials and a questionnaire to 18-year-olds to gauge their interest in military service.

The second strategy targets only 18-year-old men, requiring them to complete an online form without guaranteeing selection for service. The Defence Ministry estimates that this approach could bring in up to 40,000 new soldiers annually.

The third and most extreme strategy involves mandatory military service for both young men and women upon reaching the age of 18, necessitating a change in legislation.

This last option, although it emphasizes voluntariness, could resort to compulsory enlistment if voluntary registration is insufficient. The Defence Ministry believes this option would be the most socially acceptable.

The primary opposition party in Germany, the conservative Christian Democratic Union, supports these proposals and has voted to reintroduce mandatory military service gradually.

Should they regain power, they aim to legislate a mandatory year of service in either the military or social sectors. Germany discontinued a similar conscription system in 2011.

The urgency of these discussions is driven by German concerns about the possibility of conflict with Russia.

Mr. Pistorius has previously emphasized the need for the German military, the Bundeswehr, to prepare for war in light of Russia’s wartime economy and its announcements of nuclear capabilities demonstrations.

Reports by some analysts suggest that the Bundeswehr currently possesses only enough ammunition to defend against a major land assault for a few days, as per DW.

Earlier this year, the Defence Minister mentioned that Germany could raise its military expenditure to up to 3.5% of its economic output, exceeding the NATO standard of 2%.

After facing criticism from NATO allies for years over insufficient military spending, Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared a “historical turning point” following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, establishing a €100 billion special military fund.