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20 Mar, 2024 11:12

German children ‘must be prepared for war’ – minister

Military officers should visit schools to build “relaxed” relations with students, Bettina Stark-Watzinger has suggested
German children ‘must be prepared for war’ – minister

German children should be made to prepare for war to boost “resilience,” Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger stated on Saturday.

She said kids should be taught what to do in the event of conflict and suggested introducing “civil defense” drills in schools so that youngsters will be prepared for the years ahead.

“Society as a whole must prepare well for crises, from a pandemic to natural disasters to war. Civil defense is immensely important, and it also belongs in schools. The goal must be to strengthen our resilience,” Stark-Watzinger said in an interview with the Funke media group.

She also called for a “relaxed relationship” to be fostered between schoolchildren and the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), suggesting that military officers should visit schools to explain what “the Bundeswehr does for our security.”

President of the German Teachers’ Association, Stefan Dull, told Bild last week that the minister’s proposal “makes sense.”

“I expect the federal minister to now seek discussions with the education ministers in the federal states,” he said, adding that a “declaration of intent is not enough – politics lessons now have to teach about the war in Ukraine and the pan-European, even global threat situation.”

Stark-Watzinger’s initiative reflects the German government’s policy aimed at making the country “war ready” in the face of a potential Russia-NATO conflict, which could happen within a few years, according to senior German defense officials.

In February, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius claimed in an interview with Bloomberg that Russia may attack NATO “in five to eight years.” 

German chief of defense, General Carsten Breuer, also highlighted the “paramount” importance of making the country’s military ready within the next five years.

“We call this Kriegstuchtigkeit – being ready, capable and willing to fight. We are on the right track,” he declared.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that Russia has never had plans to attack NATO. In December, he described such speculation as “complete nonsense,” adding that fear of a ‘Russian threat’ in the EU was being fueled by the US, as Washington fears losing its dominance on the European continent.