Don’t mention the war: UK, Germany headed for military alliance

AgustaWestland Wildcat HMA.2 helicopters of the Black Cats Helicopter Display Team © Darrin Zammit Lupi
Former military adversaries Britain and Germany are weighing up a serious defense alliance which would see UK helicopters stationed on German naval ships.

The plans, announced by UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, will see the two countries increase joint training exercises with Britain stationing a new Wildcat helicopter aboard a German warship during a Mediterranean Sea training mission in 2017.

Britain stands together with Germany to face the same challenges, including the threat from Daesh [Islamic State], and shares the same values of liberty, tolerance and justice,” Fallon said at a meeting with his counterpart Ursula von der Leyen at the German Embassy Friday.

While the UK is leaving the European Union, our commitment to European security remains steadfast, and [will] continue as a leading member of NATO, the cornerstone of our defense.

The move comes 70 years after the two countries fought a world war and Fallon was attending an event to mark 26 years since Germany was reunified.

The two countries have paired up in a multinational force before: to defeat Napoleon’s French army at Waterloo in 1815.

The current reorientation also seems set to see military relations between Germany and France thaw to the extent that German aircrews will be stationed in France for the first time since the end of WWII.

The move would also see pilots from the two nations share an airbase at Orleans.

For his part, Fallon remains an opponent of an integrated EU Army, the concept of which became one of the most high profile arguments used by Euroskeptics in the build-up to the Brexit vote.

German defense figures, however, have warned that the UK must drop opposition to an integrated EU force if it expects the best treatment once it leaves the union.

The UK occupied Germany after the First World War and reoccupied it after the Second World War. The UK – and US – retain a number of key military bases within the otherwise sovereign state.