In recent years, ISAF troops from many countries endured long, difficult and deadly tours of Afghanistan. While large swathes of the public in the United States and the United Kingdom consider their service members heroes, the situation is very different in Germany. According to a YouGov poll
, 50 percent of Americans say all members of the military are heroes, whatever their role or experience, while a further 16 percent say either those in combat roles or those who have seen combat should be called heroes.
In Germany, however, only 15 percent of the public consider members of the Bundeswehr
heroes while a further 18 percent say this label should only be applied to personnel in combat roles or those who have actually seen combat. In Germany, negative public views of the military and Berlin's reluctance to participate in overseas operations are rooted in history
. When Bundeswehr soldiers were deployed to Kosovo in 1999 and experienced combat for the first time, there was uproar. Involvement in Afghanistan is also unpopular and that deployment has become the largest the German military has participated in since World War II. By May of 2013, 54 German soldiers and three policemen had been killed in Afghanistan.