German Armed Forces Taking Part in International Missions
The German Armed Forces aren’t very experienced in being deployed overseas, unlike many other NATO partners’ troops. Countries like the US, UK or France never stopped sending soldiers abroad to fight in foreign countries. Germany, having been responsible for the outbreak and horrors of the Second World War, re-established its armed forces in 1955 under the strict premise of taking on a purely defensive role within NATO.
The end of the Cold War and especially the wars in the Balkans in the 1990s changed this. In 1994 the German Constitutional Court cleared the way for the first ever deployment of German combat troops at scale outside of the NATO’s area of operation. German soldiers took part in the peace enforcement and peace keeping missions IFOR and SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Only after being deployed to Afghanistan in 2002, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and later the international ISAF mission, did the Bundeswehr take on an active combat role abroad. Still, it wasn’t until 2010 that the then German Federal Minister of Defense Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg tentatively admitted that German troops were, for the first time in 65 years, fighting a war on foreign soil.
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