• Germany's news in English
 

Defence minister tells soldiers 'stop whining'

Published: 25 Feb 2013 07:32 GMT+01:00

In an interview with Sunday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, de Maizière said the German public had become more supportive of soldiers in the Bundeswehr.

But he added that many soldiers did not see this, and were desperate for approval. "They have the understandable, but often exaggerated desire for appreciation. They have perhaps become practically addicted to it," said de Maizière.

"Simply stop craving recognition," he said. "One does not get the appreciation of others by asking for it, but by working well."

The action was predictably unhappy, with Ulrich Kirsch, head of the Bundeswehr Association said the minister's choice of words were "disappointing and absolutely inappropriate.

"German soldiers do not crave for anything - neither recognition nor anything else."

If soldiers had a greater need for respect and recognition, it was because for a long time they had received too little of these things, he said.

Defence spokesman for the opposition Social Democrats Rainer Arnold, said that apart from the unfortunate choice of words, he could understand de Maizière's comments.

"One must sometimes explain to soldiers that it is no disrespect of the army when people regard military operations sceptically," he told Monday's Süddeutsche Zeitung.

De Maizière was in Turkey at the weekend visiting the 300 German troops stationed there with Patriot rockets units as part of a NATO operation to support Turkish defences near the Syrian border.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:26 February 25, 2013 by twisted
Soldiers today ain't what they used to be. Nobody gave a damn about what I thought in 1968....just do your job and shut up.
10:09 February 25, 2013 by Sastry.M
Institutions of military now a days are made as politicized corporates and soldiers are deployed for similar gains rather than defending honor of the nation they represent.
11:43 February 25, 2013 by Kennneth Ingle
Perhaps Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière who offended German soldiers by suggesting they should concentrate on their work, should do the same himself!

Following World War Two, it was agreed by all concerned, that Germany should never be allowed again, to send armed forces into other countries to fight wars. The German army was founded on the basis of defence, not aggression.

Since Maizière has taken over, the Bundeswehr has done just the opposite. Troops are being sent into quite unnecessary conflicts, without any good reason whatsoever, but at the same time they would be completely unable to defend their own nation from most modern forms of attack.

Such a defence Minister is not only a danger to his own country, but to the NATO alliance as a whole, which is already suffering from incapable leadership and sense of direction.
14:49 February 25, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
They will be getting sent to Afghanistan on an internship or mini job soon.
17:35 February 25, 2013 by bwjijsdtd
Well Mr. Defence Minister, whether you know it or not, it is a solders right to bitch and complain and has been going on a hell of a long time ...
17:42 February 25, 2013 by auslanderus
From what I have seen of the German Bundeswehr, they could not fight there way out of a wet paper bag. There poorly trained, poorly equiped and in what army except German can you leave after spening a year in it? Be real, you want an Army, then train it like it is suppose to be an not like a bunch of babies and whime when there in the cold or when they have to have there hair cut. The Army is suppose to make men out of boys.
17:54 February 25, 2013 by johnny108
I spent a year in afghanistan- in the US army- saw lots of German soldiers on the base- complaining about their 6 month long deployments, and drinking beer. Never once saw them in contact with the enemy....
13:23 February 26, 2013 by DonBacardiPR
Why are they complaining?? Well stated Mr. Minister. You should deploy them a little bit more & have them contribute to world security instead of them spending so much time driving their Fahrschule (driving school) truck around town. Just seems like that's all they ever do.
Today's headlines
Interior ministry bans Salafist group
Thomas de Maizière. Photo: DPA

Interior ministry bans Salafist group

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière ordered the dissolving of salafist organisation Tauhid Germany on Thursday, saying that the group radicalized youth and encouraged them to travel to Syria to fight for Isis. READ  

New minute of silence for Germanwings victims
MPs in the Bundestag (German parliament) fall silent for a minute before beginning the day's work. Photo: DPA

New minute of silence for Germanwings victims

Germans again took a few moments on Thursday to remember those killed in the Germanwings flight 4U9525 plane crash on Tuesday. READ  

Ukraine refugees make tracks to Germany
Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland by plane. Photo: DPA

Ukraine refugees make tracks to Germany

Germany received one of the highest numbers of Ukrainian asylum seekers in Europe last year, according to data released last week by Eurostat and analyzed by The Local. READ  

Merkel must be firm with Modi: Amnesty
Narendra Modi. Photo: DPA

Merkel must be firm with Modi: Amnesty

Speaking to the The Local ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Germany next month, Amnesty International warned that his poor record on human rights must factor into the talks. READ  

Alps plane crash
Höwedes takes focus off football
Photo: DPA

Höwedes takes focus off football

Germany defender Benedikt Höwedes held up a sign in memory of children from his home town killed in the Germanwings plane crash before a friendly against Australia on Wednesday night. READ  

'Space stone' brought back to Cologne
Alexander Gerst and Mayor of Cologne Jürgen Roters. Photo: Stadt Köln

'Space stone' brought back to Cologne

German astronaut Alexander Gerst visited the Cologne city hall on Wednesday to present a special gift – a stone from the city's famous cathedral that he'd taken into space with him. READ  

Germanwings crash
Germany mourns for 4U9525 victims
A German flag flying at half mast at the Bundestag (German parliament) Photo: DPA

Germany mourns for 4U9525 victims

Flags flew at half mast across Germany on Wednesday in memory of the people killed in Tuesday's crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525. READ  

Business confidence hits 8-month high

Business confidence hits 8-month high

German business confidence rose to its highest level in eight months in March, as optimism continues to grow about the outlook for Europe's biggest economy, the Ifo economic institute said on Wednesday. READ  

Germanwings crash
German cops, lawyers join crash probe
Photo: DPA

German cops, lawyers join crash probe

State prosecutors from Düsseldorf and federal police forensics experts are on their way to France to join in the investigation into crashed Germanwings flight 4U9525. READ  

Berliner freed after 25 years on death row
Debra Milke at a press conference in Pheonix on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Berliner freed after 25 years on death row

A Berlin-born woman who spent 25 years in a US jail accused of participating in the murder of her son spoke publicly about her experience on Tuesday, the first time since her release. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
National
Germanwings co-pilot was 'locked out of cockpit' before crash
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,137
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd