• 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
Hamburg districts make UNESCO heritage list
An eightfold composite picture of different views of the Chilehaus (Chile House) and the Sprinkenhof in Hamburg. Photo: EPA/Christian Charisius/dpa/picture alliance

Hamburg districts make UNESCO heritage list

The UN cultural agency on Sunday designated Hamburg's historic maritime warehouse and business districts, boasting early 20th century German brick architecture, as World Heritage sites. READ  

Germany's AfD heads right with new leader
Frauke Petry, the new leader of the AfD. Photo: Lukas Schulze/picture alliance/dpa

Germany's AfD heads right with new leader

Germany's Alternative for Germany (AfD) party ousted its co-founder and frontman Bernd Lucke on Saturday to elect a new leader from its right wing, signalling a shift in focus to immigration from its anti-euro origins. READ  

Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture
A fissure on the Autobahn near Heidelberg. Photo: DPA

Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture

The heatwave sweeping across the country may have Germans flocking to the sea this weekend, but the extreme temperatures are also causing Autobahns to break apart. READ  

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats

A vast Nazi mega-complex meant as holiday homes for German workers and later used by the Soviets as a Cold War barracks is about to be turned into luxury flats. READ  

Greece crisis
'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble
A poster of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in Athens reads "For five years he has sucked your blood. Now tell him NO." Photo: DPA

'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble

UPDATE: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Friday that there would be no quick release of bailout funds to Greece after the country's referendum on whether to accept its creditors' terms on Sunday. READ  

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp
The new Deutsche Post stamp showing the Dalai Lama. Photo: DPA

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp

Pro-Tibet activists have created a new limited-edition stamp featuring the Dalai Lama to mark the Tibetan spiritual leader's 80th birthday. READ  

Women's World Cup
'Germany will crack England': top coach
Star striker Celia Sasic. Photo: DPA

'Germany will crack England': top coach

The manager of European champions FFC Frankfurt told The Local he expects Germany to beat England in the third place play-off in the Women's World Cup, and predicted his protege Celia Sasic will grab a goal or two. READ  

NSA surveillance scandal
Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-profile German victim of NSA spying, speaking on the phone. Photo: DPA

Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations. READ  

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick. Photo: DPA file

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds

Germany's top beach volleyball pair are storming the world championships in Holland and prepare to face Brazil in the semis on Friday. READ  

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: DPA

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks loosed a broadside against her cabinet colleagues on Friday in a guest article for Die Welt, saying that they had decided to do too little to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a way that would cost too much. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
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

6,947
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd