• 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
Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son
Jeremiah Duggan. Photo: Justice for Jeremy

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son

The family of a British student killed in Wiesbaden over 12 years ago made a fresh step towards justice on Thursday, after a London coroner disagreed with German authorities' belief that he killed himself. READ  

Property of the week
Property of the Week: May 22nd
Photo: Mr Lodge

Property of the Week: May 22nd

Modern and sophisticated: This week’s property combines classic architecture with chic furnishings to create an elegant and luxurious living experience. READ  

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence
The judge said, given his age, he was not the ideal candidate for therapy. Photo:DPA

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence

An 83-year-old man was handed a six month suspended sentence on Thursday after being caught carrying seven bags of heroin in Düsseldorf. READ  

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks
The dazzling colour of 2014's festival parade. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks

This weekend Berlin will be lit up by the vibrancy and colour of the Carnival of Cultures, an annual four-day urban festival that celebrates the diversity of Germany's capital. Here are six things not to miss. READ  

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light
FC Bayern's first team in 1925, the year of the commemorative publication. Photo: Jewish Museum

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light

For decades the early history of FC Bayern München was forgotten, but FCB fans have re-discovered a book from 1925 documenting the club's founding moments. READ  

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA
Gerhard Schindler admitted that the BND had made mistakes in its handling of NSA requests. Photo: DPA

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA

The head of the German Intelligence Agency (BND) told a special parliamentary committee on Thursday that his agency is 'dependent on' the American National Security Agency (NSA). READ  

Autobahn driver suffers drone windscreen smash
Photo: Polizei Bochum

Autobahn driver suffers drone windscreen smash

After a low flying drone crashed into the windscreen of a car on the Autobahn outside Bochum, police announced on Thursday they are looking for witnesses. READ  

Business confidence slack as growth slows
A worker puts the finishing touches to BMWs at the car producer's Regensburg, Bavaria production line. Photo: DPA

Business confidence slack as growth slows

German business confidence slipped fractionally from its previous high level in May, as the upturn in Europe's biggest economy continues, the Ifo economic institute said Friday. READ  

Two criminals on the run after daylight escape
Two fugitives on the run since Thursday. Photo: Polizei Kleve

Two criminals on the run after daylight escape

Police are searching for two fugitives in North Rhine-Westphalia after a young woman freed a man from custody as he was being taken to the doctor. READ  

Merkel pushes for Greece deal at Euro meet
Angela Merkel with Francois Hollande and Alexis Tsipras in Riga. Photo: DPA

Merkel pushes for Greece deal at Euro meet

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held "friendly and constructive" debt talks with the leaders of France and Germany Thursday, but gave no sign of a breakthrough ahead of a crucial June deadline. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
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

6,748
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd