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East German soldiers dying more than West

The Local · 1 Jul 2012, 13:40

Published: 01 Jul 2012 13:40 GMT+02:00

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Nine of the 25 soliders - more than a third - killed in the conflict since summer 2008 came from the former East, according to an article in the Bild newspaper on Friday. East Germans make up 20 percent of the overall German population.

An additional six of those killed were immigrants to Germany with German ancestory - from Poland, Russia and former Soviet republics. Taken together, the group of East German and immigrant soldiers make up more than 50 percent of those killed.

"The figures show that the majority of young people from weaker economic regions or social levels carry the dangerous burden of our foreign troops," Bundeswehr expert Michael Wolffsohn told Bild.

In May, German Minister of Defence Thomas de Maizière admitted that in the past is has been easier for the Bundeswehr to find young men and women ready to sign up in eastern Germany because of higher unemployment levels there, but spoke of a "narrowing of the gap" in recent years.

The Bundeswehr has depended on voluntary military recruits since compulsory military service was abolished last year.

Around 45,000 young people need to apply each year to become temporary or career soldiers in order to keep numbers up, de Maizière estimated.

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"We have to make sure the burden is fairly split between East and West, especially in a fighting unit," Conservative politician Michael Kretschmer told the paper.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:10 July 1, 2012 by Englishted
I believe ,correct me if I'm wrong that you can't join the armed forces here unless you are German ,so it now become with part of Germany you come from ,next you could split it into towns,streets etc. but why?
15:49 July 1, 2012 by Leo Strauss
"The figures show that the majority of young people from weaker economic regions or social levels carry the dangerous burden of our foreign troops,"

Ehh? Our `foreign` troops? Don`t you mean our troops serving in overseas combat operations?


Agreed. Germans enlist and serve. The rest is just politics.
16:43 July 1, 2012 by MrPC
Maybe their not as bright as their west german counterparts.
17:21 July 1, 2012 by auslanderus
Just an idea, just maybe it could be the training they get from the start. To say that because your from a certain area has nothing to do with being killed in combat. A bullet does not care who it hits. North,South,West,East does not make difference.
18:03 July 1, 2012 by danceswithgoats
25 killed in the last four years; 50% of which were Eastern or foreign. From a country of 80 million I would say this sample is statistically insignificant. I would be willing to bet that Easterners and immigrants score lower on entry exams into the Bundeswehr and thus end up as infantrymen. That may explain the losses.
10:06 July 2, 2012 by TheWonderer
Not really surprising.

Germany has about 82 million inhabitants.

The Eastern countries ("new countries", formerly GDR) comprised about 17 million with a tendency for decrease as due to the bad economic situation, young people move away to find work elsewhere. But let's assume there are still 15 million people there - that's 18.3% of the German overall-population.

Now taking into consideration there are less attractive jobs over there than elsewhere in Germany, there will be a higher interest for young people to join the forces to get a well-paid job and make their living.

Besides, in the GDR, there were much less people not serving their Army-time when it was still compulsory (and doing substitute service instead) - the NVA was an accepted part of life.

So whilst in the Western Federal states the military was less and less attractive, it is more and more attractive in the Eastern states of the FRG - thus shifting the amount of soldiers with an "East-German background".

Well, and when more people from the East are enlisted, it is of course resulting in more of them getting affected in casualties - just by being there (as the bullet does not differentiate betwenn where you come from).

So if 25% each of all soldiers were from N, S, W and E, the casualty-toll should be even.

But if the majority of soldiers deployed (due to reasons stated above) is from one area, it is normal that this group will score higher, too (unfortunately).

I doubt that they lowered standards - just the opposite: Due to the high number of unemployed folks, they are able to pick whom they want.

11:39 July 2, 2012 by DoubleDTown
Danceswithgoats has the "statistically insignificant" part down. S/he shouldn't bother trying to explain the outcome -- how can any conclusion be drawn from just 25 deaths. Good grief, as Charlie Brown would say.
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