Photo: flickr user: isafmedia
Germany may finally institute a Veterans’ Day to honour its soldiers fallen in combat, Deutsche Welle reports. The decision has received a mixed response in Germany: most of its veterans were members of the Nazi party.
Germany has not observed a Veterans’ Day since fall of Hitler’s Third Reich in 1945. It does have a public day of mourning on November 11, Volkstrauertag, which honours soldiers and civilians killed in war.But apart from the two World Wars, which claimed the lives of seven million German servicemen, the country also has veterans from the 300,000 troops sent into wars in Afghanistan, the Gulf, and Kosovo, among others, according to the Daily Mail.
“Against the background of our operations and the questions they pose our society, it is time to speak objectively and openly about our veterans’ policy,” Minister of Defence Thomas de Maizière said. He initially wanted Veterans’ Day to be commemorated with Volkstrauertag, but this met with fierce opposition, Gawker reports. Veterans’ Day will now be on May 22, the anniversary of the founding of the Bundeswehr, the modern German army, in 1956.
While the Bundeswehr and the ruling CDU party supports the move, opposition parties are critical. “If the defence minister wants to do something for former soldiers, he should get some money and improve their social security, instead of invoking some cheap ‘ideal honour’,” the Left party’s Paul Schaefer said. The Green Party’s defence expert called it a “fig-leaf” for a minister who was “avoiding his core duties”.
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