Leaner, Meaner, Cheaper

WOLFGANG RATTAY/REUTERS

HANDS UP: Struck will cut 35,000 troops and €26 billion of planned spending on equipment

In 1667, Frederick William, the great Elector of Prussia, set the country's militarist tone by saying, "Alliances to be sure are good, but forces of one's own, upon which one can rely, are better." In the half-century after World War II, Germany turned this dictum on its head: the country relied on its alliance with the U.S. to protect it from the Soviet Union, maintaining only an undersized army that was constitutionally prohibited from fighting abroad. That began to change in 1999 when Germany sent troops to Kosovo and then three years later sent them to Afghanistan. Last week, Defense Minister...

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