West Germany: The Orphan Army

To hear the West German generals tell it, their soldiers are so inept and so lacking in morale that they would scarcely be a match for the Beefeaters in the Tower of London or the halberd-bearing papal guard. Speaking to a closed session of officers at the Leadership Academy near Hamburg, Major General Helmuth Grashey complained that the Bundeswehr (literally, Federal Defense Force) is burdened with too much civilian bureaucracy and hounded by an ombudsman who undermines officers' authority by listening sympathetically to soldiers' gripes.

Above all, Grashey lashed out at the principle of Innere Führung, or "inner direction." This...

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