West Germany: Counting Them Out

Two decades ago, when West German rearmament in the face of Communist expansion was being debated, the country's youth expressed its opposition in a protest movement called ohne mich (count me out). By the time Bonn finally established the Bundeswehr in 1956, the movement had virtually evaporated, but the federal constitution had incorporated the principle that no German could ever be "compelled against his conscience" to take up arms.

Last week the ohne mich attitude once more became a major issue. Military Affairs Specialist Matthias Hoogen told the Bundestag that so many...

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