German soldiers are often deployed domestically for all manner of non-combat roles, in this case troops are helping battle a bark beetle infestation in forests in Saxony in eastern Germany. Image: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild  

DW: Spike in German troop numbers asking not to be sent to war 

It’s fewer than 1,000 troops, but nevertheless, the number of German Bundeswehr soldiers who asked to be exempted from serving in war zones rose markedly in 2022. This option dates back to the era of national service. 

Almost 1,000 German military personnel applied for an exemption from serving in combat zones in 2022, a sharp rise on 2021’s figures, according to a report published on Friday. 

A spokesperson for the German ministry responsible for processing the applications told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland group of newspapers that 951 Bundeswehr soldiers had applied for the exemption. 

 “In 2021, 201 applications for exemption from combat service were received, in 2022 it was a total of 951 applications,” the spokesperson for the Ministry for Family and Civil Affairs told the newspapers.  

The Bundeswehr has roughly 183,000 serving personnel, meaning far fewer than 1% of troops applied for the status in all.   

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