- Title: GERMANY/FILE: Last conscripts join army before draft is abolished later this year
- Date: 3rd January 2011
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (FILE: DECEMBER 15, 2010) (REUTERS) WIDE OF CABINET TABLE AT CHANCELLOR'S OFFICE DEFENCE MINISTER KARL-THEODOR ZU GUTTENBERG WALKING AROUND TABLE AHEAD OF CABINET MEETING WHERE ABOLITION OF DRAFT WAS DECIDED GUTTENBERG SHAKING HANDS WITH OTHER MINISTERS WIDE OF TABLE GUTTENBERG IN DISCUSSION GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL ARRIVING FOR CABINET MEETING MERKEL SITTING DOWN WIDE OF MERKEL AT TABLE PRIZREN, KOSOVO (FILE: MARCH 29, 2010) (REUTERS) GERMAN SOLDIER LOOKING ON DURING ARMY POLICE EXERCISE GERMAN KFOR TROOPS BEHIND BARBED WIRE SOLDIER ATOP ARMED VEHICLE SOLDIER INSIDE VEHICLE GROUP OF SOLDIERS WITH DOG NEAR HELICOPTER DOG WEARING VEST READING "GERMAN MP" HELICOPTER TAKING OFF SOLDIERS CROSSING BRIDGE WITH SHIELDS ROW OF SOLDIERS SOLDIERS' FACES AS THEY STAND TO ATTENTION, GERMAN FLAG ON UNIFORMS
- Embargoed: 18th January 2011 12:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA99YTYPO13TVM6QMG0FVMR8NI9
- Story Text: Thousands of young conscripts in Germany started their mandatory six-month military service for the last time on Monday (January 3) before conscription becomes voluntary as of July 1st this year.
Starting in March, young German men will no longer be forced to join the army and from mid-year, conscription will officially be abolished.
At the same time, the German army aims to decrease its forces by 65,000 to bring them to a level of around 185,000 soldiers.
One of the last conscripts to be drafted on Monday was Thomas Goergens who said of the military service that it "scared" him a little while he was "also excited to find out what I will experience here. Let's see what happens."
Fellow conscript Michael Fleischer said "I would also join the army voluntarily."
Asked why, Fleischer said "because it's a new experience. I am also considering extending my military service."
German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg intends to save more than 8 billion euros by 2014 although it remains unclear how.
The draft was introduced in what was then West Germany in 1957.
In East Germany, young men were forced to perform military service from 1962, one year after the Berlin Wall was built.
East and West Germany united in 1990 and soldiers from both nations from then on served in the same German army known as the Bundeswehr.
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