Germany preparing for WAR? German teens enlist in record numbers thanks to social media

More than 2,000 soldiers under the age of 18 served in the Bundeswehr last year.

The figures show the number of teenagers under the age of 18 that joined the army ranks for a six-month trial period last year exceeded 2,000 for the first time.

A total of 2,128 minors served in the Bundeswehr last year, including 448 girls.

Germany is one of the few countries where people under 18 can register their interest in signing up.

The numbers have risen dramatically in the five years since military service for men was abolished in 2011.

Back then, just 689 ‘underage’ people volunteered to join the military.

The reason for the the rise has been put down to online advertising campaigns aimed at teenagers.

While these young recruits have a limited access to weapons and cannot be sent on missions overseas, the practice sparked concerns among human rights advocates and the UN Committee on the Rights of Children, which in 2014 urged Germany to stop the recruitment of minors no

The rise in the numbers has also sparked calls for the practice of allowing children to join up to be abolished.

Martin Dolzer, a Left Party lawmaker from Hamburg, told RT: “The people, who are underage, they should not be urged to get into the army. This contradicts the United Nations regulation and it’s not a good development.”

However, according to the country’s defense forces, the practice “fully adheres to its obligations under international law, such as the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Left Party MP Evrin Sommer, who was behind the information request, told the Rheinische Post (RP)dthat Germany has no moral authority to criticise the use of child soldiers.

He said: “The German government is endangering its own efforts towards an international ban on the use of child soldiers.”

The Defence Ministry defended the controversial practice, stressing that minors who volunteered for the army are eligible to leave service “any time within the first six months without giving a reason.”

Overall, the number of volunteers who joined the military under 23-month service contracts between January and August 2017 fell 15 percent in comparison to the previous year. 

Mr Dolzer said: “The main problem is that if you do a foreign policy which is based on dialogue you don’t need such a strong army or so many soldiers. I think this is the main problem behind it,”

He added those who do opt for the army service in Germany mostly come from unprivileged backgrounds, being unable to find a job elsewhere or go to a university.