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"The position command" (painting from the 19th century)

The draft (in Germany ), position (in Austria ) or recruitment (in Switzerland ) is an examination of the physical and mental suitability of a person for military service .

The term was first used in this sense when recruiting mercenaries and mercenaries in the 15th and 16th centuries. There were also drafts when subjects were called up for national defense.


Muster for the Wehrmacht (1935)

Patterns have not only existed since the introduction of mandatory military service at the beginning of the 19th century. Even when the legions were raised in the Roman Republic , the Roman property citizens of military age were selected at a meeting on the Capitol by specially appointed tribunes who, one after the other, chose the most suitable men for their legions.

The term muster (from Latin monstrare , "to show") is first found in connection with the recruitment of troops in the 2nd half of the 15th century. The advertiser checked at the model site whether those recruited for the campaign actually carried the required weapons with them. At the same time, he demonstrated to his client that he had fulfilled his part of the advertising contract and could now demand payment. The sovereigns and imperial estates also carried out muster in order to obtain an approximate overview of the numerical strength and the level of equipment of the nobles, citizens and peasants who were obliged to serve under feudal law and subordination . In the 18th century, the military authorities surveyed their troops periodically to check their condition.

District Secretary Keller described the cavalry mustering on August 17, 1674 near Ulm as follows:

“First of all, two draft inspectors were appointed to inspect the horses and rifles, namely the Rittmeister of the Augsburg company Johann Friedrich Lütz from the Catholic side and the Regimental Quartermaster Simon Brandstätter from the Protestant side. Then the regimental commander, Colonel Prince Friedrich Karl von Württemberg, sat at the top at a long table, the war commissioner Schmalkalder in the middle to form the sample roles and the district secretary with the district protocol below. The ambassadors of the district princes and the other district council ambassadors who were present attended the inspection, some sitting and some standing. The two draft inspectors reported the defects found, which the district war inspector noted. After completing the draft, the swearing-in ceremony took place on August 25, 1674. For this purpose, the cavalry and the infantry were placed 'in Bataille', the director's envoy gave a speech about their mandate and their duties, and the district secretary read the article letter. Thereupon the director's envoy spoke again and spoke the formula of the oath. After the swearing-in, a march past took place, the troops then regained order and a triple volley of rifles and the 'loosening' of the four regimental pieces concluded the general pattern. "

In view of the Turkish threat , a tripartite committee was formed in Prussia, with one third - the "straightest, strongest, most virtuous and pious" young men - selected for a standing army , the rest for the reserve . These samples were carried out under the supervision of sample owners or commissioners and were carried out regularly and according to more precise standards. According to the canton system in force at the time, the place of birth and residence - and thus the location of the levy - already established the connection to the regiment belonging to the canton . It was only as a result of the replacement of the cantonal system by the establishment of recruiting districts in the 19th century (Baden 1832) that mustering was decoupled from the use of patterned soldiers.

In the Third Reich , the drafting was carried out by the military districts in agreement with the district police authorities . In the GDR , the conscripts were mustered by the military district command in a few weeks in spring ; The additional task of the draft was the “further preparation of the citizens for the exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed right and the honorable fulfillment of their civic duty to do military service”.

In Germany, 456,546 conscripts were enlisted in 2008, of which 243,166 (53.3%) were found to be fit for military service, 199,667 (43.7%) were not considered fit for military service and 13,713 (3.0%) were classified as temporarily unfit for military service . As part of the suspension of compulsory military service in Germany, the draft also ceased to exist in 2011.

Current situation / country specifics


Examination by the doctor during the examination in Kempten, Bavaria (1968).

During the time of compulsory military service, the drafting for all male citizens in Germany was regulated by law in §§ 16 ff. Military Service Act and was carried out at the district military replacement offices. The registration in the run-up to a sample took place one year before the age of 18 or later. This was also the case before 1975, when the legal age did not come of age until the age of 21.

Corresponding guidelines ( Central Service Regulations (ZDv)) laid down a framework for the classification of conscripts , according to which the physical deficiencies were classified so that a corresponding degree of fitness was assigned depending on their significance . A decision was also made about the usability, i.e. the skills and knowledge that particularly qualified a conscript for special activities. As part of the draft, a decision was also made about so-called military service exemptions. Not every conscript was immediately called up for military service. In many cases a deferral has been granted, e.g. B. when attending school or during training. Various reasons could also lead to an exemption from military service ( Section 11 WehrPflG).

At some district military replacement offices, following the EUF, a computer-controlled measurement was carried out on eligible conscripts in order to plan the appropriate uniform and other equipment. To do this, it was necessary to wear black or at least very dark underwear or bathing trunks, as otherwise there was insufficient contrast to the background and the measurement was not possible. If the district military replacement office used such a system, the letter accompanying the summons indicated that dark trousers should be brought along.

With the suspension of compulsory military service on July 1, 2011, the draft is only to be carried out for applicants who decide to do voluntary military service . For women, there are lower physical performance requirements for the entrance test and later professional practice.


Doctors who are employed in the career centers of the Bundeswehr are entrusted with the examination . The applicant brings his or her identity card and, if required, a vaccination book , allergy pass and, if necessary, certificates or other medical documents in his or her possession.

The person to be examined goes through the following stations during the examination:

  • Personnel recruitment : Here the existing data is compared and further data is collected (address, driver's license, training).
  • Fare will be reimbursed by the paying agent (either immediately in cash or by bank transfer) - an application must be made on the spot
  • Personnel admission in the laboratory : The person to be examined is weighed, measured and asked about alcohol , cigarette and other drug consumption . This survey can also be carried out as part of the medical examination. A urine sample will also be taken and checked for proteins that could indicate a metabolic disease. In addition, if there is a suspicion that illegal drugs have been consumed (this is determined at the discretion of the employees involved or by the positive answer to the relevant question about the use of illegal drugs), the corresponding sample for existing active ingredients or breakdown products of a drug can be taken (e.g. cannabis ) can be examined. In the event of a positive test, the decommissioning (T5) takes place in rare cases, but usually a second charge at a later date.
  • Vision and hearing test
  • Pulse and blood pressure measurement (is not carried out across the board)
  • Examination of the joints (motor skills) as well as the stature (physique and posture) (possibly only during the medical examination)
  • Examination by the doctor : questioning about medical history, health condition and lifestyle (alcohol, tobacco consumption, etc.), circulatory examination possibly with stress test (usually ten squats or push-ups), posture examination , control of the skeleton for deformations, cursory dental examination (presence of braces etc.), lung function test , inguinal hernia test (by placing two fingers on the testicles or groin to determine previous hernias that have remained undetected due to a brief cough), determination of general external abnormalities ( burns , scarring , rashes, externally visible skin diseases or tumors, etc.) as well as (not comprehensive) examination of the hemorrhoids . If the doctor is of the opinion here that the person to be examined does not appear fit for military service, the EUF mentioned below does not apply.
  • Aptitude test and assessment : This is a mixture of spelling tests , math, logic, memory retention, possibly technology and a reaction test. The result of the medical examination can contain exclusions that do not permit the exercise of certain activities in the Bundeswehr; the EUF aims at the individual skills of the applicant in order to be able to use them accordingly.
  • Interview with a draft officer : The applicant receives his draft notice from the draft officer . The legal consequences are explained to him. This is also where the decisions about the previously recorded applications are made.

If the doctor has ordered further examinations from specialists (e.g. to check medical certificates that you have brought with you), the draft notification will be sent by post.

A normal muster day, including EUF, takes 3–6 hours. The medical part and the EUF each take around 2-3 hours with waiting times. The examination in the actual sense, ie the stay in the doctor's room and the questioning and examination by the doctor, is designed as a so-called "serial examination" and usually takes no longer than 15 minutes. In exceptional cases, suitability cannot be determined on a training day. The person to be sampled is then ordered again.

Fitness statistics

Sample result of the
birth year 1946
Result number proportion of
Suitable 192.855 65.4%
Limited suitability 90,886 30.8%
Temporarily unfit 4,632 1.6%
Permanently unfit 5,794 2.0%
Medical examination not
yet completed
558 0.2%
total 294.725 100.0%

The distribution of the classifications "fit", "temporarily unfit" and "permanently unfit" has developed as follows in recent years of conscription:

  • 2000: 86.28% unfit, 3.68% temporarily unfit, 10.04% unfit
  • 2002: 83.9% unfit, 3.35% temporarily unfit, 12.74% unfit
  • 2004: 79.2% unfit, 2.9% temporarily unfit, 17.89% unfit
  • 2006: 61.6% unfit, 9.22% temporarily unfit, 29.18% unfit
  • 2008: 54.1% unfit, 2.62% temporarily unfit, 42.28% unfit

The number of retirements has quadrupled within eight years or has increased by more than 300%. H. three out of four people retired in 2008 would still have been fit in 2000. It should be noted, however, that after 2004 the level of suitability T3 (restricted suitability) no longer existed and all persons with this level were declared as T5 (unfit). In the press and among the opposition parties, this has often led to criticism that the muster serves more as a method of sorting out excess people from a given year.

Refusal of inspection

As patterning refusal intentional, repeated absences will be referred by the patterning. Unlike the refusal to obey a draft , the refusal to obey a summons for examination - even if it was repeated and openly stated - was not a criminal offense, but an administrative offense. Accordingly, the refusal to take part in a draft was not sanctioned with criminal action or did not lead to entries in the police clearance certificate of the person concerned.

The district defense replacement offices reacted to the failure to appear for the first two to three summons, as a rule, with additional, sometimes more stringently formulated, new summons. If the person summoned to be examined did not appear, fines or the forced demonstration by the police were threatened. The legal requirement for these measures was a demonstrably culpable non-appearance of the sample candidate.


Adorned young man at the draft in 1912

Basic military servant of a position committee for cleaning work

The screening is in Austria position (formerly provision ) called - with retirement is called the most solemn conclusion of a military or police training and the associated discharge into the service, hence the term "pattern" is not usual.

It is carried out by the responsible position committees . These are located in Vienna, Sankt Pölten, Linz, Graz, Klagenfurt and Innsbruck. A position commission is under military leadership and consists of military cadres, basic military servants , but also civil officials and contract employees . A position committee is usually staffed in train strength. Basic military servants who serve in a position commission and are entrusted with tasks with a medical connection must, in principle, complete a four-week training course as ordination assistants prior to their assignment.

Regular position

Every male Austrian citizen who reaches the age of military service is given a position by means of a public announcement (by posting in municipal offices or other public buildings). In addition, each person required to submit a position receives a request for a position by registered letter , in which it is listed which position committee he has to appear and when. An army ticket is also sent, which enables the person obliged to use public transport to travel free of charge. If this ID is not used, an aliquot kilometer allowance will be paid out.

In Austria, there is a general obligation to submit a position, i.e. the person required to submit a position must comply with the request to submit a position. If he does not do this, he will first be asked to perform an adjustment . If he does not comply with this request, he can also be forcibly presented. If a person required to report can already provide medical reports at the beginning of the first day of the report that clearly prove his unsuitability , the person required to report will be determined as unsuitable in a shortened procedure. In special cases, such as with physical or mental impairment, a position can in the absence be carried out, it is hereby decided the unsuitability based on figures provided or the sent official medical findings, the Maximilianus does not appear itself and gets the approval decision by RSb letter delivered .


The regular course of the position usually lasts 1½ days. At the beginning of the first day, from around 7 a.m., it is determined which persons obliged to report actually appeared. The respondents who appear are also equipped with a locker key, slippers and shorts (in white, green or black, depending on the day of the week ) and are divided into two groups.

The examinations on the first day are divided into a medical and a psychological examination. In the morning, the first group carries out the medical part, while the second group carries out the psychological examination in the form of computer-aided testing (CUT). In the afternoon the groups change. The aim of the examinations on the first day is to collect basic medical and psychological data for the main medical examination that follows on the second day.

The following is done on the first day:

In cases such as unclear findings in terms of audiometry, EKG or possible visual impairments, the affected persons obliged to take legal action are examined by a respective specialist in the afternoon of the first day or in the morning of the second day and the findings are transmitted to the position committee. Employees who are required to take part in the CUT and who achieve a result below a certain level must also complete a one-on-one interview with a psychologist. By the way, simulating little knowledge and skills during the test on the computer has no direct influence on the suitability, but only has an effect in the automatic determination of the intended use (comparison of actual profile / target profile).

The first day of posting usually ends around 3 p.m. after the screening of advertising and information films on the Forces for International Operations (KIOP) and the branches of service of the Austrian Armed Forces.

On the second day, the persons obliged to give evidence are examined by their own doctors (usually contract doctors ). In doing so, the data determined the day before as well as any findings and medical confirmations provided by the party responsible for reporting are taken into account, and further examinations are carried out. On this basis, the doctor decides whether the person obliged to report is fit, temporarily unfit, unfit or suspended from the decision. Persons obliged to provide recruitment who are temporarily unfit will later be checked again for suitability as part of a short-term procedure. Those who are required to provide notification, for whom the decision has been suspended, will be referred to a specialist, whereby the person required to provide notification must arrange an appointment themselves. This examination by the specialist must take place within 4 weeks. This happens mainly in cases where the findings available to the examining doctor are unclear and / or doubtful. The assessment committee itself bears the costs for the examination itself.

The suitability is indicated with valuation numbers, with 9 being the highest number ("unrestrictedly suitable") and 0 being the lowest number ("unsuitable"). Numbers 4 to 2 designate limited fitness (combined with an exception profile, a list of recommendations for exemptions to the military doctor should the person obliged to serve in the future), and level 1 designates temporary disability. No rating number is assigned to those subject to the decision, as this can only be determined after further investigations. Valuation numbers of 4 or lower must also be signed by the senior doctor of the position committee.

Also on the second day, any administrative activities are carried out, such as the issue of tickets or payment of the mileage allowance, or individual advice on career opportunities in the Austrian Armed Forces .

Once the medical examinations have been completed, the person responsible for the position will be informed of the position result by the head of the position commission. A possible civil service declaration can also be handed over here. However, the possibility of making such a declaration is generally available up to 2 days before receipt (acceptance) of a draft notice. With the signature of the manager and the person responsible for the position on the position notification, the position result becomes valid. This ends the position and the result is forwarded to the responsible supplementary department.

When leaving the position committee, the person responsible for the position is given a package with promotional gifts (car magazine, energy drink, wet shaving accessories). For the journey home, the person obliged to report will be paid a ticket or, if desired (e.g. when arriving by car), an aliquot kilometer allowance, just like on arrival.


If a person obliged to provide recruitment has been classified as "temporarily unfit", the final suitability will be determined in a later procedure, a so-called abridged position. This happens when the person obliged to provide position in the first position z. B. is injured or ill and is likely to take longer to heal. After a certain period of time (a maximum of two years), the person required to provide a position will again receive a position order. The associated examinations, however, are carried out quickly, since usually only findings provided by the party responsible for reporting or those available to the reporting committee are assessed by a doctor. It should be noted that the result of a short summary can again be "temporarily unsuitable". The final determination of suitability can, for example, be protracted in the case of lengthy healing processes.

In addition, every conscript has the right to a new position if his state of health changes significantly. However, people who have made a civil service declaration no longer have this right.

Training service position

People who volunteer for the Austrian Armed Forces are checked for suitability before they are enlisted. Such inspections take place in one of the position commissions, with those to be inspected being accompanied by employees of the Army Personnel Office. About the same examinations are carried out as in a regular position, with the difference that a stress ECG is determined for each person to be checked, and an obligatory drug test in the form of a urine test strip is carried out. Since women also take part in the training service position, they must also carry out the CUT, which the male participants have already carried out in their regular position. For women, there are lower physical performance requirements for the entrance test and later professional practice.

In contrast to the regular position, the training service position is accelerated and generally takes less than a day. The determined result is not transmitted to the responsible supplementary department, but to the Army Personnel Office.

Those required to attend the training service also receive a package with giveaways, whereby the package for women differs from that for men in that it contains a women's razor instead of the normal shaving accessories, as well as pantyhose. The women's package contains the same auto magazine as the “male” giveaway packages.

Origin in the Second Republic

The muster was originally carried out in the respective district capitals, whereby the dates were set up in such a way that the persons required to report each belonged to a municipality .


In Switzerland this is called recruiting . Since 2007 women have had to perform the same physical work as men.

Criticism of the pattern

A distinction is made between a fundamental criticism of the patterning institution per se (fundamental criticism) and criticism of the type of execution of the patterning applied at a certain time in a certain area (execution criticism). The former criticizes the involuntary assessment of people for their usability as human resources for the purposes of the military in its entirety as a reprehensible matter. This usually also includes the demand for the abolition of involuntary samples. Criticism of the implementation practice does not exclude the approval or endorsement of the draft and demands that the nature of its process or organization be changed so that it is less unjust, arbitrary or harassing for those affected as a group or as an individual. This can also come from supporters of the institution of the drafting from politics or the military itself, since grievances and unnecessary inconvenience and recklessness during the drafting could damage the reputation of the military.

Criticism of principle at the institution muster

Fundamental criticism of the institution of involuntary "drafting" is mostly closely related to a critical attitude or rejection of compulsory military service or the entire military institution as such.

The fundamental criticism of the drafting is ignited primarily by the tension in which the institution “drafting”, according to its critics, stands for the principle of the “inviolability of human dignity”. Critics see the source of this tension as a rule in the fact that medical medical examinations, which are carried out on the basis of conscription, are carried out on an involuntary basis, i.e. these examinations are of a compulsory nature. Here it is mostly pointed out that the practice of forcing people to "let other people into their bodies on an involuntary basis" in any other context is considered a serious assault and even a crime and there is no reason to admit this differently in the context of the draft evaluate only because the person from whom this compulsion originates in the context of the draft is the state / an authority and not a private person.

The compulsory character of the involuntary examination is also often seen by critics as a violation of the otherwise generally recognized principle of free choice of doctor (and the associated option of not having a medical examination at all if desired). This is particularly linked to the question of whether an involuntary medical examination can still be considered a medical examination at all, since it lacks the relationship of trust between doctor and patient, which is otherwise always regarded as essential for medical examinations. In this context, it is also pointed out again and again that compulsory medical assessments are atypical for constitutional states , which, apart from the draft, only occurs in the context of compulsory body searches within the framework of the penal system and (theoretically) in the fight against epidemics. From this, critics conclude that the institution of compulsory drafting does not fit the concept of a constitutional state.

It is not uncommon for review critics to point out that the status of the (involuntarily) examined, which the candidate assumes during involuntary reviews, degrades him from a subject to an object, from a person to a "thing". The standardized examination procedure and the - theoretically - fixed connection of certain impressions and / or statements by the doctor performing the examination with a certain suitability decision, i.e. H. the principle that the military doctors commissioned to carry out the examination can determine certain physical properties / property combinations and findings (e.g. the ratio of height to weight, blood pressure, eyesight, etc.) in the form of a (through uniform assessment guidelines and specifications - which state that the existence / being ascertained of condition x is to be sanctioned with measure / decision y (i.e. a certain problem in the corresponding area of ​​the evaluation sheet with a certain error number or the non-existence of a certain problem with a positive number is) - fixed) mechanical assignment automatically with the allocation of a certain judgment (fit / unsuitable) or a certain degree of suitability (or a certain classification number) is also often perceived as a disregard for human individuality. Because of external criteria, people are artificially equated "as if they were identical machine parts of one type". Proponents of the pattern counter this criticism, in turn, that a "schematic" or equation of the patterned is inevitable in order to protect the institution from the accusation of arbitrariness and to comply with the principle of equality.

The general criticism of prototyping coincides with the general criticism of military structures: the restriction of individual freedom and the development of the individual as well as the "handling" of the prototype candidate according to a fixed procedure are assessed as a reduction of the patterned from people to objects. Man is thus made the subject of others' disposal. The sampling is sometimes compared with the assessment of industrial goods. Controversial are comparisons made by the critics again and again, which characterize the sampling with terms such as “meat inspection”, “horse market”, “human material assessment” or “TÜV” as a supposedly inhumane institution.

A view that is often encountered especially in socially critical and literary - but also other artistic - approaches to the phenomenon of patterning is the assessment of (compulsory) patterning as an existential failure: a sin against one's fellow human beings (or against life itself), of those who are guilty of the political / military rulers who are responsible for ensuring that the institution of the involuntary muster exists at all, as well as the persons who take on the practical implementation of involuntary inspections on behalf of the rulers as a professional task. Typical elements of such criticisms of the pattern are:

  • The identification of the pattern as an in and of itself reprehensible institution which perverts the natural interpersonal relationships through the way in which it relates the persons involved in or affected by it to one another by a group of people (the model) to incapacitated and helpless objects of disposal of a second group of people (the model staff) or also an administrative apparatus - perceived in a Kafkaesque way as an impersonal, faceless and soulless machine - which degrades people in a hostile manner to one certain schema captured, attracts and processed.
  • The degradation of the specimen victims from living beings to "living dead objects", which are inspected in a cold, disinterested way for their material condition and their usability for certain purposes (and at the same time reduced to their functional character in this regard).
  • The negation of the status of the individual sample candidate as a sensitive individual through his treatment as one of any number of identically interchangeable objects of a certain type, which accordingly is not treated individually, but processed in an assembly-line process according to the same scheme and classified according to a uniform system and labeled.

The pattern is seen here as an ontological rejection of which the modern technocratic administrative state is guilty of disregarding the true nature of man and his inner needs in favor of the rigid application and implementation of abstract administrative regulations and guidelines. The pattern is understood as an attack on the mental integrity of the human being, since it subjects him to a situation that is his, in order to achieve the end in itself of satisfying the bureaucratic principle of implementing an unquestioned, artificial structure established from "above" in a uniform and indiscriminate manner Is contrary to nature and his essence and thus alienates and degraded him from himself.

Closely connected with these interpretations is the picture of the mustering room, which is routinely encountered in corresponding interpretations. H. the scene of this encroachment on the soul of the individual and on life itself - as a locus horribilis that has become reality , a nightmare place where people are plunged into misery and internally damaged (or even destroyed), as well as the perception of the mustering staff, especially the Recruiting doctors, as incarnate embodiments of inhumanity: As cold-hearted creatures who deal with their "victims" during the assessment in an unmoved, apathetic, indifferent and inconsiderate manner - or sometimes also deliberately humiliate and torture them in a sadistic way - to finally make them feel ( "suitable") mercilessly and mercilessly to a fate of suffering (in war scenarios: the compulsion to go to the hell of war; in peace scenarios, the deprivation of freedom and the compulsion to have to live in a way that is perceived as unhappy and impairing the quality of life will be condemned.

Such perspectives on the institution of patterning have been widespread since the First World War, during which the military authorities were responsible for forcibly evacuating many millions of people on an industrial scale on the basis of patterning and sending them to fight (and die) on the battlefields of Europe:

The writer Kurt Tucholsky described the type of medical examiner as a "house servant of the war", a "pimp of death who called himself a doctor" who, as a "picker in the service of the cannon fodder center" (ie the recruiting office), has dedicated himself to the task of To turn people into "a few hundred thousand liters of blood to lubricate the war machine". Due to their willingness to participate in this, the doctors concerned have turned from their actual task of being enemies of disease and death to enemies of life, i.e. the opposite of what their profession should actually be. At the same time, the Austrian essayist Alfred Polgar drew the picture of the muster doctors as bloodhounds who would have "fetched" supplies for dying on the battlefields: In his essay "Der Teisinger" he described the recruiting officer Teisinger as a manhunter, a “dull, indiscriminate, hardworking assistant in the war butcher's shop”, who during the years 1917 and 1918 - accompanied by a military doctor as his “well-trained hunting dog” - went on the “stalk” for victims, whom he as human supplies thrown into the maw of war: As a devoted obedient man he had mercilessly sent the "shivering" human material driven in packs in front of him, unimpressed by the "haze of anguish of soul, sweat and fear of death" into perdition by attempting to obtain elimination , mercilessly knocked off and as "land of disaster" "raise the lame marry and go (into the trenches) ”,“ let the blind see (the order of entry) ”and“ let the deaf hear (their death sentence) ”. The literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki , a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto , put a multi-volume collection of essays by Polgar, which he published in 1983, under the title, due to the large number of articles by Polgar that critically examine authoritarian institutions such as the military Muster , with Reich-Ranicki - looking back on his own biography in the first half of the 20th century - the "heartless military doctors", as those who make war possible, as one of several archetypes of inhumanity, which Polgar pointed out to the reader in his work I tried to demonstrate vigorously in order to make him understand what kind of people he should beware of, since their fatal effectiveness made them responsible for imprinting his painful stamp on an entire age and for doing so again.

In the English-speaking world, too, there have been large numbers of such perspectives on the patterning institution since the 20th century: for example, the country singer Johnny Cash incorporated the tormenting memory of his own pattern at the time of the Korean War into his song The Man Comes Around , in with the lines "There's man goin '' round takin 'names./ An' he decides who to free and who to blame" alluded to the depressing and disturbing decision-making power of the medical examiner to decide who (during wartime) is involuntarily sent to the front and who does not or who (in peacetime) has his freedom taken away and has to join the military (and there has to eke out an unhappy existence) and who is spared from this.

Criticism of the German pattern practice

In the last few years of active military service, the drafting procedure in the Federal Republic of Germany came under increasing criticism. It was of opponents as well as proponents of conscription especially arbitrariness and unfairness of the screening doctors when deciding on the suitability degree even usefulness complained of screening candidates. As a result of the falling personnel requirements of the Bundeswehr, the retirement rate rose from 12% of male members of a given year group (2002) to over 43% (2008). This suggests the suspicion that it was not only objective incapacity for work that led to the retirement, but that the doctors on duty arbitrarily singled out young men who were actually fit for duty as "unfit", who in reality were not. So young men were written unsuitably for trivial reasons. Instead of criteria of necessity, criteria of arbitrariness were applied in the assessment of a degree of fitness .

The Swedish human rights activist Lars G. Petersson has also criticized the fact that the examinations of the abdomen and genitals of men are not always carried out by same-sex doctors or that female support staff are often present without a screen.

Criticism of the Austrian position

The criticism of the position is mainly aimed at the fact that the position cannot be shortened or bypassed under any circumstances. Candidates who want to do community service also have to complete the entire program in order to receive a suitability decision. However, this line of argument overlooks the fact that the result of the position, namely suitability or unsuitability, can only be determined at the end of the position sequence. It can happen that a supposedly fit person turns out to be unsuitable and so neither military nor community service has to be done. The medical examinations - often referred to as “compulsion” by critics of the position - is a civic duty regulated by the Defense Act, whereby the examination is much more detailed than with a regular health examination . The obligation to submit a blood sample is constitutional.

The institution of patterning in poetry and culture

Probably the most famous portrayal of a draft situation in German-language literature can be found in Thomas Mann's novel Confessions of the impostor Felix Krull from 1909. There the title hero succeeds in getting his elimination by playing an epileptic seizure to the drafting committee. Other well-known sample scenes can be found in the musical Hair by Galt MacDermot and in the novel Die Blechtrommel by Günter Grass .

In 1982, the literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki published a volume of newspaper glosses from the work of the Austrian writer Alfred Polgar under the title Musterung . The leitmotif, according to which the contributions to the volume were selected by Reich-Ranicki, is Polgar's examination of the “injustice that happens to the little man.” The title of the volume is due to the fact that it contains a particularly large number of texts on the subject Finding muster, an institution that Polgar repeatedly attests to be particularly “inhuman”. In the essay “No. 28 ”he criticizes, for example, the system of assigning a number to each person who is patterned at the end of the pattern as the first“ horror of war ”. He describes military doctors elsewhere as people "who hold a sieve into which male humanity is poured [and separated]". In the glossary “Der Zahnarzt” (about a military doctor who also runs a private dental practice), he describes military doctors as doctors for whom the patient “is not a patient, but a subordinate living being. A human-like thing ”, which is checked for its usability.

regional customs

In parts of Austria and southern Germany there is a tradition that after the draft, the so-called "Musterer" are officially invited to dinner by the mayor of their home municipality and are presented with special hats. The surviving pattern is celebrated lively, sometimes other villagers are played pranks.

Web links

Commons : Mustering  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Peter Connolly : The Roman Army. Translated by Thomas M. Höpfner. Hamburg 1976, p. 10.
  2. As far as they were house and landowners, that is, not without possessions; if a widow owned a house and a farm, a substitute had to be provided or a substitute paid.
  3. Age of soldiers, qualifications of superiors, usefulness of armament and equipment
  4. quoted from Peter-Christoph Storm: Der Schwäbische Kreis als Feldherr , Schriften zur Verfassungsgeschichte Volume 21, Duncker & Humblot Berlin, 1974, ISBN 3-428-03033-8 , page 525
  5. German Bundestag Printed Matter 16/12522, 26. March 2009
  6. Can you use the Bundeswehr? Spiegel Online , March 25, 2014, accessed September 3, 2017 .
  7. Heinz Sahmer: Law on the protection of the workplace when called up for military service […] together with provisions on the implementation of the draft , 1957, passim; Wolfgang Stauf: Military Law from AZ , 1986.
  8. ^ Wolfgang Pooch: Compulsory military service and substitute military service in the Federal Republic of Germany , 1985.
  9. Answers of the Federal Government to Small Inquiries of March 18, 2008, p. 6 and of March 26, 2009, p. 5.
  10. See e.g. B. Oliver Trenkamp: Suitable for reasons of conscience. Spiegel Online , March 18, 2009, accessed September 3, 2017 .
  11. Wolfgang Pooch: Compulsory military service and alternative military service in the Federal Republic of Germany , 1985 (chapter with exercise questions on the instruction of civil servants).
  12. Review of physical performance. (PDF; 252 kB) Heerespersonalamt, p. 1f , accessed on September 2, 2017 .
  13. ↑ The same fitness assessment for men and women. Swiss Army , 2007, archived from the original on January 28, 2016 ; Retrieved on December 3, 2011 (TFR = Test Fitness Recruiting): "Since women in all branches of service have to meet the same minimum physical requirements as men, they are now also assessed the same way at TFR."
  14. Michael Hepp: Kurt Tucholsky. Biographical Approaches , 1993, p. 449.
  15. ^ Alfred Polgar: "Der Teisinger", in: Gestern und heute , 1922, p. 56.
  16. See Marcel Reich Ranicki: Alfred Polgar. Kleine Schriften , Vol. 1 (Muster), 1983, see preface, especially p. Xxxf.
  17. ^ Federal Ministry of Defense: ZDv 46/1. General implementing provisions for medical examinations when drafting and entering the service of conscripts, accepting and hiring applicants for voluntary service in the armed forces and dismissing soldiers. Bonn, 2010
  18. Lars G. Petersson: Muster: Staatlich Legitimierte Perversion , 2010. ISBN 978-1849911863
  19. § 18 Defense Act
  20. Marcel Reich-Ranicki [ed.]: Muster (= Alfred Polgar: Kleine Schriften, Vol. 1), Hamburg 1982.
  21. mein , accessed on October 6, 2019