The military is the duty of a citizen , for a certain period in the armed forces or other military formation (for example in the area of police or civil protection to serve) of his country. Whether and for whom there is compulsory military service is regulated differently in different countries. With a few exceptions ( Israel , Norway, Sweden, partly China ), conscription only extends to the male population, but general conscription is often used synonymously .
Although it is by definition forced labor , which is fundamentally forbidden according to the European Convention on Human Rights , the military or alternative service obligation falls under an exception in ECHR (there as “military service”) and is therefore not directly contrary to international law. Nonetheless, it is controversial among human rights defenders.
Armies that were set up on the basis of a general conscription of all men fit for military service have existed time and again in history, for example the army of the Roman Republic or civil guards in cities. Even Prussia was the Canton system in the 18th century on the way to a conscript army. In general, after the disintegration of the feudal system of the Middle Ages from the early modern period to the end of the 18th century, mercenary armies were the rule, with little ideological or nationality-related connection to their employers.
In Sweden , King Gustav II Adolf introduced (selective) conscription around 1630 by exempting men from certain professional groups from military service and recruiting men who were "strong-limbed and, as far as can be determined, brave - between the ages of 18 and 30" . These were equipped and paid for from state funds.
The France of the French Revolution was the first European state to organize its army with the Levée en masse in 1793 almost exclusively on the basis of general conscription, even if there were also volunteers.
In Russia , the law of January 13, 1874 introduced compulsory military service.
Since the end of the Cold War and the resulting renunciation of mass armies, more and more countries have switched their armies from conscription to volunteer and professional armies . This trend is still unbroken today. In 2010, 24 of the 28 NATO countries had a professional army. Of the major military powers within NATO, only Turkey still adheres to conscription. (Germany see below ).
Overall, the vast majority of countries in the so-called First World have since renounced conscription.
Conscription was introduced in the Federal Republic of Germany on July 21, 1956. The Basic Law already provided for the possibility of conscientious objection in its original version from 1949. In March 1956, compulsory military service and the option of alternative service, which should by no means last longer than military service, were taken up. In 1968 compulsory military service was regulated by Article 12a in the Basic Law.
On December 15, 2010, the Federal Cabinet resolved to suspend compulsory military service from July 1, 2011. The conscription continues, but in times of peace no more conscripts will be drafted. On January 1, 2011, all conscripts were drafted for the last time, and since March 1, 2011, conscripts are no longer obliged to serve against their will.
In principle, all men over the age of 18 who are Germans within the meaning of the Basic Law are conscripted for military service, the limit for military service was 23 years of age . Compulsory military service was fulfilled by military service or, in the case of the Conscientious Objection Act of February 28, 1983, by civil service in Germany . The duration of basic military service and community service was last six months since July 1, 2010. The previously longer duration of community service, in contrast to the wording of the Basic Law, was justified by the fact that after completing basic military service , military service could be used as reservists for military exercises.
In practice, of the 440,000 men born in 1980, 137,500 (31.25%) did basic military service, 152,000 (34.54%) community service or other alternative service, and 150,500 (34.2%) were retired or not for other reasons drawn into service.
A comparison with other countries and their practice with regard to conscription is only possible to a limited extent. Based on the historical experience of Germany, the concept of the " Inner Guidance ", unique in its form at that time, and closely related to the model of the " citizen in uniform " was created. Integration into general jurisdiction also ensured that - in contrast to the Reichswehr , which was a state within the state with its own jurisdiction and directly subordinate to the Reich President - the German army can never again develop into a “state within a state”. For this reason the institution of the Commissioner for the Armed Forces was created. As a parliamentary army headed not by a military but by a politician, the Bundeswehr was supposed to defend the “rights and freedom of the German people” ( oath and solemn pledge ).
In Austria , general conscription applies to all male citizens aged 17 to 50, and to officers and NCOs up to 65 years of age ( Federal Constitutional Act ; and Defense Act). Conscripts up to the age of 35 can be drafted into basic military service. Since 2006, the duration of the basic military service is six months. Before that it was eight months, whereby at least six months had to be worked without interruption. The missing months were supplemented by weapons exercises over a period of several years. Until all six months have been served, the conscript is in the militia stand .
According to self-defense or emergency aid - they refuse to use armed force against people for reasons of conscience, and therefore when doing military service would be in conscience and therefore community service to want to do. This lasts nine months and can be completed at various organizations. As alternatives to community service, longer-lasting voluntary services, such as those in the international service , the European Voluntary Service (EVS) , as a voluntary social year or as a voluntary environmental year can be performed. Due to the refusal to serve the weapon, it is not possible for 15 years from this point in time, with a few exceptions , to apply for weapons law documents.(1) ZDG, which has constitutional status, conscripts can declare that they cannot fulfill their military service because - apart from cases of personal
Up until 1971, basic military service was nine months, with the last two weeks being an automatic release from duty. Under Federal Chancellor Kreisky , it was decided to shorten it to six months plus 60 days of military training (= 8 months), which was a de facto shortening of only two weeks, as the time off was no longer applicable. Also under Kreisky, the previously simple statutory general military service for men was enshrined in the constitution in the Federal Constitutional Law of July 8, 1975 ( Federal Law Gazette No. 368/1975 ), together with the newly created alternative military service (civil service) . While in the 1970s the majority of the conscripts were called up for six months of basic military service and only a few special functions were filled with eight-month basic military servants, that changed over the years.
For men between 16 and 35 years of age, renouncing Austrian citizenship is restricted beyond the usual conditions for other Austrians, so that it is more difficult to circumvent compulsory military service in this way. It is only possible if you have another citizenship, if you have been living outside Austria for 5 years or have already performed the service or were found to be unfit ( Citizenship Act).
The end of military service is called “disarming”.
Debate about abolition and referendum
In the course of the Vienna election campaign in October 2010, Vienna’s mayor Michael Häupl ( SPÖ ) questioned conscription and called for a referendum on this. Greens , BZÖ and Team Stronach joined this demand, ÖVP and FPÖ want to maintain conscription. At the same time, the General Staff of the Austrian Armed Forces created various models for suspending conscription. On January 5, 2011, the courier reported that there were seven different models. The chief of the general staff , Edmund Entacher , denied the figures published by the courier on the same day and said the actual models would be published in the following two weeks.
In August 2012, ÖVP boss Michael Spindelegger announced that, contrary to its previous line, the ÖVP had agreed with the SPÖ on a referendum on the question of conscription. This took place on January 20, 2013. The voters should choose between the models propagated by the SPÖ (“Are you in favor of introducing a professional army and a paid voluntary social year?”) Or ÖVP (“Are you in favor of maintaining general conscription and community service?”). According to the official final result, 59.7% voted for the retention of compulsory military service and community service and 40.3% for a professional army.
In Switzerland , male citizens are subject to general service duty in accordance with Article 59 of the Federal Constitution . In paragraph 1 of this article, the constitution has provided for alternative civilian service since 1992 ( alternative civilian service ). For Swiss women, military service is voluntary. According to Art. 13 of the Military Act, military service usually lasts from 20 to 34 years of age (for team ranks, NCOs and officers up to first lieutenant). The obligated persons are called up for annual repetition courses until a grade-related number of creditable days is reached. For the team ranks this number is a maximum of 262 days (see Swiss Army ). There is no fixed upper limit for degrees from captain. In principle, they provide all the services of their classification formation. Captains are dismissed at the age of 42, staff officers (major, lieutenant colonel, colonel) at the age of 50 (cf. the Ordinance on Compulsory Military Service (VMDP)).
Failure to comply with compulsory military service is punishable according to Art. 81 ff. Of the Military Penal Act . Only since 1996 has it been possible for those obliged to do military service to do their military service as part of a civilian alternative service (alternative service).
In May 2011 the National Council rejected a parliamentary initiative by 117 votes to 53, which called for the suspension of general conscription.
In January 2012, the Group for a Switzerland without an Army (GSoA) submitted the federal popular initiative “Yes to the abolition of compulsory military service” . In the referendum on September 22, 2013, the initiative was rejected by 73.2% of the voters - as in previous votes.
Other countries (alphabetical)
Military service was abolished in Belgium in 1995.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
According to Federal Law No. 4375, there is a general conscription for male citizens. However, the actual practice is based on the personnel requirements of the armed forces, so that most Brazilians do not have to do military service.
In China, conscription takes two years. All male citizens who turn 18 before December 31 of any year can be recruited into active service. Students are exempt from compulsory military service, but women and men have to complete a basic course lasting several weeks on the campus of their respective university. Female citizens can be recruited into active service if the army needs them, according to the above provision.
The People's Liberation Army has a strength of 2.3 million soldiers in peacetime. However, more than 13 million young men reach military service each year. Due to China's huge population and the resulting large number of volunteers for the normal army, conscription has practically no meaning. All 18 year olds have to register with the authorities themselves. The main exception to this system are potential students (male and female) who must undergo military training (usually for a week or more) before their studies begin or, more often, one year after their studies have ended (§ 43 of the Military Service Act).
Every male Danish citizen is required to military service under Section 81 of the Danish Basic Law. Military service usually lasts four months. Only about 6,000 people (20% of the conscripts) per year are needed for the army. Sufficient volunteers have signed up for this in recent years. Otherwise, additional conscripts would be determined by lot.
In Finland there is general conscription for men between the ages of 18 and 60. Military or community service is to be performed by men between the ages of 18 and 30. After military service, men are in the reserve until they turn 60. Military service lasts 165, 255 or 347 days, community service lasts 347 days. Men who refuse to do both military and community service (so-called total objectors) face prison sentences of up to 181 days. Since 1995 women have also been able to do voluntary military service.
The Åland archipelago has demilitarized status, which is why residents with Åland Hembygdsrätt ( right of home ) who lived on Åland before they were 12 years old are exempt from military service. This right is only granted to Finnish nationals residing in Åland who either come from Åland or have lived there for a long time.
In France , loi 97-1019 came into force on November 8, 1997 , which provides for all French adolescents born after 1979, boys and girls, at home and abroad a preparation day for national defense ( Journée d'appel de préparation à la défense , JAPD) makes it mandatory. According to this, all young men born before 1980 would have had to do ten months of military service by the end of 2002. In a decree of the Council of Ministers of June 27, 2001, the end of the transition phase was brought forward by one year. The young people take part in it between their registration and their 18th birthday. In mid-2010 the day was renamed Journée défense et citoyenneté . In 2019, the Service national universel (SNU) or the General National Service was introduced, which will be performed as a one-month compulsory service for all citizens from 2021 . Some of the SNU can also be served in the military.
In Greece there is general conscription for men between 18 and 45 years of age, the military service period for conscripts is currently (2016) nine months. Widowed fathers or older brothers who are responsible for one or more minors are exempt from military service. For Greeks from abroad who were also born abroad, the military service period is only three months. Other Greeks living abroad, immigrants with a Greek passport and siblings in a family with six or more children are entitled to a period of military service reduced to six months. For the eldest brother of three siblings, for the two eldest brothers of four siblings, and for fathers it is nine months. There is no conscription for women, but they can join the military without restrictions.
Israel is one of the few countries in the world that actually calls up practically every conscript. While most countries do not even call in the majority of the conscripts for drafting, practically every adult in Israel is called up into the army , which is due to the precarious status of Israel as a country surrounded by hostile states. In addition, Israel is one of the few states that has extended conscription to both sexes. Here women are required to serve in the armed forces for at least two years, men have to serve 32 months.
However, there are a number of exceptions: all married women and all non-Jewish or pregnant women are exempt from military service; likewise Israeli Arabs ( Muslims and Christians , but not Druze ). So far, only women have been allowed to do their military service for reasons of conscience and to do alternative service (National Service). The refusal of military service by men is associated with social ostracism and often also with criminal proceedings; nevertheless, the trend is increasing.
When Israel was founded, the ultra-Orthodox Jews , then only a few hundred, were exempted from compulsory military service. Because they reject contraceptives and see it as a divine command to have as many children as possible, their number has risen sharply. This has led to social conflicts with the rest of the population. In 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that the exemption of ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service was unconstitutional. In March 2014 a law was passed that makes it a criminal offense if ultra-Orthodox do not obey their call-up. This decision was reversed in 2015; Ultra-Orthodox still do not need to do military service. In September 2017, this regulation was again rejected by the Supreme Court as not being in conformity with the constitution. A period of one year has been set to change them.
In Italy , conscription (and alternative civilian service) was suspended on July 1, 2005. At the same time, voluntary one-year military service was introduced. This is a prerequisite for further engagements with the army and for applications to the police , carabinieri and other security authorities. The “National Office for Civilian Service ” also offers one year of voluntary civilian service.
The government of Canada introduced conscription in 1917 (during the First ) and 1944 (during the Second World War ). Both times there were domestic political crises ( conscription crisis of 1917 and conscription crisis of 1944 ).
The Kosovo has on 17th February 2008 declared independent. The Kosovo Security Forces were established on January 21, 2009 . Since then there has been no conscription. In the times of Yugoslavia , a period of 18 months had to be passed.
In February 2015, it became known that due to the Ukraine crisis , Lithuania would temporarily reintroduce conscription for a period of five years after it had been abolished in 2008. The service will be nine months and around 3,500 citizens will be drafted into the Lithuanian army . A corresponding draft law was introduced and approved in parliament in March 2015.
In Luxembourg , compulsory military service was introduced after the Second World War in 1944 by a grand ducal order. The length of military service was reduced from 12 months to 9 months and finally 6 months. In 1967 compulsory military service was abolished and the grand ducal army was converted into a professional army. Many conscripts did their service as part of the occupation forces in Germany, mainly in Bitburg .
In Namibia and South West Africa , from August 1, 1980 until independence in 1990, men over the age of 18 were compulsory. They were drafted into the South West African Territory Force (SWATF) and used, among other things, to fight their own families, some of whom served as freedom fighters for the SWAPO ( People's Liberation Army of Namibia ).
In the Netherlands , conscription was suspended on May 1, 1997. It was not officially abolished.
In North Korea conscription is compulsory for all men. The service period is ten years.
In Norway , men and women aged 19 and over are required to serve, and the service period is currently twelve months. Every year around 10,000 conscripts are called up. Since 2009 women have also been obliged to be examined , but military service was initially voluntary. In October 2014, a change in the law was passed in parliament, according to which from 2015 all young people can be called up, regardless of whether they are men or women. The first conscript women were in the summer of 2016 convened . According to Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide , the goal is to increase the proportion of women ; the total number of soldiers should remain the same.
In autumn 2006, the Polish parliament decided to let the nine-month conscription in Poland expire in 2011 and to introduce a purely professional army in 2012 at the latest. This plan was once again accelerated by the government in 2008, so that since 2010 there have been no conscripts in the Polish army . Men of legal age must nevertheless appear at the military commission (Komisja wojskowa) and be registered so that they can be called up in the event of war. A medical examination is carried out after which it is determined to what extent one is at all suitable for military service.
Since 2007 the Romanian army has no longer been compulsory in peacetime. Romanian men still have to report when they turn 18, as in the event of war or siege, compulsory military service can be reintroduced between the ages of 20 and 35. In 2002, the length of military service was reduced from twelve to eight months. At the same time, university graduates only had to work five months instead of the previous six.
As of January 1, 2008, the length of service for conscripts in Russia was reduced to 12 months. It had previously been 24 months. The Constitution of the Russian Federation guarantees the right to conscientious objection to military service. Initially, the drafting authorities - u. a. because of the lack of executive laws - this right is often ignored. Service as a conscript in the Russian armed forces is considered difficult to bear to life-threatening and is therefore circumvented if possible, also with the help of corruption. For decades, the keyword “ Dedovshchina ” has stood for the abuses and criminal excesses common in the ranks of the military in Russia and other successor states of the Soviet Union (harassment, mistreatment, killings, real and simulated suicides) . A civil service law has existed since 2004, according to which alternative service, at 21 months, is almost twice as long as military service, is generally far from home and can also be performed as unarmed service in the armed forces. Academics only need to complete brief basic military training instead of regular military service. Service with the Soviet secret service KGB and the paramilitary troops of the Soviet Interior Ministry and their current Russian successor organizations was or is considered military service. Today only volunteers ("Kontraktniki") are sent to war missions. These “contract soldiers” can be roughly compared with the “voluntary long-term service” in the Bundeswehr.
In March 2017, Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist announced that Sweden would reintroduce conscription in July 2017. Those born after 1999 are affected. Of the 13,000 men and women affected, 4,000 are due to begin their eleven-month military service on July 1, 2017, depending on their skills and motivation. Conscription therefore only covers about 4% of a cohort. Sweden needs to expand its military capabilities because the security situation has changed. The background to this is fears of an increasing threat from Russia since the annexation of Crimea , the war in Ukraine and Russian military exercises on the border with the Baltic States.
Conscription for men, which had existed since 1901, was suspended in 2010. Most recently the military service was eleven months; 10 to 15% of a year were drafted to him.
The army was 2010-2017 a professional army (= time and professional soldiers on a voluntary basis). The troop strength was 15,000-20,000 men. In times of crisis, the Swedish government had the opportunity to reintroduce general conscription by resolution , for reasons of equality now also for women.
In Slovakia , general conscription was abolished a year and a half after joining NATO in 2005. In 2011 the military had 15,000 soldiers. That is a quarter of the number in 1993, the first year after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia . The armed forces have problems with the necessary recruitment of specialists, such as lawyers and doctors.
In Spain, conscription was abolished in 2001 because it was already very unpopular with adolescents and young adults. Spain had one of the highest refusal rates in the world.
South Africa abolished conscription in August 1994. During apartheid , only white males aged 16 and over were required to military service. The service period lasted several years and was not served one after the other, but took place with sometimes large intervals between the drafts. The conscripts were also used for service in the regular police force in the country and at times provided the majority of the police in the country. From 1984 the "End Conscription Campaign" existed, which achieved its goal after the first free and equal elections in 1994. It is estimated that in the 1980s around 50,000 South African (white) youths and young men left the country solely because of military service.
In South Korea, conscription is compulsory for all men between the ages of 18 and 28. The service period is two years. Women can be voluntarily recruited for active service or serve as reservists.
According to Art. 72 of the Turkish Constitution in conjunction with Art. 1 of the Military Service Act (Act No. 1111 of June 21, 1927), military service or so-called Fatherland Service ( vatan hizmeti ) is the right and, in particular, the duty of every male citizen . There is no provision for refusing military service for reasons of conscience or religion, cf. Art. 45 Military Criminal Code (Act No. 1632 of May 22, 1930). Military or community service that has already been completed, for example before naturalization, has been recognized since 1993 with the Council of Ministers decision 93/4613.
According to Art. 2 of the Military Service Act, compulsory military service begins on January 1st of the year in which the person turns 20 (year of birth plus 19). Conscription ends at the beginning of the year in which the 41st year of life begins (year of birth plus 40). Siblings or children of soldiers killed while on duty are not required to serve.
Since 15 July 2003, the regular military service for soldiers take (s) , 15 months for reserve officer candidate (yedek subay adayı) for 12 months and for short-term soldiers (kısa dönem s) 6 months.
For Turkish citizens who have been abroad for more than three years (1095 days), there is the option of reducing their military service to a total of 21 days with a one-off payment. For persons under 38 years of age the amount is 5,112 euros, for persons over 38 years of age it is 7,668 euros.
Military service is regulated by law in Ukraine and begins at the age of 18. Military service (legal obligation) lasts a total of nine months. The abolition of compulsory military service and the transition to a professional army should take place in 2014. Due to the “deterioration in the security situation in the east and south of the country”, men between the ages of 18 and 25 have had to do their military service again since May 2014.
In the United States , conscription was introduced on September 16, 1940. It expired after the Second World War in 1947, was reintroduced in the beginning of the Cold War in 1948 and suspended again in 1973. Previously, conscripts were also used on a large scale in wars, most recently in the Vietnam War . In this Selective Service System , military justice was never particularly important, also because of the oversupply of conscripts. In the years between the Korean and Vietnam War, only a fraction of the conscript population was drafted, but the service period was two years.
On December 1, 1969, the "selective military service system" of the United States carried out two lottery drawings, the so-called "draft lotteries", to determine the order of the young conscripts who had to take up arms in the context of the Vietnam conflict. This affected all conscripted men born between 1944 and 1950 and the recruits of the conscription years 04/1969 and 1970 were determined. By drawing the dates of birth of the conscripts, which were printed on blue plastic cards, the order of the conscription resulted. This drawing was carried out in 1942 according to a different principle ("oldest man first") and is still unique in the history of conscription in the United States.
All male residents between 18 and 25 years of age , including foreigners , had to register with the military registration authority (“ Selective Service System ”). Foreigners who were called up during wartime were allowed to refuse to serve, but they lost the possibility of naturalization for life. Young men have still had to register since 1980, but are no longer called up. A convocation is only planned in the event of a “national crisis”. Since 1986 the failure to register is no longer prosecuted; in the meantime, the relevant data from the driver's license registers are transferred “voluntarily” by the states.
In the United Kingdom , conscription was introduced during the two world wars . During the first two years of World War I , volunteers were still relied on until they were introduced in England , Scotland and Wales in 1916 , and in Ireland in August 1918 (where it was never used). After it was abolished again at the end of the war in 1918, the outbreak of World War II led to its reintroduction in 1939, with some of the conscripts, the so-called Bevin Boys , being obliged to work in coal mines. This time compulsory military service was retained after the end of the war, but transformed into the National Service in 1949 , which was abolished in 1961.
Conscription is compulsory in Cyprus . The length of military service in the National Guard used to be 26 months. It was shortened to 14 months; Defense exercises of 1–2 days per year are common. Even men of “Cypriot origin” born after 1960 without nationality , like all healthy men between 16 and 50, are required to do military service. A substitute service was introduced. Cypriots between 15 and 26 years of age need an exit visa to travel abroad.
In the army of the internationally unrecognized Republic of Northern Cyprus , the duration of military service is 24 months.
- Conscription in Germany
- History of the Bundeswehr
- Military service
- White vintage
- Total refusal
- Women in the military
- Classification system
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