Professional Soldiers and Citizens in Uniform: Some Thoughts on Innere Führung from a Transatlantic Perspective
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Innere Führung should remain the professional code of all German soldiers especially at a time of upheaval in the German nation, on the European continent, and beyond. The record of leadership, command, morale, ethics, and obedience among the soldiers of the Western alliance since September 11, 2001, has become ensnarled in various civil-military interpretations of how soldiers have managed irregular warfare and counterinsurgency campaigns now and in the past. This debate gives rise to the well-meaning, if frequently facile, arguments by some who, in the face of jihadist violence and “hybrid war,” would junk Innere Führung as a nostalgic absurdity. Instead, the times call for more, not less, Innere Führung, adapted and modernized to continue the German legacy of soldiers in democracy among young combat veterans unsure of their place in state and society in the wake of their experience of irregular warfare in Afghanistan and elsewhere. For anyone familiar with the history of theBundeswehr and its almost forgotten origins, the story ofInnere Führung comprises the accounts of its critics and the misunderstandings that either consciously or unconsciously surround this ideal of soldierly professionalism in the FRG. These core principles of command, obedience, and ethics rightly emphasize the remarkable trinity of political purpose, constitutional essentials, and soldierly command and discipline in the blast of fighting, anger, and hatred native to war and political violence in its variety.
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