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Old November 21st, 2012, 07:10 PM   #1
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Does Germany have the strength today, to take over Europe again?


We can all agree most likely that Germany is the number 1 economical power in Europe right now and if they weren't so modest with their army, they could also very well be the best military power. Will Germany just like in WW1 and WW2 again have the strength today to face all Europe? Or does Germany finally reached it's limit and will go down the road of decay instead of continuously reviving?
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Old November 21st, 2012, 07:29 PM   #2

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We can all agree most likely that Germany is the number 1 economical power in Europe right now and if they weren't so modest with their army, they could also very well be the best military power. Will Germany just like in WW1 and WW2 again have the strength today to face all Europe? Or does Germany finally reached it's limit and will go down the road of decay instead of continuously reviving?
In this fantasy scenario It would all depend upon whether or not they could defeat France. I would say the answer is a very big resounding no, Germany could not. Their demographic superiority over France has been greatly reduced and France probably has Europe's biggest and best military. If not, the UK holds this title, and there is no way Germany could beat them both. They would need a stroke of incredible luck exceeding that of May 1940 ten fold. Germany is also surrounded by a more powerful neighbors like today's Poland.

To top it off the UK or France could simply drop a nuke on Germany and the game would be over within the week.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 07:34 PM   #3

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We and what army?

Nope I don't think so, the most important reason would be that there would be no support for a war whatsoever and couldn't as easily fabricated like in the beginning of the 20th century or in the 1930s.

Also we lack nukes. As Mike Lynch pointed out.

Last edited by Stephy; November 21st, 2012 at 08:05 PM.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 08:00 PM   #4
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I find it a little disheartening that you are automatically assuming that France and/or the U.K. would use nuclear weapons against Germany that casually.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 08:55 PM   #5

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
We can all agree most likely that Germany is the number 1 economical power in Europe right now and if they weren't so modest with their army, they could also very well be the best military power. Will Germany just like in WW1 and WW2 again have the strength today to face all Europe? Or does Germany finally reached it's limit and will go down the road of decay instead of continuously reviving?
In terms of economic power, Germany is rapidly becoming a world leader. The number of ads you seen in America for Volkswagen is a sign of that, and in Europe, outside of Russia, Germany's economy is the strongest.

In terms of conventional military power, the Bundeswehr is actually a fairly powerful force. Their total military strength is 396,433 personel for all services, counting their reserves. By comparison, France's military strength counting reserves and civilian personel is 439,762. Not too much higher then Germany's. However, Germany has more people available for military service if required. In addition, Germany's Main Battle Tank, the Leopard II is one of the best tanks in the world and born out of the same program that has birthed the American M1A1 Abrams. And to my knowledge, the Leopard II (though in the hands of different NATO nations) has actually acquitted itself fairly well in combat. Now, while France's main tank, the LeClerc is also a good tank on paper, it has not been deployed into real action that I know off. So, in the conventional sense, if properly lead, the German military could dominate its European neighbors.

However, the tide rapidly flips when you get into other factors.

Germany posseses no nuclear arsenal. They have the capacity to create them, but have chosen not to. France and Britain both have their own independent nuclear arsenals, and it is unlikely that Germany would risk provoking the French or British into nuking them.

Also, Germany has learned the lesson of trying to dominate its neighbors. The last time they tried, was under Hitler, and he got Germany destroyed, occupied by foreign powers, and politically divided for 50 years. The German people do not want that to happen again. My folks even heard that from a German citizen when my dad was stationed in Germany in the late 80s. In addition, Germany's constitution, known as Basic Law, forbids the German military to leave German soil unless Germany is attacked, or throught the NATO alliance, if a NATO ally is attacked. It is through the "NATO" exception that German troops went into Bosnia and are currently serving in Afghanistan. Other then that, the German military is constitutionally forbidden to invade another country. To my knowledge, France and Britain do not have those limitations on their own military.

And finally, Germany is a member of NATO and the EU. And since the fall of the Soviet Union, many former Soviet Bloc states have joined NATO and the EU. As a result Germany is now allied with most of Europe, including France and Britain, and through NATO with the US and Canada. As such, Germany has no need to dominate it's neighbors.

And so because of the nuclear strength of France and Britain, because of the changes in German politics since WW2, and the overall geo-political position of Europe today, it is unlikely that Germany would even attempt to "dominate" Europe.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 10:48 PM   #6

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I don't think they have to take over Europe "in the military sense"...

I think its far more profound to take over Europe rather "Economically"....A bailout for the most troubled EU countries will spell further German dominance.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 10:57 PM   #7

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
We can all agree most likely that Germany is the number 1 economical power in Europe right now and if they weren't so modest with their army, they could also very well be the best military power. Will Germany just like in WW1 and WW2 again have the strength today to face all Europe? Or does Germany finally reached it's limit and will go down the road of decay instead of continuously reviving?

No, they dont do that anymore, this is the new modern Germany. Trying to conquer Europe is so last century.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 11:19 PM   #8

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I don't think they have to take over Europe "in the military sense"...

I think its far more profound to take over Europe rather "Economically"....A bailout for the most troubled EU countries will spell further German dominance.
Maybe, but according to the news reports the Germans themselves were opposed to bailing out the countries that were truly troubled...
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 12:11 AM   #9

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Maybe, but according to the news reports the Germans themselves were opposed to bailing out the countries that were truly troubled...
There has to be some opposition ofcourse, but I think the benefits for Germany in terms of its position in Europe is present....the bailout is just one manifestation of it....
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 12:29 AM   #10

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I am convinced that the most attractive idea for most Germans is to be a big Switzerland. Living in peace with its neighbors, doing business, staying neutral in world conflicts. There is no wish at all for any dominance over Europe, neither political nor economical. The idea of military dominance is anyway all but obsolete after two lost world wars and the subsequent disrespect for anything military in Germany.

In comparison to the UK or France, Germany's military is weak, and most people in Germany are OK with that and are happy with the proposed additional cuts in the defense budget. According to the SIPRI yearbook 2012 (as cited in Wikipedia), the military expenditure as percentage of GDP is 4.7 for the US, 2.6 for the UK, 2.3 for France, and 1.3 for Germany. In my opinion, 1.3% is still way too much during peace time and we should aim at below 1% or even 0.5%. Germany does not have an imperial past like the two leading European powers. Military operations are extremely unpopular in Germany and in my opinion should be restricted to what is absolutely necessary.

The demographics of Germany are also very unfavorable in comparison to the UK and France. Germany is an aging society and will probably be overtaken by the UK and France in terms of population size by 2050. That is not necessarily a bad thing - most people in Germany are anyway not interested in the relative power of their country, but in maintaining peace and living standards.

The economy of Germany looks strong right now, but that could change in a matter of years if Germany does not manage to get out of the current European mess. Instead of confronting the competition with rising powers such as China or Brazil, Germany at the moment is busy in interfering with the economic problems of Southern Europe. However, that is not its business, and if the hundreds of billions of guarantees so naively given out by the Merkel government will have to be payed, it will destroy Germany's wealth and drag down its economy. In any case, the German economy is highly dependent on exports and imports, thus only strong in cooperation with other countries.

Political leadership is traditionally weak in Germany. The diplomatic service is clumsy and no comparison to the French art of diplomacy. Often, the real interests of Germany are not recognized by its government - like in the current crisis, where Merkel's stupid interference in other countries' matters by handing out money and advice promotes the hatred against Germany which is anyway present allover Europe since WWII.

In summary, Germany in no way could dominate Europe, neither politically nor militarily. The only current strength of Germany, its economy, is highly interdependent and requires the cooperation of other countries.
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