by Stephan Jockheck
Not unlike the recent report Filling the ranks on the recruitment problems of the British Army shows for the UK, the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) struggle badly to meet their recruitment goals and to fulfill the “Trendwende Personal” (the turnaround in the personnel strength) as proclaimed by the German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen. Last year the recruitment department of the Bundeswehr tried a new way of targeting especially young people on YouTube. With a series of 59 episodes called Die Rekruten (The Recruits) YouTube users followed a couple of German Navy recruits through their basic training at the German Navy Technical School.
The series was widely criticised for not showing the serious implications of military service. Two weeks ago, the new series MALI on the deployment of German forces with the United Nations mission MINUSMA in Mali started as a sequel. But does the new series give a realistic impression of the challenges and risks of being a German soldier today and why should this be a requirement for a YouTube series?