Arms Under the Maple Leaf: Canadian Forces in West Germany

Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, "Ruestung Unterm Ahornblatt - Die Kanadischen Streitkraefte in Baden-Wuerttemberg", Forschungsinstitut fuer Friedenspolitik, 1988, 8130 Starnberg, Uhdestr. 2, 60pp.

By Hans Sinn (reviewer)

This accurate and up-to-date study of the Canadian Armed Forces in West Germany was commissioned by the Greens in the Municipal Council of Lahr and produced by the Starnberg Peace Research Institute. The study traces more than 40 years of history of Canadian troops in general region of Lahr and their (mostly negative) impact on the natural and social environment.

Ruestung Unterm Ahornblat is a functional account of, the structure, function, and place of the Canadian Armed Forces in the dense military network which covers all of Germany. Even when the study talks about our tanks ploughing under farmers' fields, the constant screech of our fighter planes and the ongoing encroachment of our military on scarce civilian lands, it does so matter of factly.

The study notes that the Tories in 1985 with Erik Nielson as Minister of Defence, anticipated the NDP and developed a plan for the withdrawal of our troops from Germany. The plan failed largely due to the resistence of Manfred Woerner, the then West German Minister of Defence, now head of NATO.

The study, almost sadly, concludes that unilateral withdrawal of our professional and (relatively) well disciplined troops would achieve little. Under the present circumstances our troops would merely be replaced by the even less desirable American, French or British troops.

Unfortunately, this does not make the Greens and the people of the Lahr region any happier. For our government, under the pressure of the German Minister of Defence (with a record of trying to equip the Bundewher with nuclear weapons), has reversed itself completely since 1985. Instead of reducing our military presence in West Germany, our government seems to be preparing an expansion of our Air Force contingent.

Ruestung Unterm Ahornblatt makes interesting reading and anyone with a professional interest in defence and foreign policy matters might feel well rewarded for the effort of tackling the language barrier. p

Peace Magazine Aug-Sep 1988

Peace Magazine Aug-Sep 1988, page 23. Some rights reserved.

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