Beginning next year, German soldiers will be able to undertake house-to-house fighting and preparation for domestic Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) operations “in the most realistic environment” (Defence Ministry), on a mega-property costing more than 140 million euros. “Schnöggersburg”, as the urban environment is dubbed, “presents typical elements of an urban conurbation in order to optimally prepare soldiers for deployments in built-up areas,” said the Bundeswehr in its official invitation to the press.
The Bundeswehr took possession last Thursday of part of this artificial town north of Magdeburg, which will form the “Army Combat Training Centre” (GÜZ). Schnöggersburg is an “urban conurbation” with more than 500 buildings, 300 cabins, sports facilities, bridges, an industrial area, an old town with a marketplace, a government district, a slum and a sacred building. In addition, it includes an airfield, a sewage system, a two-lane highway and a 350-metre-long underground line, the only subway system in Saxony-Anhalt.
“What is being created here is certainly unique,” boasted the parliamentary secretary of state of the Defence Ministry, Markus Grübel, in his welcome speech about the enormous dimensions of the project. “These first parts of the urban conurbation, which today are being handed over to the Combat Training Centre of the Army on schedule, find nothing comparable in the type of construction and size, certainly in Europe.”
Lieutenant-General Frank Leidenberger left no doubt as to what the Bundeswehr is preparing in Schnöggersburg: “The missions of the past have taught us that the environment in which we may have to fight is no longer open space but urban areas.” So it is “only logical and consistent that if parliament sends our soldiers on a mission, we give them appropriate realistic training opportunities.”
What “missions” Leidenberger has in mind is shown by the most recent decisions of the outgoing federal government. After a one-week break, the Bundeswehr resumed training for Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq last week. Recently, the Peshmerga, with their German “instructors”, participated in the bloody battle of Mosul against ISIS, in which thousands of civilians were brutally murdered.
German imperialism is planning similar efforts to enforce its economic and geopolitical interests in Africa and Central Asia. In its last cabinet meeting, the current federal government initiated a short-term extension of the Bundeswehr’s foreign missions in Mali and Afghanistan. In addition, the ministers of the outgoing grand coalition decided to present the temporary extension of the Bundeswehr missions in Syria and Iraq, as well as in Sudan and South Sudan, to the newly elected Bundestag.
In addition to their brutal campaigns around the world, the ruling class is openly preparing to use the military to suppress social protests at home. For example, a document from the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies, titled “What ambitions for European Defence 2020”, sees the task of future military operations, inter alia, as “shielding the global rich from the tensions and problems of the poor.”
“As the proportion of the world population living in misery and frustration will remain massive, the tensions and spillover between their world and that of the rich will continue to grow,” it continues. “Technology is shrinking the world into a global village, but it is a village on the verge of revolution. While we have an increasingly integrated elite community, we also face increasingly explosive tensions from the poorer strata below.”
Since the paper was published in 2009 in English, with a foreword by then-EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Javier Solana, social inequality in Germany and Europe has continued to increase. While an ever-greater part of humanity fights for sheer survival, a small upper class lives in the lap of luxury. On Thursday last week, a study by the Swiss bank UBS and the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed that 117 billionaires live in Germany alone. Worldwide, the number of billionaires rose by 10 percent last year to 1,542 and their total assets by 17 percent to $6 trillion.
With their “lighthouse project Schnöggersdorf” (Leidenberger), the ruling class is preparing for the inevitable coming revolutionary struggles. Already in the spring, the survey ”Generation what?” carried out by the European Broadcasting Union revealed that a new generation of young people is being radicalized, is rejecting the right-wing policies of all established parties and is willing to fight against them. For example, 78 percent of young people in Germany complained that they could observe growing nationalism. More than two-thirds of young people said they were not prepared to fight for Germany in a war. More than half would, however, participate in a “major uprising against those in power.”
Under these conditions, the preparation for civil war against the population is supported by all parties of the ruling class. The governing parties in Saxony-Anhalt, a coalition of the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats and the Greens, have handed over “Schnöggersburg” to the Bundeswehr with great ceremony. The Left Party is not demanding that the training grounds for civil war be closed, but that a “civilian aid corps” may be trained there that can be “deployed in natural or emergency humanitarian disasters. Already last September, the Left Party parliamentary group organized a joint meeting with the former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Harald Kujat, who has long been an advocate of the deployment of the Bundeswehr at home.