Veterans – a new social group

Michael Daxner/Robert Clifford Mann

 

Veterans will constitute a new social group in German society. This phenomenon has not yet been sufficiently investigated. Two hypotheses will be elaborated: 1) Veterans will be a growing and sustainable social group that will gain in importance and impact on peace and intervention discourses. Policies will have to change consequentially. 2) Veterans will compete with civilian returnees from out-of-area missions. Both fight for recognition and influence separately, or the two groups will merge and become a larger and more complex element of society. Veterans are part of the political normalization of Germany in a security oriented context; the nation’s position within the EU, NATO and UN as well as in bilateral relations will be challenged. Our essay will shed a light on the theme from the assumption that the homeland discourse will normatively structure the debate on out-of-area missions of the Bundeswehr, the German army. Legitimacy is at stake, and thus veterans will be given positive or negative leeway to establish themselves as a distinct social group in Germany.