This chapter provides an analysis of the changes that German defence has undergone since 1990. Two developments shaped German defence after the end of the cold war: First, the German armed forces changed owing to a radical downsizing, the end of conscription, and the modernization of equipment. Secondly, the style of German defence policy changed from reactive and norm-based in the 1990s to assertive, interest-based, and executive in the 2010s. The culture of military restraint—for decades a characteristic trait of German defence—waned. German military deployments abroad became more frequent and more serious. The leadership position Germany had taken in Europe during the Euro crisis and during the Ukraine conflict, as well as a domestic window of opportunity stemming from a favourable majority for the government parties in the parliament, serve as explanations for a more assured formulation of national security interests.
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