American Forces in Germany: Security Symbol, Loyalty Warrant or Excessive Luxury?

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-3-60-72
I. Istomin (, 
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation

Acknowledgements. The research was carried out at the expense of a grant from the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 17-78-20170 “Typology of Modern Military-Political Alliances and Model of Russia’s Relations with Allies”). 

Abstract. The article discusses the dynamics of the US military presence in Germany through the evolution of American foreign policy. The article presents data on the quantitative presence of the American army in Germany and assesses the impact of various incentives to change the size of the American contingent and their comparison. The presence of the US armed forces in Germany is one of the most striking examples of the long-term deployment of foreign troops on the territory of a major power. In terms of the duration and size of the contingent, it is comparable only to the deployment of American troops in Japan. In both countries, foreign troops played an occupying role after the end of World War II. In the future, the American contingent remained in them already as an ally. At the same time, in the case of Germany, the presence of foreign military personnel was combined with the creation of an efficient and relatively large army. For a long time, Tokyo was limited only by compact self-defense forces. The presence of independent capabilities to ensure security is often a prerequisite for pursuing an independent policy and encourages the refusal to deploy a contingent of another state on its territory. It is all the more surprising that in the FRG the question of the withdrawal of US forces was never seriously raised. On the contrary, the German leadership has repeatedly expressed concern about the possibility of reducing the American presence. In this it was very different from the Japanese establishment, in which the expediency of maintaining allied relations with the United States was sometimes critically assessed. The authors conclude that ensuring the loyalty of the German leadership was not associated with the size of Washington’s military presence on the territory of Germany. The buildup of the American contingent in the Federal Republic of Germany was influenced by fears around external threats, the correlation of conventional and nuclear deterrence in the US strategy and the desire to reduce military costs.

Keywords: USA, Germany, Bundeswehr, US forces, security, occupation


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For citation:
Istomin I., Sokolov A. American Forces in Germany: Security Symbol, Loyalty Warrant or Excessive Luxury?. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 3, pp. 60-72.

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