The German Army has come under fire for unethical recruitment practices following adverts it placed in a teen magazine and on its YouTube channel.
‘Action, Adrenaline, Adventure!’ the adverts claim. ‘The challenge of your life is waiting! Army Adventure Camps 2012.’ So says the slogan – against a dance music soundtrack – the German Army is using in a video on the YouTube channel of Bravo, Germany's most popular youth magazine.
The video offers 'free' trips to the beaches of Sardinia or the mountains of Berchtesgaden, where the adventure camps are being held.
Bravo’s 12-19-year-old audience can also read about ‘Michael and his mule’ – an interview with a soldier who has the ‘really cool’ job of caring for pack mules, or check out the ‘crazy sports’ they themselves can try at the adventure camps.
After the end of mandatory military service in Germany last year, the army is looking for new ways to recruit young people to voluntarily sign up.
However, with sensitivities still raw, provoking many to conjure up memories of Hitler Youth, defence spokesperson for the Green Party, Agnieszka Brugger, was quoted in the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, calling the recruitment strategy "unacceptable”.
Defending the ads, Ulrich Karsch, director of army recruitment in East Germany, told The Daily Telegraph that as well as “war games”, organisers staged long talks with veteran soldiers, who described their wartime experiences.
"We try to present a realistic picture of the Bundeswehr," insisted Karsch.