Home » today » News » Daniel Hornuff on the Bundeswehr: “An aesthetic demilitarization of the military” | BR culture stage

Daniel Hornuff on the Bundeswehr: “An aesthetic demilitarization of the military” | BR culture stage

Mars makes mobil”. Happy are those who had a childhood in which mobilization was only associated with a candy bar. Times are different now: The Bundeswehr is trying to recruit the urgently needed personnel, soldiers, with advertising clips. That seems obvious to the the rather questionable state of the once-vaunted strong troops to be sorely needed.A conversation with the cultural scientist Daniel Hornuff about the media offensive of the Bundeswehr on YouTube.

Knut Cordsen: Under the Rubrum “Career barracks” makes the Bundeswehr For a few weeks now, there has been advertising on YouTube to apply, for example, as an NBC weapon defense specialist or as a Eurofighter pilot. What I find interesting about these video clips is that national defense and a secure job are brought together here. The tenor is always the same: “Come to us. We guarantee you a permanent” – one is almost tempted to say “bombproof” – “job and for that you work on maintaining our security, national security”. “Professionals of security”: The future soldiers are also addressed as such. And then there’s a sentence like “Your talent makes Germany safe”. That’s quite an interesting connection that’s being opened up, isn’t it?

Daniel Hornuff: You can definitely say that, precisely because the motive of security is so central here and is played out in two ways: job security on the one hand, and national security on the other. Nevertheless, such a campaign is not entirely surprising, because it is part of a general need for security. When a world, one’s own life, increasingly falls into crises, something like security comes back as a value. It seems to me that a campaign like the one being run here by the Bundeswehr picks up on this value and presents it as worthwhile and attractive.

Men and women are addressed equally, and in one of these commercials a service soldier says the nice sentence: “Go shooting, the marches… that’s fun.” Do you really win new soldiers with this kind of stuff?

Service soldier Sophia |  CareerBarracks Country |  Image: Bundeswehr Exclusive (via YouTube)

Staff Soldier Sophia | Career Barracks Land

I cannot answer empirically whether such a campaign is actually successful. What one can perhaps say, however, is that an aesthetic and also a performance is shown here that is basically not set up militarily at all, but rather comes across as more pacifist. It’s about something like joie de vivre, having experiences, getting good feelings, also developing yourself. Individualism is hailed here as a sub-value of this pinnacle of security. And these are things that show that an aesthetic demilitarization of the military is taking place here. It seems to me that many of the campaigns that have been played out in recent years – well, we remember slogans like “Gas, water, shoot” or “For us it’s about progressing, not just standing still” – rather a Address Jochen Schweizer-like experience dimensions of the Bundeswehr. But if you then look at the photo campaigns and photo appearances, the aesthetics that are shown are almost bachelor party. It’s about an attitude to life that is modern, that is open, that is not dangerous at all – and that should present this employer as desirable and attractive.

A Smutje, that is, a ship’s cook, once said in one of these advertising videos: “The Bundeswehr offers us the opportunity to reconcile family, work and camaraderie.” It is remarkable that the Bundeswehr, like any normal employer nowadays, values ​​the work-life balance. Although when in doubt, his or her mission is: to fight in the war. It’s even reversed for the 100,000 views “Demanded” videos of the Bundeswehr, in which generals no longer address the viewers, but address the viewers in a completely gender-neutral manner. To put it bluntly, while society argues about heavy weapons, the military pretends to be extremely civilized. A lot has obviously changed over the past few years, hasn’t it?

Cultural scientist Daniel Hornuff Screenshot of their campaign: career barracks |  Image: Daniel Hornuff/ https://www.karrierekaserne.de/home

Certainly something has changed. The Bundeswehr has – if you will – also opened up communicatively to the present day. But what is striking is that an essential dimension of the military is simply not shown here. If you address these “requested” interviews, then they seem to me like Günter Netzer conversations after some soccer games. So tactics are discussed again – tank formations are discussed. What is cheap now, how to build advances? How do advances get into uncertainties? How can they enforce their interests with military means? You sit in a warm studio and it is then analyzed from afar – which in turn also coincides with productions that we are currently getting to know from the tabloid press. Here, too, moderators sometimes stand in front of large screens and analyze individual fight scenes. This shows me once again that this is not the military per se, but in principle, as you have also outlined and explained, a civilized form of the aesthetic dimension of the military, i.e. a demilitarization of the military.

What is striking in the course of the Russian war against Ukraine is the enormous Improved image of military experts. Political scientist Carlo Masala for example from the local university of the Bundeswehr has gained tens of thousands of new followers since the beginning of the invasion, whom he dutifully thanked on Twitter. He sits on talk shows just like retired NATO commanders, generals. Then there are successful ones Podcasts like “To be on the safe side” for example, where questions of tactics are discussed. Paradoxically, the expert talk about military tactics is extremely popular in a largely pacified society, which is probably why the Ukraine war is so disturbing.

I’ve taken the trouble to look at the comments below these videos, and almost all of them are enthusiastic and filled with gratitude. So obviously these videos meet with a broad interest within the population. You thank the actors in the videos for bringing the military closer to you, for introducing you to the world, and for perhaps reducing fears, worries, reservations, perhaps even resentment. It is repeatedly quoted that a few years ago this saying went through social media in particular: “Now when I sit on the train next to a person dressed in military clothing, I feel uncomfortable…” – somehow in an oppressive situation. Videos like this would have dissolved that and you would have gotten a more positive picture of the Bundeswehr. And that in turn is combined with further insights, maybe also hopes, maybe also projections to the effect that one says: “Well, our prosperity, our peace, our coexistence, our values… that’s nothing to be taken for granted, it’s something , which must also be defended.” And that is also reflected in these comments and reactions, that one is actually grateful to the Bundeswehr for the fact that they can perhaps be a guarantor to be able to live the life that we want to live.

The conversation took place in the kulturWelt, which you here listen and subscribe.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.