4:50 in the morning. Pfreimd, in the middle of the Upper Palatinate. In the barracks in Bavaria, the men are ready to go to Lithuania. It is a NATO operation to protect the border between Russia and Belarus. Nine tanks have to be transported from Eastern Bavaria to Lithuania – this is no small matter, as we learn from the ARD documentary “NATO – Who will protect Europe?” Also because the location is only 130 kilometers from the Russian border.

How well is Germany prepared for war?

NATO turns 75 years old. It has 32 members. It does not have its own army, but relies on the military of the member states. The exciting first film by Friederike Rohmann and David Holland focuses on Germany. How well positioned is the Bundeswehr on defense? What if the US leaves? So who will protect us? A possible attack on a NATO country would lead to the disintegration of the alliance. This is regulated by Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.

Dilapidated bridges, long procurement of materials

Nine tanks should go to Oberpfalzkaserne Street. One of them weighs 60 tons. You have to keep your distance, because only one military vehicle can pass through the bridges at a time. Fortunately, Germany was at peace for too long. But now it is clear: Germany's infrastructure is seriously weakened. And get spare parts for the Bundeswehr? Experts say it will take weeks.

The German tanks will go two days longer to Lithuania because the railway is on strike

Lt. Gen. Alexander Sollfrank reports further trouble. When moving troops from one country to another, various delays must be taken into account: “different forms, customs regulations, animal disease prophylaxis”. It sounds crazy. But this is just the beginning. F. Ben Hodges was the Supreme Commander of US Ground Forces in Europe until 2017. In addition to slow procurement measures, he realized “very naively at first”, as he says: “We are dependent on Deutsche Bahn.” Now it is often difficult for a single person to get from Frankfurt to Munich by train. But how does it work when there are multiple war machines to ride on the tracks? For a unit from Bavaria, loading a tank took two days longer than planned – due to a train driver's strike. That's weird.

Leftist politics has always said: no guns, no conscription

Political scientist Christian Mölling explains the poor state of the German army. “Politicians are trapped in their old worlds.” For decades it was thought, “We don't need guns, we don't need conscription.” Now it turns out they were wrong. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius now wants “war capability”. Expert Mölling says: “Pistoris still has a long way to go to take the Germans with him.” This can also be seen in the current study. If 73 percent of Poles would be ready to fight for their country in case of war, in Germany this figure is only 43 percent. Terrifying. And then there is the lack of materials. While Munich-based KNDS (formerly Krauss-Maffei Wegmann) used to produce one tank a day, now it's only 40-50 tanks a year – and they don't even have uniform standards because each country has different technology priorities.

English still needs to be practiced in Lithuania – but thanks, everyone understands it

The Pfreimd soldiers have now arrived in Lithuania, as I said, initially without tanks. At the same time, they practice commands in English. There is still a problem. Many times someone turns in the wrong direction. A colonel on the ground sees the mission as: “Now we're giving back the security we've experienced before.” It is well received by the Lithuanian population. He has often experienced Lithuanians approaching him in a friendly way and saying, “Thank you for your service!” But he also says, “I've never experienced that in Germany!”

Donald Trump no longer wants to help – America First!

According to the NATO agreement, each member state must spend two percent of its gross domestic product on defense. Germany – like many others – does not. If Donald Trump were to become US president again in November, things could quickly look bad for Europe. Because if you don't pay, you might not get support in case of war.

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