A report by the German interior ministry leaked to the German press reveals plans for a new German civil defence strategy. The report, as quoted by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the German newspaper, includes plans for stockpiling supplies in the event of a national emergency. According to FAZ, the ‘population will be obliged’ to stockpile food for 10 days and water for 5 days, although it is not clear whether such proposals would be legally binding. This ‘Concept for Civil Defence’ will also reportedly urge German residents to keep supplies of medicine, torches, batteries, warm blankets and cash amongst other necessities.

It also includes plans to boost stocks of smallpox vaccine and antibiotics and to set up decontamination sites outside hospitals, in the event of nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) attacks. FAZ also claims that the report included measures to increase civilian backing of troops, strengthen buildings and increase the ability of the healthcare system to cope with a greater capacity of patients.

Cold War measures

The report is also quoted as saying that although ‘an attack on German territory, requiring conventional defence of the nation, is unlikely’, a major security threat could not be ruled out. The report, which will go before ministers on Wednesday (24th August), comes as the German interior minister calls for German citizens with dual nationality who fight for a terror group to be stripped of their German citizenship.

Johannes Dimroth, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, has called the proposed measures a long-planned update to a government paper last revised in 1995, rather than a reaction to current security concerns. Indeed, FAZ claims that the report was first commissioned by a parliamentary committee in 2012.

'Scaremongering' of the German people

However, despite the report not been officially announced, it has already attracted criticism. Dietmar Barsch, the parliamentary head of Die Linke, a democratic socialist party, has denounced the plans as scaremongering, claiming that they will ‘completely unsettle people’. The government has rejected such accusations.

These proposed measures will be the next step in a series including plans to increase spending on police and security forces and to create a special unit to counter cyber-crime and terrorism. This strategy will nonetheless be the first of its kind since the Cold War, when West Germany, as it was then, feared that it would be on the frontline in the event of a conventional war with the Soviet Union. Indeed, the government still maintains stockpiles of food in secret locations in the event of a national emergency.