Internationally the pressure on Germany has been mounting to send more troops to conflict zones. Lately, Barack Obama called for more German troops to Afghanistan and also for these to be sent to the fighting zones in the Southern provinces.
Gordon Brown is also fighting for his political survival. Since he became Prime Minister, Labour has lost every election possible. One of Gordon Browns strongest promises was to withdraw the troops before Christmas 2007 from Iraq in particular, but an end to the military intervention in Afghanistan has also been expected [ BBC Forum: Should British troops be in Afghanistan ?]. [ Most people want troops to pull out.] As George Bush is also under pressure to withdraw troops but there is no military success in sight, the obvious plan is to replace Anglo-American troops with military forces of other countries, such as an increase of the German army in Afghanistan.
But the German public is not supportive of these plans, although the German president seems to be keen to behave as a willing idiot to the US and UK interests.
The German ambassador tried to justify the non-combatant position in spring on BBC Radio 4, which closed the discussion down for a bit; though the Guardian provided unexpected pacifist support by declaring the German army as too fat to be of any use.
So lately, the German army tried to boost public support by initiating ceremonies in public places, including the square in front of the parliament in Berlin, which meant it was the first army ceremony there since the ones during the Hitler regime. Other ceremonies were held in Cologne and, for the first time in 30 years in Nuremberg, where major tourist attractions were closed because of security concerns.
Luckily protests accompanied the ceremonies.