German military intelligence has investigated around 1,200 cases of suspected right-wing extremism in the army over the last four years, according to figures released by the German Ministry of Defence.
In response to a parliamentary question from the Free Democrat parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the Ministry revealed that the Military Shield Service (MAD) carried out investigations against 1,173 soldiers and 83 civil servants of the Bundeswehr with a “right-wing extremism connection” between January 1 and November 29, 2019.
Military intelligence investigated 208 Bundeswehr officers on suspicion of right-wing and fascist attitudes, 34 of whom were brought before a military disciplinary court and a disciplinary sentence was imposed on another officer, reports Der Standard.
In addition to the proceedings against the officers, the secret service investigated 425 non-commissioned officers and 531 team ranks. Of the investigations, a total of 147 cases were brought before the military disciplinary court. In 57 cases, simple disciplinary measures “were imposed for right-wing extremist offenses”.
In January 2019 it was reported that an officer in the elite Special Forces Command, who had served several tours of duty in Afghanistan, was to be expelled from his post after the counterintelligence services were tipped off that he was a right-wing extremist.
Two other soldiers in the Special Forces Command were also accused of flashing the illegal Nazi salute at a private party hosted by the first suspect.
In 2017, an army lieutenant was arrested for planning a terrorist attack in Germany while posing as a Syrian refugee.
Investigations have since revealed the possibility of an underground network within the army that is planning for “Day X,” when Germany’s government will lose control and the army will take over.
A Europol report last year found that international extremist movements such as Hammerskins, Soldiers of Odin, Combat 18 and Blood & Honour were actively seeking to recruit members from among army personnel and police forces around Europe.
“…members of extremist far-right groups are attempting to win over members from the military and security services in order to learn their expertise in the area of surveillance and combat readiness.” the report said.