chapter  7
21 Pages

The Continental Commitment: Britain's Forces in Germany

WithOlaf Mager

The military threat to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had been the overriding criterion for the maintenance of British forces in Germany, while political and psychological considerations added to the importance of Britain's continental commitment—sometimes even overshadowing the commitment's military rationale. This chapter elaborates upon the differences between Britain's continental commitment and that of the other stationing countries. The Navy lobby in particular attempted to redress the balance between the maritime presence and the continental commitment in its own favor. Taking account of the necessity to provide a contribution toward the defense of NATO, it argued that a new division of labor should be implemented, and proposed a specialization of tasks, with Britain's niche being found in maritime defense, the country's longstanding role. In the category of political motivation, a British withdrawal would have resulted in Germany's already substantial defense contribution becoming, if only in relative terms, even more important for NATO.