(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Rick Noack · WORLD, EUROPE · Jul 12, 2018 - 5:23 PM
BERLIN - For more than half a century, the deployment of U.S. troops to Germany appeared to be a mutually beneficial relationship. Americans defended their national interests in Europe and beyond, while U.S. soldiers considered being stationed in Germany an attractive gig, with tourist capitals like Paris, London or Berlin just a few hours away.
Germans, meanwhile, benefited from the security the Americans provided and the economic boost to towns near U.S. bases. There was always some public opposition to the U.S. presence, but the open hostility that marked the 1960s and 1970s (and even a bit of the 1980s) eventually turned into the widespread indifference of recent years.
Now, in a rather stunning poll, 42 percent of Germans say they want U.S. troops out of the country, compared to 37 percent who want the approximately 35,000 U.S. military personnel to stay. In 1951, right after the end of World War II, only 21 percent of West Germans favoured a withdrawal of U.S. troops. (Back then, the number of U.S. troops in Europe was more than seven times higher.)
The most recent poll, conducted by German news agency dpa in collaboration with YouGov, did not specify why Germans think the Americans should leave.