Army support strongest since Cold War

Army support strongest since Cold War

The popularity of Switzerland's army is at its highest level among young people than since the Cold War, according to a new survey. Analysts say in the era of globalization, traditional institutions are gaining support.



The "Security 2011" poll, conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich and published in the Neue Luzerner Zeitung newspaper, found that 69 percent of Swiss between the ages of 20 and 29 believe that the army is a necessary institution.

It's the highest approval rating for the military since 1986.

Support for the army has rebounded over the past two decades. It reached a low point in 1991, when approval ratings plunged to 36 percent among the young. Then, a large majority was in favor of abolishing the institution and an analysis carried out at the time noted that young soldiers found the army's rigid structure "increasingly inconsistent with their personal development."

However, in today's era of globalization and new security concerns, young people are looking anew at traditional values and institutions, according to Karl Haltiner, a professor emeritus of sociology specializing in military matters.

He traced the most recent jump in support to the economic crisis that began in 2008, saying that in times of economic uncertainty, security concerns become increasingly important to people.

Switzerland has mandatory military service, requiring every able-bodied man to serve in the army starting with a five-month stint at age 19 or 20 and including annual refresher courses lasting several weeks for the next 10 years.

kdj/The Local



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