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Americans Divided over US Military Forces in Germany

Blackhawk helicopter taking off from an operating base.
Reuters

The American public sees the US-German relationship as good for US national security but is divided over military forces in Germany.

Introduction

The American public, meanwhile, sees the US-German relationship as good for US national security but is narrowly divided over US military forces in Germany. 

Key Findings

Over the past three years, US relations with Germany have become increasingly strained, with President Trump criticizing Berlin for failing to reach the NATO benchmark of 2 percent of a country's economic output on defense. Moreover, the Trump Administration has continually threatened to impose tariffs on European industries and German automakers in particular, a move that would deal a serious blow to the export-reliant German economy. The American public, meanwhile, sees the US-German relationship as good for US national security but is narrowly divided over US military forces in Germany.

  • Three in four Americans (75%) say the US relationship with Germany strengthens US national security, a view that holds across party lines.
  • However, Americans are divided over the US military’s presence in Germany: 47 percent favor increasing or maintaining US forces, while 50 percent favor decreasing or withdrawing them altogether.
  • Nearly nine in ten Americans (87%), across party lines, favor the US engaging in trade with Germany
About the Author
Assistant Director, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
Council expert Craig Kafura
Craig Kafura is the assistant director for public opinion and foreign policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, and a Pacific Forum Young Leader. At the Council, he coordinates work on public opinion and foreign policy and is a regular contributor to the public opinion and foreign policy blog Running Numbers.
Council expert Craig Kafura