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Jul 4th 2011, 13:21 by The Economist online
Germany suspends compulsory military service
THIS month Germany suspended military conscription and its civilian counterpart, community service. After 50 years and the service of 8.4m young men, Germany is set to shrink the Bundeswehr from 220,000 to a maximum of 185,000 troops. But conscription still remains part of the constitution and available in the case of an emergency. Similarly in America, while "the draft" ended in 1973, laws require men to register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of their 18th birthday. This provides a deep pool of manpower in the event of a national emergency. Where compulsory military service is enforced in Europe it ranges from 260 days (in Switzerland), to 26 months (in Cyprus). As the map below shows, conscription is most popular in Asia and Africa.