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German History in Documents and Images
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Headquarters of the German Army's KFOR Contingent (August 24, 1999)
Between March and June, 1999, Germany participated in NATO air raids against Serbia (Operation Allied Force). It was the Bundeswehr’s first-ever war deployment. In Germany, the deployment sparked heated debate, not least because this military intervention was backed by a coalition that included the pacifist party Alliance 90/The Greens. The use of military force was defended first and foremost by the party’s foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, who felt that it was the only way to prevent a humanitarian disaster and genocide in Kosovo. After the Serbian leadership yield to Western demands, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1244 (1999), on whose basis a civil interim administration and a multinational “security presence” under NATO-leadership (KFOR) were formed in Kosovo. The KFOR was tasked with supporting the civil administration, maintaining public order and safety, and disarming the Kosovo liberation army (UCK). On June 11, 1999, the Bundestag agreed to dispatch up to 8,500 soldiers as part of KFOR. Photo: Julia Fassbender.