Most Germans are unconcerned by US plans to withdraw almost 12,000 troops currently stationed in the country, according to a new survey published on Tuesday.
Angela Merkel’s government has expressed dismay at the move, which Donald Trump said was in response to Germany’s failure to pay enough towards the cost of its defence.
But a poll by YouGov found 47 per cent of Germans are in favour of reducing the number of American troops based on their soil.
Only 32 per cent were opposed to any drop in the US presence, while 21 per cent expressed no opinion on the issue.
Most striking of all, a quarter of those surveyed said they would support a complete withdrawal of all US troops from Germany.
The US currently has around 36,000 military personnel stationed in Germany, a legacy of the Cold War division of the country.
The Pentagon announced the withdrawal of around 11,900 of its troops last week, claiming the move was intended to strengthen Nato and deter Russian aggression.
But President Trump said it was intended to punish a “delinquent” Germany, adding: “They’re there to protect Germany, right? And Germany is supposed to pay for it. Germany’s not paying for it. We don’t want to be the suckers any more.”
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German defence minister, said the move was “regrettable”, but the new findings suggest most Germans do not agree.
The presence of US forces has long been controversial in Germany. US bases in Germany have provided support to operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and many Germans argue the troops are not in their country to contribute to its defence but to project American power across the world.
German concern at the withdrawal has been largely confined to potential job losses for locals employed by the US military.