The Associated Press
Thursday, March 24, 2011; 3:21 PM
BERLIN -- Lawmakers in Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, have voted to formally end military conscription in a step that marks a historic change for the nation's post-World War II forces.
The reform is the most significant since the German military was founded in 1955. The country was completely disarmed following the Nazis' World War II defeat.
Lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, supported by the Green party, passed legislation on Thursday suspending national conscription from July 1.
From then on, Germany's military will rely only on volunteers to fill its ranks. The force will be trimmed from 250,000 to 185,000 troops trained to meet post-Cold War threats.
The upper house is also widely expected to approve the measure.