Germany Risks Forgetting Its History

Germany Risks Forgetting Its History

In making a decision to supply Leopard fight storage tanks to Ukraine, Olaf Scholtz damages the self-imposed restraints on the armed force’s duty in German diplomacy that had actually remained in location considering that completion of WWII.

T will certainly days prior to Holocaust Remembrance Day recently, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, under hefty stress from Washington as well as pro-war participants of his very own federal government, introduced that Germany would certainly be sending out 14 Leopard 2A6 major fight storage tanks to Ukraine.

Answering media inquiries at the German Bundestag, Scholz proclaimed:

“It is best that we act very closely with our worldwide companions to sustain Ukraine– monetarily, with altruistic help, yet likewise with tools shipments. Now we can state that, in Europe, it is us as well as Britain that have actually made one of the most tools readily available forUkraine Germany will certainly constantly go to the leading edge when it concerns sustaining Ukraine.”

Two days later on, at her very own interview, Russian Foreign Ministry agent Maria Zakharova reacted:

“We all remember what are German storage tanks. These are equipments which came to be a sign, not just of fatality … not just of deathly belief. They came to be a sign of misanthropy, as a worldwide existential risk to the world.

When you review Nazism as well as fascism concerning those times in the Second World War, I believe that these SS attires as well as these extremely German storage tanks as well as these signs of the Third Reich had actually ended up being a worldwide sign of the autumn of the mankind right into the void of disgust as well as scary as well as carnage.”

Zakharova had even more to state:

“It was precisely the German storage tanks which came to be the sign– the anti-symbol, I would certainly state– which will certainly remain in the memory of all humankind permanently. Now these German storage tanks will certainly once more get on our land. … So what does Berlin anticipate? That these armored automobiles, with all their signs at that time as well as currently, that they will cross our towns as well as negotiations? We keep in mind completion of those times. Does Berlin keep in mind?”

The Morgenthau Plan

Henry Morgenthau, Jr., facility, with FDR in Poughkeepsie, NY,Nov 6, 1944. ( FDR Presidential Library & & Museum/Wikimedia Commoms)

In the consequences of the dreadful wrongs brought upon on the globe by Nazi Germany, there were numerous that thought that Germany no more had the ethical right to exist.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau,Jr was among those individuals. In 1944 he promoted a strategy, consequently called the “Morgenthau Plan,” which called for the demilitarization and dismemberment of Germany after the Second World War.

“It should be the aim of the Allied Forces,” Morgenthau wrote, “to accomplish the complete demilitarization of Germany in the shortest possible period of time after surrender. This means completely disarming the German Army and people (including the removal or destruction of all war material), the total destruction of the whole German armament industry, and the removal or destruction of other key industries which are basic to military strength.”

Morgenthau singled out the Ruhr Area for particular attention. “Here lies the heart of German industrial power, the cauldron of wars,” he wrote. “This area should not only be stripped of all presently existing industries but so weakened and controlled that it cannot in the foreseeable future become an industrial area.”

Morgenthau didn’t just target the industrial capabilities, but the human potential to sustain them. “All people within the area should be made to understand that this area will not again be allowed to become an industrial area.

Accordingly, all people and their families within the area having special skills or technical training should be encouraged to migrate permanently from the area and should be as widely dispersed as possible,” he said.

New Security Model

Leopard 2A4 tank in Singapore, 2010. (CABAL, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons) 

This history seems lost on Armin Papperger, the CEO of Rheinmetall AG, the producer of the Leopard 2 tank. The headquarters of Rheinmetall AG is in Dusseldorf, the capital of North Rhine–Westphalia Land, the epicenter of the Ruhr Area targeted by the Morgenthau Plan. Papperger and his armaments company are the benefactors of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’sZeitenwende (“watershed”) policy, announced with great fanfare on Feb. 27, 2022 — three days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In this speech, Sholtz turned his back on the German experiences of both the First and Second World Wars, where unrestrained German militarism worked in concert with German industrialists to build massive military capability, which was then married to aggressive German foreign policies that turned into global conflict.

Sholtz was now proclaiming military-based deterrence as the national security model for Germany going forward, including a massive increase in defense expenditures that would dramatically increase the profit margins of companies like Papperger’s Rheinmetall AG.

Rheinmetall headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany. (Dacse, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

According to Papperger, Scholz’s Zeitenwende has indeed been a watershed moment for Germany, allowing many Germans to see past the self-imposed constraints on the German military’s role in German foreign policy that had been in place since the end of the Second World War.

“In former times we were insulted and sometimes threatened,” Papperger told a reporter. “Today people say and write to me: ‘Thank God you’re around.’”

Papperger appears unapologetic about the role that he and his company have played in the dispatch of German tanks to Ukraine. “I think about what weapons can do,” he said. “But I also think about what can happen when you don’t have weapons. You can see that right now in Ukraine.”

Scholz, Papperger, and their ilk would do well to reflect on the example set by former German Chancellor Willie Brandt.

Memorial plate in Warsaw commemorating Willie Brandt’s “Warsaw genuflection.”  (Szczebrzeszynski, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

On Dec. 7, 1970, Brandt travelled to Poland where, some 25 years after the end of the Second World War, he was seeking to sign a treaty on the mutual renunciation of the use of force and the recognition of the country’s post-war borders.

Cognizant of the moral responsibility he bore toward Germany’s history with the Poles, he laid a wreath at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw. But Brandt did not go through the motions of simply bowing his head; he fell to his knees in what is now known as the “Warsaw Genuflection,” where he remained for more than a minute.

From the symbolic action of the “Warsaw Genuflection” emerged what became known as Ostpolitik, the process of normalizing relations and openness between West Germany and “the East” — Russia and the nations and territories which, in their totality, represented the major victims of Nazi Germany’s lawless wars of aggression.

Elements of Ostpolitik could be found in the policies of long-time German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who headed the German government for 16 years, finally stepping down in 2021 following elections which saw her Christian Democratic Union party defeated by a coalition led by Social Democrat Scholz and Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock.

Merkel, a fluent Russian speaker, openly promoted policies built around the notion of supporting trade with Russia, noting that given its size, Germany simply could not get away with ignoring their large neighbor to the east.

Merkel’s Betrayal

But there was a darker side to Merkel’s Russia policy, one which manifested itself in the form of deceit and betrayal of both Brandt’s Ostpolitik and Russia’s seeming sincere search for a peaceful resolution to violence that had broken out in the Donbass in 2014 following the removal by a pro-Western coup of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his replacement by a hand-picked government dominated by Ukrainian nationalists.

“The 2014 Minsk agreement,” Merkel recently admitted to the German media, referring to a ceasefire agreement she had brokered together with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin, “was an attempt to give Ukraine time” to become stronger.

Merkel’s confession has been mirrored by both Poroshenko and Hollande, both of whom admit that the Minsk Accords were little more than a sham to buy NATO time to build a Ukrainian military capable of defeating Russian-backed forces in Donbass.

Oct. 17, 2014: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, in talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande. (, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Seen in this light, the announcement at the 2014 Munich Security Conference by then-Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier that “Germany must be prepared to get involved earlier, more decisively and more substantially in foreign and security policy,” seems to be little more than the declaration of a policy designed to lead Germany and Russia down a path toward war.

Germany’s current foreign minister, Baerbock, has foregone all pretense as to what the true policy of Germany toward Russia is. During a keynote address last week to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, Baerbock declared, “We are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”

Baerbock was seeking to defend law, democracy and human rights in response to “Russia’s murderous attack on the people of Ukraine.”

Baerbock’s honesty, however, flies in the face of the stated policies of her own political party, the German Green Party, which in its 2021 manifesto staking out its positions on the eve of the German national elections explicitly called for banning ” export of arms as well as army tools” right into battle zone. “Germany must be a driving pressure in the political de-escalation of problems,” the policy claims.

The pretension of Baerbock as well as the Green Party is just matched by that of Scholz, as well as Merkel prior to him, both of whom have actually welcomed a course of German militarism as well as diplomacy advocacy– the extremely plan programs that place Germany on their particular courses to calamity in both World Wars.

Loss of Independence

It was this plan instructions that Zakharova was mentioning when she urged German leaders throughout her Sunday interview “not to make the very same blunders of the German forefathers, that the German individuals paid a significant rate for.”

Zakharova looked right into the video camera, attending to the German individuals:

“The day that it was permitted that Leopard storage tanks must be sent out to Ukraine is historic due to the fact that it has actually sealed the important things that we discussed, that Germany has actually entirely shed sovereignty. And Scholz has actually simply authorized the loss of independent German diplomacy permanently.”

Zakharova required no aid enhancing her last factor– she obtained all the aid she required from united state Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, that throughout statement prior to the united state Senate on Friday boasted toTexas Sen Ted Cruz that, “Like you, I am, as well as I believe the management is, extremely gratified to understand that Nord Stream 2 is currently, as you such as to state, a piece of steel at the end of the sea.”

Nord Stream 2 was a significant item of essential power framework constructed collectively by German as well as Russian firms at an expense of over $12 billion to supply some 55 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia to Germany annually.On Sept 26, 2022, the Nord Stream 2 pipe was damaged by manufactured surges. No country has actually taken credit scores for the strikes, although Russia condemns the united state as well as U.K. Nuland’s brazen remarks recommend that the Russian’s could be proper.

Nuland’s remarks come one year to the day after she made comparable declarations to the very same Senate board. “We remain to have solid, clear interaction with our German allies,” Nuland stated. “If Russia gets into Ukraine, somehow, Nord Stream 2 will certainly stagnate onward.”

Despite severe hesitation, the very same hesitation he revealed in the direction of delivering the Leopards, Scholz closed down Nord Stream 2 in 2015 as it will open up. It was a clear declaration of the abandonment of German sovereignty to united state plan rate of interests.

Pity the German country that is failing to remember the lessons of its background.

Scott Ritter is a previous united state Marine Corps knowledge police officer that offered in the previous Soviet Union carrying out arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf throughout Operation Desert Storm as well as in Iraq managing the disarmament of WMD. His latest publication is Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika, released by Clarity Press.

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