Lee Heidhues 1.19.2022
On June 22, 1941 Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa and invaded Russia.
An invasion which resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians. The Russians finally repelled the Nazi Germany invasion and proceeded to march onto Berlin at the end of World War II in 1945.
Nazi Germany’s invasion of Russia and its aftermath resulted in the division of Germany into East and West, the partition of Berlin, the creation of satellite States beholden to Russia and the Cold War between East and West which lasted over 40 years.
Many Germans know full well the price both countries paid for the Nazi invasion of Russia. This is why Germans today still believe, “The idea that Germany delivers weapons that could then be used to kill Russians is very difficult to stomach for many Germans,”
Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 1.19.2022
Both the United States and the United Kingdom have announced arms deliveries to Ukrkaine, mostly handguns, ammunition and anti-tank weapons. A group of US senators visiting Ukraine earlier this week promised more weapons would be on the way.
German government officials have expressed concern that such deliveries could push tensions higher and make negotiations more difficult.
In their coalition agreement, the center-left SPD, the Greens and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) agreed on a restrictive arms export policy that does not allow any weapons deliveries to crisis regions.
German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said her government’s decision on weapons had a historical dimension — a reference to Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union during the Second World War.
“The idea that Germany delivers weapons that could then be used to kill Russians is very difficult to stomach for many Germans,” Marcel Dirsus, a nonresident fellow at the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK), told DW.
It hasn’t taken long to put the new German government’s talk of a bolder and more values-based foreign policy to the test. After just six weeks in power, it finds itself confronted by Russia’s military moves against Ukraine, which fears another attack from its bigger and more powerful neighbor.
Germany and its allies are struggling to agree on a response to Russia’s unclear intentions. German policymakers, including within the three-party coalition government, are also debating among themselves.
On Tuesday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, of the Social Democrats (SPD), said Russia would pay a “high price” in the event of an invasion of Ukraine. On Wednesday, Scholz reiterated that silence on the issue of Ukraine was not an option. His foreign minister, the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock, has made similar expressions of solidarity with Ukraine but rejected its latest request for weapons deliveries.
“We are prepared to have a serious dialogue with Russia to defuse the highly dangerous situation right now because diplomacy is the only viable way,” Baerbock told reporters on Monday during a visit to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.