Countries do not embark on a war with their neighbours believing it will involve years of sacrifice rather wars are started by those who believe their ends will be achieved fairly quickly and cost free. It is the weakness of actual or potential victim countries and their allies that encourage aggression. Argentina thought it safe to invade the Falklands and Putin’s experience of the lack of serious pushback to his previous expansionary moves encourage him in the though that “recovering” Ukraine would be easily managed.
A strong military and system of alliances is the best protection against war. However, a belief in the good intentions of your neighbours is also essential. I remember in Communist Czechoslovakia talking to those who were far from convince communists who never the less believed the Soviet propaganda that Germany had a revanchist desire to recover the Sudetenland by force of arms if need be. It was one factor that helped sustain the otherwise unpopular regime. So faith in Germany’s good intentions towards her neighbours is clearly essential.
A few corrections. I think the author means SPD in stead of SLD when he aims to refer to the social democrat party. The AfD lost the elections in 2021 and has smaller percentages of the votes than many other (extreme) right wing parties in Europe. There are some rare cases of right extremists in the German army. This is not a general problem that no one cares about. Suggesting that large portions of German society are revisionist on WW II or the holocaust is taking some fringe self styled leftist prophets who see fascists everywhere in German domestic politics too seriously.
I think there is much insinuation and little proof or argument in this article.
I think the problem is, as put in the article, that it isn’t just the far right who believe untrue things about the Nazi era. If 31% believe their families were actively resistant then unless 31% of Germans are near Fascists, which I don’t believe, it is a more subtle and nuanced problem.
There’s been no time for the Berlin state machine to develop a new security doctrine and to sell this to the population. In an echo of other unGerman instant shifts — remember Merkel’s departure from nuclear power, and her opening of the borders? — the decision has preceded the thinking.
This appears to me to be a fallout from the strong German desire to distance themselves from the Nazi past. On so many issues the Germans race to the ‘politically correct’, virtue-signalling position without much consideration of the consequences. Most of these positions turn out to be foolhardy (close nuclear plants?). In this way Germans seem to be like our Democrats, out of touch with reality, more interested in how they are seen than how their decisions impact the country.
It’s logical for Germany to have a big army: she has a large population, has faced threats from terrorists and foreign powers, shares many borders, has undergone natural disasters (like floodings), is wealthy, etc. Germany is also a NATO power and cannot forever rely on America to proect. There’s a growing bitterness among North America about protecting Europe’s security interests for decades on end while getting little in return. Ultimately, the best nation to protect Germany is Germany herself.
It’s time for Contential European powers to stop being geopolitical nursing homes with aging populations.
Ah! The … Wind Of Change is in the air again. It must all be for the better. Let’s hope so.
The article perfectly illustrates the schizophrenic nature of especially Poland, but also the Baltic states, caught in a double bind between their Germany derangement syndrome and their Russia derangement syndrome – both perfectly rational in terms of their recent historical experiences, but a barrier to a prosperous peace.
Poland especially has a problem – the Poles are well aware that a militarily strong Germany is essential for a truly independent Europe. But there are two problems: Germany cannot be militarily strong if it is not economically strong, and it cannot be economically strong without access to the cheap and high-quality Russian energy (which Russia is perfectly willing to supply). Secondly, Poland feels threatened by a militarily strong Germany. Poland’s ideal solution would be for Germany to shoulder the costs of others’ defence.
Poland’s second problem is its own temptations of revanchism, visible in the unsubtle forays into the Lviv/Lvov area – territory that was Polish before WWII, but annexed to the Soviet Union in the same deal in which the Soviet Union compensated Poland for that half of Poland the Soviet Union won under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by generously giving Poland one third of Germany (and contenting itself with the Kaliningrad exclave). If Poland “re-takes” Lviv (where the Poles are hated, based on the Ruthenians’ experiences when the Austrian Empire allowed the Poles to lord it over the Ruthenians in compensation for the Austrians’ refusal to acknowledge the co-equal position of Poles in the Empire), then what is to stop Germany from reclaiming Pommerania and Silesia (to be clear: Germany has formally rejected any claims – but a bad conscience weighs heavy)?
“… by generously giving Poland one third of Germany …”
Do you mean one-third of eastern Prussia? Or one-third of the entire German territory, Prussia I presume, that had lain along the Baltic coast, as the maps would have had it at the end of August, 1939?
But looking at the map of Poland today, did not Poland acquire at least some of the territory back from the SU that the SU had invaded and occupied in late September of 1939? The eastern half of Poland as it existed in August 1939 must surely be partially back within Poland as Poland is today. If not, that would mean huge tracts of Belorussia and Ukraine must have formed one half of Poland 83 years ago.
A good map, a good history book and a good cup of tea must be in order now, you’re going to tell me.
“If not, that would mean huge tracts of Belorussia and Ukraine must have formed one half of Poland 83 years ago.”
Basically “yes”. There were some adjustments in Poland’s favour, but minor.
I’d recommend a stiff whiskey. Once you start digging, it only gets more complicated.
Or read Joseph Roth’s “Radetzkymarsch”.
No, the final demarcation line between Germany and Russia after they attacked Poland in 1939 is roughly current Eastern border of Poland apart from what was East Prussia (which was obviously part of Germany then).
Poland lost 30% of its territory after ww2 but there is no desire for any “unsubtle forays” into Lviv region.
It is complete lie by Mr Gassmann.
Accidently his surname is quite appropriate remembering one of the main activities of Germans in ww2.
I forgot to mention that according to some people, former Polish PM Donald Tusk (later President of European Council) was offered partition of Ukraine by Putin.
I don’t recall him ever confirming or denying it.
It is tempting to react with a lack of sympathy toward a German whinging that the Allies in WW2, primarily, Russia hacked off bits of Germany and gave them to Poland because Russia, or rather the USSR wouldn’t give up the Eastern bits of Poland they gained from their opportunistic pact with the Nazis…otherwise Poland would have ended up about 10 miles wide.
It is even more tempting to point out *you started it…so suck it up*
There is no desire in Poland for any retaking of Lviv.
I am from London but my family was originally from Lviv.
Your whole reply shows clearly why some Germans can not be trusted.
Germany tried for years to whitewash it’s crimes of genocidal aggression by calling the German concentration camps in occupied Poland “Polish concentration camps” and pretending that Nazis somehow appeared from nowhere and did not gain power by votes of German people.
As to “Giving Poland 30% of Germany” it was the result of Germany starting ww2 with their Russian allies.
Poland lost 30% of territory while being on the winning side.
It looks like you would like Germany aggression awarded or at least not punished territorially as happened after ww1.
We all know how it ended.
Author of the article is spot on as to attitudes of France and Germany towards Russian aggression and their reluctance to actually help the victim.
There is, I think, an atlas of WW2 book by The Times publishing department or something like that. There is certainly a ‘Times’ atlas of world history, a rather large book. The only way to get to grips with the subject of moving borders is to get off the internet and look at an Atlas. An atlas I have from the early 1970s tells you how Europe looked in 1939. Although it is by far not a large enough picture. But being so accessible, back in the day, kids used to always flick through an atlas when it was wet outside: folk kept an atlas in the house. Today? As for a modern atlas? In the 2020s? Maybe they’re too Indiana Jonesish for today’s tastes. Or maybe people think historic atlases are so not up to date! Okay, people today have google maps and all that. But screens are too tiny to see the bigger picture. Nothing like a big map spread out before you.
I hope I have not bored you.
Just ask those who served in Afghanistan, and for that matter anywhere where else, alongside or near the German Army?…
Germany should be far more concerned as to what will happen to nigh 40 pc of its automotive sector tier 1 and tier 2 manufacturing and supply base that electric cars will kill stone dead? the answer is, obviously, do NOT make electric cars compulsory…
What were they like, how professionally and honourably did the German Army abroad conduct itself?
I’d like to hear!
There would be no problems in all of Europe if NATO didn’t exist. Whatever, if Germany really wants to waste billions on the lamentable F35 I hope Scholz remembers they need jet fuel, which they won’t have enough of, if any, without Russia. There big problem now isn’t Putin, it’s that feeble Scholz, he’s a Marxist but he didn’t like the Soviet system. Just the sort of dreamy pleb Germany doesn’t need.
Scholz Marxist lol.
Well you may have never heard Scholz speaking and seeing his action.
As major of the state of Hamburg und latter Finance Minister he (for Hamburg) invested in some companies which had financial Programms at a low price instead of granting loans as our conversatives did in the past.
Warren Buffet did the same with US company’s.
As result Hamburg get good dividends. The value of the shares is currently higher than the Investment… And it saved jobs.
The logical and practical German mind will see partnership with Russia and China the better bet for its business future
Well, the party of the chancellor of Germany called social democratic party abbrievated SPD not SLD.
The level of the analyses appears to me on the same level. The party name was wrong why should the analyses right.
As matter of fact, Germany is pacifistic state. However the population dislike aggressors.
The 2% of the GdP for arming, requested by the United States is regarded inacceptable by the majority of the population.
There is no reason to fear German military aggression. German setting could by no means compared to the one at the begin of the last century before the wars.
Military doctrine is quite clear: be able to defend the country, but unable to launch an attacking war “Angriffskrieg”.
However a majority off Germans has realised, that we need a extra bunch of money to enable the army to do their job – defending Germany.
It was reported that 20 billion will be used to rise the ammunition stockpile to an acceptable level.
100 billion will only be you used to level the over saving of the last decade.
It will be interesting to see how fast we see any effect of increased pace to get rid of any energy dependency.
The SLD was a Polish party which no longer exists under that name. The German social democratic party the author is referring to is called SPD. I’d expect a “historian who has advised several Polish premiers and ministers” to know this stuff (or Google it).
Regarding Germany’s outlook, I agree with Graham Fuller, former Vice Chair of National Intelligence at the CIA and political analyst at RAND, who believes that Europe will soon realize that it was a mistake to get dragged into a proxy war by the US, and that Eurasia is the better partner going forward, because that’s where the future lies. America is a sinking ship.
“China’s Belt and Road initiative is perhaps the most ambitious economic and geopolitical project in world history. It is already linking China with Europe by rail and sea. European exclusion from the Belt and Road project will cost it dearly. Note that the Belt and Road runs right through Russia. It is impossible for Europe to close its doors to Russia while maintaining access to this Eurasian mega project. Thus, a Europe that perceives the US already in decline has little incentive to join the bandwagon against China. The end of the Ukraine war will bring serious reconsideration in Europe about the benefits of propping up Washington’s desperate bid to maintain its global hegemony.”
“I like Germany so much I want two of them.” I’ve been saying the same thing about Canada recently, I like Canada so much I like 13 of them.
The problem is that big government becomes further and further away from the needs of individual jurisdictions.
At a certain point, some jurisdictions have zero political representation and legitimate needs are ignored by the majoritarian federal government.
So no, I dont trust Germany, but the problem is, you have to deal with Russia.
The restart of history, interesting times indeed.
Obviously you don’t like Canada at all. Because its history/politics are so much like Germany. Or something.
This might surprise you but there is probably not much difference between germans and canadians.
Any differences implied would be situational.
So yes, I guess I like Canada, because it borders the US and not Germany, France or China.
The third last paragraph is strange: I generally agree with these opinion polls, though not so much for the ‘resistance’ and ‘other countries’ comments.
“But muh N*zis” – Yawn.