Caused historically and politically: the NYT explained Germany's reluctance to transfer tanks to Ukraine

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Historically and politically motivated: NYT explained Germany's reluctance to transfer tanks to Ukraine

After the defeat of Nazism, Germany devoted itself to promoting peace and integration into the European and transatlantic security order. However, Russian aggression is forcing it to rethink its place in Europe, relations with Russia and the use of military force.

This is stated in the article publications of The New York Times. It is noted that Germany built the post-war economy on cheap Russian energy, trade with Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and China. She believed that this softens authoritarianism.

Why Germany is disoriented

Russia's war against Ukraine has challenged Germany, whose leadership has experienced a political and psychological shock. The aggression undermined many assumptions about Russia. Journalists believe that this disorientation is reflected in Germany's reluctance to send its Leopard 2 main battle tank to Ukraine or allow other countries to do so.

The NYT noted that the position of Chancellor Olaf Scholz created the risk of isolating Germany and angered the allies. The most important consequence of the delay could be to prevent a Russian offensive that could take place this spring.

German reluctance here can be summed up in one word. This is history”. The Germans want to be seen as a partner, not an aggressor, and are particularly sensitive to arms shipments to regions where German weapons have historically been used to kill millions of people, said American Council Germany President Steven Sokol.

Timothy Garton, a German and European historian at St Anthony's College, Oxford, believes Germans are in danger of misunderstanding the lessons of history. They don't fully know what plan to follow.

“People don't want German weapons on the front lines to be used to kill people in these regions (Ukraine, Poland, Russia – Channel 24) . Germany's position is deeply confused: the old thinking is dead, and the new one has not yet been born,” he said.

Domestic policy

< p dir="ltr">The war in Ukraine sparked a discussion in democratic Germany on armaments. Critics of the chancellor accuse him of insecure leadership of the country during the crisis. Vice President of the Munich Security Conference Boris Ruge said the confusion was particularly evident in Scholz's left-wing Social Democratic Party, which heads the current government. In addition, the largest members of the governing coalition have strong pacifist wings.

“Scholz should also think about domestic politics. On issues of strategy and politics, many social democrats are ardent pacifists and he should pay attention to them,” Ruge said.

There is anxiety among Germans that Western tanks will only increase the number of kills without fundamentally changing the course of the war. According to Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff of the German Marshall Fund in Berlin, German voters want their leaders to always push for a peaceful option, come last, or act in coalition.

Scholz then moves slowly, tries to win over his constituents (despite the annoyance of his NATO allies), and finally agrees to send tanks. This approach, as NYT journalists noted, is an attempt to respect and bypass historical memory in a country where many names of battlefields in Ukraine are familiar to older Germans or even grown-up younger ones listening to the stories of their parents.

Why do we know Azovstal? Who occupied Azovstal? These were the Germans. Everyone who is older here knows what the killing fields are. The names are familiar to them. Send tanks there? Wow. Send howitzers there? This is still difficult for many old people,” Kleine-Brockhoff explained. “>German politicians who are in favor of sending tanks say that Germany's resistance to “act on its own” now risks isolating it. Heinrich Brauss, a former German general now at the German Council on Foreign Relations, has argued that defeating Russia in Ukraine is in Germany's own interest as Ukrainians fight for European security.

According to Brauss, if Germany still refuses to supply tanks, it will be disastrous for its reputation.

“And this will significantly reduce the credibility of Germany as an ally in NATO,” added Heinrich Brauss.

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Why Ukraine Needs Heavy Tanks Lwopard/Channel 24 Infographic

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