Not many in Germany reminded of this – and certainly not in the premature “victory” frenzy of recent days: 80 years ago, in the late summer of 1942, the German Wehrmacht, supported by other wartime enemies of the Soviet Union, began its attack on the large and industrial city of Stalingrad, located on the lower Volga River. On 12 September 1942, Hitler demanded that German troop commander General Paulus take Stalingrad. “The Russians”, Hitler said at the time, were “at the end of their tether.”1 On 13 September, the major German attack began with dive-bombing and massive shelling from field artillery and mortars on Stalingrad’s inner defensive belt. The final result was a crushing German defeat and the death of more than one million people in battle.
More and more German weapons for Ukraine
Today, 80 years later, German politicians across the board are calling for even more heavy weapons to be delivered to Ukraine. For example, on 11 September, ARD Tagesschau reported on its website: “Leading politicians of the governing parties in the Bundestag have called for more support for the Ukrainian military offensive against the Russian aggressors. ‘Germany must immediately contribute its part in Ukraine’s successes and supply protected vehicles, the Marder infantry fighting vehicle and the Leopard 2 battle tank,’ Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the defence committee, told the dpa news agency. Thus Germany was standing by the Ukrainian people and taking on a ‘leading role in Europe in the fight for democracy in peace and freedom’. The FDP politician also called for no time to be lost. And this is certainly not the time for dithering and hesitation,’ Strack-Zimmermann continued.”2 SPD leader Lars Klingbeil took a similar stance. The current military successes of the Ukrainian military were not least the result of “the fact that the West, that Germany, that we have supplied a crazy number of weapons in recent weeks and months. And that must continue. It will continue”.3 Unlike in the past months, it could now also be a question of supplying German battle tanks – after consultation with the NATO partners. Now, however, German politicians want to be the intellectual pioneers. Klingbeil’s party colleague Michael Roth, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German Bundestag, seconded that now it was a matter of quickly supplying Ukraine with more weapons – for victory on the battlefield.4 More heavy German weapons for Ukraine, as could be read on 12 September5, is also demanded by the Chairman of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Omid Nouripour.
Germany has crossed “red lines” and acts like an enemy of Russia
So, no one should be surprised when the website RT DE, which is banned in Germany, writes on 4 September: “Germany is acting like an enemy of Russia.” Former Russian President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, now Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, had spread this with a short message after a press conference of the German governing parties on the same day. RT DE wrote: “Medvedev is not the only one who, in view of the fact that German weapons are killing again Russian soldiers and civilians in the Donbass, wonders what Germany has learned from the defeat in 1945. Obviously not what the victors wanted to teach the Germans.” Adding: “By the way, German aggression against Russian security and existential interests started on the Kiev Maidan back in 2013. At the latest.” RT DE attached a picture to its article showing Olaf Scholz standing in front of a German Gepard tank at the German training camp for Ukrainian soldiers in Putlos in Schleswig-Holstein.
In an interview with the Russian Federation’s ambassador to Germany, Sergei Nechaev, published on 12 September by the Russian newspaper Izvestia, the ambassador said: “The very delivery of lethal weapons to the Ukrainian regime, which are used not only against Russian soldiers but also against the civilian population in the Donbass, is a ‘red line’ that the German government [...] should not have crossed.”6 In the course of the Ukraine crisis, the German government destroyed the good bilateral relations with Russia and undermined the reconciliation process between the peoples. Germany was also one of the driving forces behind the West’s sanctions policy against Russia.
The citizens have to pay the price for the war
As in all wars, the same is true now: the German citizen will have to pay the price for the German war against Russia. Germans in the east of the country – that is, in the part of the country that already once, more than 30 years ago, had to bow to the west of the country – obviously have a greater sensorium for this, they are already noticing it. This is shown by the numerous statements from East Germany: they range from small and medium-sized businesses7 to mayors8 to the Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony9. And probably most of those who came together on 5 September for a first “Monday demonstration” in Leipzig will also think so – even though it is again to be expected that counterfeiters will try to take the lead in the movement.
In addition, there are not only war losers, but also war profiteers. The economist Christian Kreiß pointed out in the German Nachdenkseiten on 6 September: “Who is profiting from German foreign and economic policy? One man’s sorrow, another man’s joy.”10
Finally, the thesis that not only the German government’s war policy, but also the grave consequences for the German population, both fit ideological concepts of a German ruling party and are convenient for the economic competitor, the USA, must also be examined.
German politics and the German media are aware of the discontent among the citizens. They counter this with hold-out slogans. One example of this was the ARD programme “Hart aber fair” on 5 September. “Winter is approaching; war seems far away: What is Ukraine’s freedom worth to us?” was the title of the programme. The website of the political talk show reads: “Germany is worried about expensive gas; Ukraine is fighting for survival. Is a warm appartement here more important than the war there?”11 All the participants in the talk were pro-war.
Historians, however, point out: When the battle for Stalingrad began in the summer of 1942, the war had already been lost for the German Reich.12
P.S.: On 13 September, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone for 90 minutes. There is talk in our media that Scholz urged a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine. But the German government’s press release (see box) on the phone call, only repeats the familiar German demands, as they had already been formulated before 24 February 2022, and admonitions to the Russian side. There was no responsiveness to the Russian position, no criticism of the politics of the current Ukrainian government and warfare, and no discussion of the question if the population in the predominantly Russian-speaking parts of the country can be expected to live in a Ukraine with a radical and violent anti-Russian policy after all that has happened. On the other hand, the press statement of the Russian presidential office is listing concrete points that would be worth reporting on in our media. •
1 cit. https://www.dw.com/de/stalingrad-als-wende-im-zweiten-weltkrieg/a-42320785 of 2 February 2018
2 https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/ampel-bundesregierung-waffenlieferungen-ukraine-101.html of 11 September 2022
5 https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/news/gruenen-chef-omid-nouripour-fordert-mehr-waffen-fuer-ukraine-verteidigungsministerinchristine-lambrecht-skeptisch-li.266086 of 12 September 2022
6 cit. https://www.handelsblatt.com/dpa/wirtschaft-russischer-botschafter-berlin-ueberschreitet-mit-waffen-rote-linie/28675340.html of 12 September 2022
7 https://www.handwerk-pro-leipzig.de/m/news/1/749467/nachrichten/offener-obermeisterbrief-an-den-bundeskanzler-und-ministerpr%C3%A4sidenten-von-sachsen.html; https://www.bbglive.de/2022/08/19/offener-brief-der-kreishandwerkerschaft-an-das-bundeskanzleramt/; http://www.khs-anhalt.de/Obermeisterbrief_2022.pdf
9 “‘The weapons must be silent, otherwise the whole world will fall into chaos’. Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer defends his statement to ‘freeze’ the war in Ukraine”. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of 8 September 2022
10 https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=87655 of 6 September 2022
12 https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/80-jahre-schlacht-von-stalingrad-interview-soenke-neitzel-militaerhistoriker-dlf-1e1b967d-100.html of 20 August 2022
This afternoon (13 September), Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The conversation followed the Chancellor’s telephone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky last week (7 September). The 90-minute conversation was devoted to the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine and its consequences.
Given the seriousness of the military situation and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the Chancellor urged the Russian President to find a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, based on a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. The Chancellor stressed that any further Russian annexation moves would not go unanswered and would not be recognised under any circumstances.
The Federal Chancellor called on the Russian President to treat captured combatants in accordance with the provisions of international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Conventions, and to ensure unhindered access for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
With regard to the situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, the Federal Chancellor stressed the need to ensure the safety of the nuclear power plant. In this context, the Federal Chancellor called for avoiding any escalation steps and for the immediate implementation of the measures recommended in the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Federal Chancellor and the Russian President also spoke about the global food situation, which is particularly tense as a result of the Russian war of aggression. The Chancellor highlighted the important role of the Grains Agreement under the aegis of the United Nations and appealed to the Russian President not to discredit the agreement and to continue to implement it in full.
The Chancellor and the Russian President agreed to remain in contact.
Source: https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/aktuelles/bundeskanzler-scholz-telefoniert-mit-dem-russischen-praesidenten-putin-2125516 of 13 September 2022
(unauthorised Translation Current Concerns)
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Olaf Scholz.
The two leaders focused on developments around Ukraine in the context of Russia’s special military operation. In particular, Vladimir Putin directed the attention of the Federal Chancellor to Ukraine’s flagrant violations of international humanitarian law, the continuous shelling of cities in Donbass, which is killing civilians and inflicting deliberate damage on civilian infrastructure.
The security of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) was also discussed. The President of Russia described in detail the IAEA-coordinated measures to ensure the physical protection of the ZNPP that Ukraine is subjecting to continuous missile attacks, despite the serious risk of causing a major disaster.
During an exchange of views on the implementation of the grain deal concluded in Istanbul on July 22, Vladimir Putin emphasised its package character and explained his concerns over the geographic imbalance in Ukrainian maritime shipments of grain, only a negligible share of which goes to the neediest countries. Moreover, there has been no progress in removing obstacles to Russian food and fertiliser exports. The President confirmed that Russia is ready to deliver large quantities of grain to external markets and to provide needy countries with the fertiliser blocked in European ports at no charge.
In response to a question from the Federal Chancellor, Vladimir Putin noted that, unlike Kiev, Russia grants the International Committee of the Red Cross access to POWs.
Describing the current energy situation in Europe, Vladimir Putin emphasised that Russia has always been and remains a reliable supplier of energy resources and fulfils all of its contractual obligations, while any interruptions, for example in the operation of Nord Stream 1, are the result of anti-Russia sanctions that interfere with the pipeline’s technical maintenance. Considering that gas supply via Ukraine and Poland was stopped by their governments, as well as the refusal to put Nord Stream 2 into operation, the attempts to shift the blame for Europe’s energy problems onto Russia look very cynical.
The leaders agreed to maintain further contact.
Source: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69343 of 13 September.2022
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