SCOTT RITTER: Germany Risks Forgetting Its History

In deciding to supply Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, Olaf Scholtz breaks the self-imposed constraints on the military’s role in German foreign policy that had been in place since the end of WWII. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, January 18, 2021. (NATO, Flickr)

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

Two days before Holocaust Remembrance Day last week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, under heavy pressure from Washington and pro-war members of his own government, announced that Germany would be sending 14 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks to Ukraine.

Answering media questions at the German Bundestag, Scholz declared:

It is right that we act closely with our international partners to support Ukraine — financially, with humanitarian aid, but also with weapons deliveries. Now we can say that, in Europe, it is us and Britain who have made the most weapons available for Ukraine. Germany will always be at the forefront when it comes to supporting Ukraine.”

Two days later, at her own press conference, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova responded:

We all remember what are German tanks. These are machines which became a symbol, not only of death…not only of deathly ideology. They became a symbol of misanthropy, as a global existential threat to the planet.

When you read about Nazism and fascism about those times in the Second World War, I think that these SS uniforms and these very German tanks and these symbols of the Third Reich had become a global symbol of the fall of the humankind into the abyss of hatred and horror and massacre.”

Zakharova had more to say:

It was exactly the German tanks which became the symbol — the anti-symbol, I would say — which will stay in the memory of all humankind forever. Now these German tanks will once again be on our land. … So what does Berlin expect? That these armored vehicles, with all their symbols back then and now, that they will cross our villages and settlements? We remember the end of those times. Does Berlin remember?”

The Morgenthau Plan

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

In the aftermath of the horrific atrocities inflicted on the world by Nazi Germany, there were many who believed that Germany no longer had the moral right to exist.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. was one of those people. In 1944 he promulgated a plan, subsequently known as 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.”

Support CN’s  
Winter Fund Drive!

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’s Zeitenwende (“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 and military equipment” into war zones. “Germany should be a driving force in the political de-escalation of conflicts,” the manifesto says.

The hypocrisy of Baerbock and the Green Party is only matched by that of Scholz, and Merkel before him, both of whom have embraced a path of German militarism and foreign policy activism — the very policy courses that put Germany on their respective paths to disaster in both World Wars.

Loss of Independence

It was this policy direction that Zakharova was speaking about when she implored German leaders during her Sunday press conference “not to make the same mistakes of the German ancestors, that the German people paid a huge price for.”

Zakharova stared into the camera, addressing the German people:

“The day that it was allowed that Leopard tanks should be sent to Ukraine is historical because it has cemented the thing that we talked about, that Germany has completely lost sovereignty. And Scholz has just signed the loss of independent German foreign policy forever.”

Zakharova needed no help reinforcing her last point — she got all the help she needed from U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who during testimony before the U.S. Senate on Friday bragged to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that, “Like you, I am, and I think the administration is, very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.”

Nord Stream 2 was a major piece of critical energy infrastructure built jointly by German and Russian companies at a cost of over $12 billion to deliver some 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to Germany per year. On Sept. 26, 2022, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was destroyed by man-made explosions. No nation has taken credit for the attacks, although Russia blames the U.S. and U.K. Nuland’s brazen comments suggest that the Russian’s might be correct.

Nuland’s comments come one year to the day after she made similar statements to the same Senate committee. “We continue to have strong, clear communication with our German allies,” Nuland said. “If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”

Despite extreme reluctance, the same reluctance he showed towards shipping the Leopards, Scholz shut down Nord Stream 2 last year as it was about to open. It was a clear statement of the surrender of German sovereignty to U.S. policy interests.

Pity the German nation that is forgetting the lessons of its history.

Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. His most recent book is Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika, published by Clarity Press.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


Support CN’s  
Winter Fund Drive!

Donate securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:


57 comments for “SCOTT RITTER: Germany Risks Forgetting Its History

  1. Mats L
    February 2, 2023 at 15:59

    History? What history? This time it’s different.

  2. joey_n
    February 2, 2023 at 15:49

    AFAIK the Soviets under Stalin rejected the genocidal Morgenthau Plan. With Soviet Russia having borne the biggest brunt in the war, it may seem ironic until one considers that the USA and Britain were supporting Hitler as a puppet against the Soviets. The Nazis even took inspiration from said Anglo nations.
    The decision to break Germany up into smaller states was conjured by those same Anglo-Saxon powers. Stalin instead wanted a united, neutral Germany.
    With all due respect, Mr. Ritter, learning about this gave me a newfound appreciation for Stalin I didn’t have before. It gave me an insight into the difference in mentality between the Russians and the English(-speaking Americans).

  3. Bruce K
    February 2, 2023 at 06:25

    I think the solution is either going to be a victory for the West, at the cost of a completely destroyed Ukraine and lots more Ukrainians dead, because the West keeps pouring money into this mess.

    OR, there could be a negotiated settlement like Russia can keep Crimea and the Ethnic Russian Majority Oblasts of Ukraine in some manner, but Ukraine gets to join NATO. The problem with that is that the US/NATO has no motivation or reason to stop arming Ukraine for the next attack.

    > I keep asking you guys or someone to go back do an episode on the historic
    > borders of Ukraine over the centuries. How did Ukraine go from being a
    > tiny landlocked country about the size of the current Czech Republic to a
    > monstrous largest country in Europe? How did that happen. I would
    > think Europe would see Ukraine as an equal threat the Europe as Russia.
    > But if you look most of Ukraine was added by the USSR in the last 100 years.

    This is an important story.

    • February 2, 2023 at 10:48

      This peace solution requires a professional peacemaker and negotiator like Donald Trump. No more no less. Only Donald can save this planet from senile destruction. God bless 2023.

  4. Dilbert Nunes
    February 1, 2023 at 22:17

    “But German well paid journalists have to fear noone.”

    Bosses. They all have Bosses. Those ‘well-paid’ paychecks come with a Boss attached.

  5. Lisa Larsen
    February 1, 2023 at 16:25

    No words could express my sadness, horror and disgust at what is happening in the world, in particular to Germany. It was and still is such a good country with outstanding quality of life. I grew up there, later moved to Paris, then met my American husband and moved to the US, but spend a couple months every year in Germany and always find myself amazed at the outstanding quality of so many things, from groceries to homes, everything is top notch. And I always marvel at how safe German cities feel compared to American cities.
    My grandfather was an SPD (Social Democrats) leader who died in a concentration camp. I always had great respect for SPD politicians like Helmut Schmidt and Willy Brandt. I spent my teens and early 20s as a member of the peace movement protesting against Reagan and the stationing of cruise missiles in Germany. Many of the protests were organized by the Green Party. I can’t believe that those very parties, SPD and Greens are now war-mongering parties lead by corrupt incompetent fools serving the American Empire.
    It’s a nightmare and there seems to be no way out.

    • joey_n
      February 2, 2023 at 03:47

      It was and still is such a good country with outstanding quality of life. I grew up there, later moved to Paris, then met my American husband and moved to the US, but spend a couple months every year in Germany and always find myself amazed at the outstanding quality of so many things, from groceries to homes, everything is top notch. And I always marvel at how safe German cities feel compared to American cities.

      I’m suspecting that the USA is dragging Germany to this war in order to lower the latter’s standard of living to the former’s levels if not worse. I’ve never set foot in Germany before, but just reading of the higher quality of life there pre-COVID-era got me convinced that the USA is not the ‘first-world’ country the US media makes it out to be.

    • Rafael
      February 2, 2023 at 04:27

      Greens have been warmongers for at least 20 years (remember Yugoslavia?), SPD ever since they voted credits for the first world war (and subsequently murdered Rosa Luxemburg.) Brandt was in retrospect only a brief interlude, welcome though it was.

    • February 2, 2023 at 10:55

      Lisa unfortunately politicians nowadays are like hyenas . They are never satisfied. They disguise themselves in all political parties. Once in power they completely forget the electorate’s aspirations and desires and are motivated by money. Look at the EU Qatargate and Moroccogate scandals where money is the sole motivator. Now we have the military industry machinery to pay them.

  6. Carl Zaisser
    February 1, 2023 at 06:31

    Sec. Morgenthau was for completely dismantling Germany’s capability to wage war after WW2. But other important U.S. players like Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles, who later became Pres. Eisenhower’s CIA director and Secretary of State respectively, were very busy making sure that Germany’s leadership was protected, and many even shielded from war crimes prosecution at Nuremburg, all for the purpose of keeping Germany strong and an ally in what the Dulles brothers considered the next threat, the USSR. A look at German politics today, the strange changes in the ‘left’, and where Germans stand in regard to Ukraine, is revealed in Glenn Greenwald’s interview this week with Bundestag Member Sahra Wagenknecht on the Ukraine War and the State of German Politics”. Wagenknecht has been one of the most prominent figures in Die Linke (The Left) Party, and has great insight.

    • TheatreAudience
      February 1, 2023 at 11:06

      “U.S. players like Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles, who later became Pres. Eisenhower’s CIA director and Secretary of State respectively, were very busy making sure that Germany’s leadership was protected, and many even shielded from war crimes prosecution at Nuremburg, all for the purpose of keeping Germany strong and an ally in what the Dulles brothers considered the next threat, the USSR.”

      This was prepared by Mr. Allen Dulles and facilitated by his connections through Swiss intelligence from 1943 onwards with the SS intelligence service the SD after the surrender of Axis troops at Stalingrad on 1st February 1943 and the Meeting of The Imperial General staff with guests held in March 1943, facilitating the “conditional surrender” in the Bolzano region on or about the 4th of May 1945 between Mr. Karl Wolff representing the SS and Mr. Allen Dulles alledgedly acting for and on behalf of no-one in particular, which facilitated “The Cold War” which was never cold, and presently continues to inform the strategies of The Russian Federation and the ongoing process of transcendence of the half-lives of “The Soviet Union” by The Russian Federation.

      This is understood by some of the present representatives of “The United States of America” and a component part of reasons for their intransigence, and the complicity of some others incorporated in “The United States of America” to limit the perception of the scopes of their continuing complicities, and why like the fictional character of Pinocchio their respective noses continue to grow.

    • Karl
      February 1, 2023 at 12:18

      I second this response. I was born during the war and witnessed the “political “resurrection” of the Bundesrepublik. It became a vassal of America to be used as a spearhead against the Soviet Union. The Morgenthau Plan was ill conceived or just plain stupid. The lack of real denazification was criminal. The western occupied part of Germany became a tool of America to counter the Soviet Russia. West German society was largely run by former Nazis or their sympathizers. Hitler lawyer Globke became Konrad Adenauer’s personal adviser. Theodor Heuss, first president of West Germany, had written HITERS WEG (Hitler’s Way) an admiring book about Hitler in 1932. The new West German foreign spy agency (BND) was given to Reinhard Gehlen Hitler’s chief of intelligence during the war against Russia. The U.S. cultivation of Nazis as agents and collaborators during the Cold War was obvious to anyone who observed the new order created by the West. Ritter is wrong in his sweeping remarks about forgetting in Germany. The current crop of politicians in Germany can’t forget what they really don’t know. US propaganda has worked very well in German and in much of the rest of the EU. It seems that the Morgenthau Plan has experienced a resurrection with the Sanctions imposed by the USA. The state of Germany’s economy as a result is struggling because of America’s ill conceived sanctions policies.

      • James White
        February 2, 2023 at 11:26

        In competition with the Soviet Union after WW2, it is not surprising that exceptions were made for Werner von Braun and other Germans who were of strategic value to the U.S. Denazification was for the masses, the little people. With due respect and deference to your life experience, it was quite real and the effects of it linger to this day. Helmut Schmidt is the only member of the WW2-era Wehrmacht to have ever said anything to refute the insane notion that Germans have some kind of moral defect. Which is what denazification was about. The film ‘Judgement in Nueremberg’ forcefully drives this absurd propaganda narrative that Americans, French and U.K. are somehow morally superior to Germans, as if through DNA. Since 1945, the U.S. has regarded Germany as a vassal state and never has this been more apparent than in recent days. Germany has had to swallow the destruction of its’ economy solely on the whim of the feeble Biden Regime. The explosion of the Nordstream pipelines was an outright act of war on Germany by NATO. And a complete humiliation of both Germany and Sholz. It reveals that this endless repetition about European ‘solidarity’ to be nothing more than whistling past the graveyard. All of Europe does seem united on a peculiar desire to humiliate Russia. While cowering under the umbrella of the 100 or so NATO nuclear warheads pointed at Russia from European soil.

    • Lisa Larsen
      February 1, 2023 at 15:40

      Yep, glad Glenn Greenwald interviewed her. I’ve been a fan of Sahra since 2009.

  7. Altruist
    February 1, 2023 at 06:02

    The key point Scott Ritter makes in connection with the “Zeitenwende” of a rearmed Germany again being a military power on the world stage is the surrender of German sovereignty to U.S. policy interests.

    This is shown vividly by the lack of reaction by the meek little invertebrate milquetoast Herr Scholz to the destruction of his country’s own pipeline infrastructure, who quakes at the potential reaction of his “Green” foreign minister Frau Baerbock (who – to quote Max Blumenthal – is the most militaristic German foreign minister since Ribbentrop), his EU neighbors and especially the USA.

    There is something deeply pathological in the swing of Germany from exaggerated “dominant” behavior during the time of Hitler to its exaggerated “submissive” behavior today – which is like a case study from Krafft-Ebing.

    • Robert Israel Kabakoff
      February 1, 2023 at 23:02

      At you throat or at your feet.

  8. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    February 1, 2023 at 01:00

    Ritter and some of the commentators are all collectively right. Democracy, sovereignity and human rights did not get get trampled with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 but those had already taken place during the very illegitimate removal of Yanukovych in 2014 itself. The crazy neocon influenced nuts passing of as leaders of Ukraine, Germany and by extension the EU and the USA are misguidedly taking the poor peoples of Ukraine, Germany, Europe, Russia and the USA down the path of yet another needless war and perhaps global disaster. Only the Americsn people can drive some sense into their war-hooked leaders and save humanity !

    • DMCP
      February 2, 2023 at 10:28

      I agree, and I’m sorry to report that the American people are largely under the spell of a well-orchestrated mass-media misinformation campaign that has >90% of them convinced that Russia is trying to conquer Ukraine and rebuild an empire, that Vladimir Putin is an evil dictator in charge of that project, that Ukraine is an innocent lamb in the jaws of the Russian bear, and that the US has only good intentions in all of this affair. The propaganda streaming out from the NYT and Washington Post, and from there to the broadcast TV news channels, has been like a tsunami. I am beginning to see some cracks in the manufactured consensus, but an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that Russia invaded Ukraine for no good reason except imperial conquest. The American peace movement is still in deep hibernation…the most I can see around me is some mild effort to reduce the military budget and some desire to renew nuclear arms treaties. The Anerican people, in general, have little sense of world events, because our access to world news is heavily filtered, to keep us in the dark while giving the illusion that we are informed.

  9. Marika Czaja
    February 1, 2023 at 00:34

    Dear Mr Scott Ritter, Thank you for all your and your colleagues’ marvellous reports! Where would we be without Consortium News?
    The headline today reads: ‘Germany risks forgetting its history’ when it seems to me that Germany has already done so.
    You mention the 14Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks sent to the Ukraine by Germany, however the German government published the complete list (via ‘Deutsche Welle’) of arms and military equipment being sent to the Ukraine – which apparently the German government is obliged to do –


    I have spent more than sixty years living in Australia, Ireland and now New Zealand but I was born in Hamburg in 1940. It may sound silly and naive but growing up we young people were determined to make the world a better place; we were determent never to be part of a ‘silent majority’ or behave the same way our parents’ generation had… Never, ever would I have believed it possible that in 2023 I would hear a German politician say: “We are fighting a war against Russia…”
    Hearing it and reading the list of weapons being sent to the Ukraine makes me cry in despair…

    Germany should never have been allowed to establish the “Bundeswehr”, manufacture and export weapons and military equipment or join NATO. And why was NATO not abolished when the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist and we were looking forward to Peace with all our neighbours???
    Marika Czaja

  10. Heike Lorenz
    February 1, 2023 at 00:05

    Scott, I understand that you’re upset with Germans and German policies, and rightfully so.

    So I did some research as I wanted to find out about Rheinmetall‘s past (which I knew about) and modern day tanks.

    Here’s what I found.

    Leopard tanks are built by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, KMW, in alliance with Nexter Defense Systems, France, forming an Association under the name of KNDS Group.

    Rheinmetall Duesseldorf had/has huge production shares in KMW, but Rheinmetall is not the producer of Leopard tanks!

    KraussMaffei Munich started building Leopard tanks in 1963, Leopard 2 in 1972, in cooperation with Wegmann & Co.

    In 1999 the defence component of Krauss-Maffei was spun off and merged with Wegmann & Co to become Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). Co-operation between companies was already well established, with Wegmann supplying tank turrets, among other things.

    In 2015, the shareholders of KMW and Nexter founded KNDS, a franco-german association in the land defense sector.

    That means Leopard tanks are built in franco-german cooperation, with an however large or small contribution of Rheinmetall regarding parts for tank production.

    Germany AND France have both forgotten the lessons of recent history and have it all upside down.

    • AG
      February 1, 2023 at 11:08

      since commentator Heike Lorenz mentions family history – there is a nice story to this:

      One heir to the Krauss-Maffei is Burkhart Braunbehrens. I have forgotten how exactly he is involved familywise.

      But Braunbehrens (born 1941, so 1 year after commentator Marika here) is a formerly Communist-leading German painter. And leader of student groups in the 60s of the then FRG.

      He was opposed to – being his family´s buiness thus – KMW selling tanks to the Saudis (this became an issue during the Arab Spring I believe).

      The deal eventually failed.

      He was permanently criticizing the company, pointing out secrecy and non-existent parliamentary control. This secrecy might have been the reason for him struggling to leave the company as member of the board which he eventually did about 10 years ago.

      In how a far the KMW business enabled him to work as a painter in earlier years I don´t know. And whether he was against the tank-business all along I don´t know either.

      But he eventually did what he did. And that was more than any such German business-man “accomplished”.

      (I remember well Mrs. Merkel´s bla-bla when the people rose up in Cairo. We surely let them down. It was a fucking disgrace.)

      But this is not the subject of today.

    • DMCP
      February 2, 2023 at 10:35

      That, and the fact that Germany, France, and the other NATO nations are little more than passive freight cars in a military train driven by US engineers. The UK and Poland only stand apart by their efforts to be as belligerent, provocative, and stupid as the Americans. They are like small engines added on behind the US locomotive.

  11. Jack Stephen HepburnFlanigan
    January 31, 2023 at 23:57

    To reflect upon Scholz’s reported response quoted in this article it highlights the hypocrisy of the German government. like Australia, Germany is supplying aid to mitigate the destruction caused by the conflict which I assume is intended to be humanitarian aid and on the other hand supplying equipment and ammunition to progress the conflict which will result in further deaths and destruction. It seems to me these two objectives cancel each other out. You ither provide humanitarian aid or you provide arms and ammunition.

  12. Brian Murray
    January 31, 2023 at 21:04

    As always, Scott Ritter, an excellent column that provides critical background on German history after WW II in order for your readers to appreciate the hypocrisy of the current German leadership. Yes, the doomsdays clock is much closer to midnight than ever before. As you and others have noted, the frightening cavalier attitudes in Washington and those advising “Sleepy Joe” can lead to a “first strike” against Russia and then we can kiss our rear ends goodbye as a “nuclear exchanged” takes place. I have a question for you, Scott [if I may address you by your first name] and it’s this. Around 2 years ago, Putin made an announcement that Russia has created a “doomsday machine” as in the movie Dr. Strangelove [1964]. That is, a computer driven machine can set off a massive number of nuclear weapons to create a long lasting “nuclear winter” where all terrestrial living things would perish through starvation and likely lethal radiation fallout across the world. While this topic is not addressed in your column, i.e., nuclear annihilation, I’m wondering if you can research whether or not Russia does have a “doomsday machine” as reported by NPR, and other outlets, I’m sure.
    If indeed Russia has such a system in place, then any misunderstanding, or glitch, or a flock of migrating Canadian geese, may lead to a catastrophic end of the world. Who knows, perhaps the cavalier neocons advising Sleepy Joe aren’t fully aware of this Russian defense machine so they may dream of a successful “first Strike” on Russia. If you would, please clarify the existence or non-existence of this nuclear “doomsday machine”. I’m sure all your readers would like to know.

    • TheatreAudience
      February 1, 2023 at 03:59

      ” I’m wondering if you can research whether or not Russia does have a “doomsday machine” as reported by NPR, and other outlets, I’m sure.”

      You are referring to a dead hand response system.

      You will find your answer in Presidential Decree no. 355 of the Russian Federation signed into law on 2nd June 2020 by the President of the Russian Federation Mr. V.V.Putin as representative of The Russian Federation, in respect of the updated Nuclear doctrine of The Russian Federation which includes conditions upon which the dead hand response system would respond.

      “The United States of America’s” representatives are fully aware of this but publicly interpret this through projection that The Russian Federation is preparing a first strike option – the response to the notices of intent delivered by The People’s Republic of China and The Russian Federation in respect of non-nuclear and non-biological weaponry i.e. “conventional weapons” in December 2021 were mis-interpreted by their recipients “The United States of America” and their component part “NATO” as ultimata.

    • Robert Israel Kabakoff
      February 1, 2023 at 23:08

      See the Fermi Paradox.

  13. DisinfectantSunlight
    January 31, 2023 at 20:36

    Thank you Mr. Ritter.
    It’s one thing to know Right from Wrong. It’s entirely different and higher level of human Spirit to stick to facts and spread the facts and Truth relentlessly with eloquence taking personal risks along the way when the coalition of the Government, Media, Military Industrial Complex, Intelligence apparatus, Academia and Think Tanks (MICIMATT as coined by another brave Ray McGovern) is stacked against you. Even though there may be minor shades of difference in opinion based on one’s experiences and sources of Information, only handful of courageous people like you, Col. McGregor, Larry Johnson, Brian Bertelec, Alexander Mercouris etc. are trying to wake up the collective West from unprecedented Lies, Ignorance, Willful distortions, and Propaganda.
    If we are able to avoid Nuclear catastrophe, the entire humanity owes collective Gratitude to persons of Light like you. We additionally applaud you for not getting discouraged that all your efforts to prevent Iraq invasion and destruction have failed.
    I believe Prayers from all Religious and Spiritual persons would also help in escaping the oncoming Global catastrophe in these Dark days of Ignorance, Arrogance and Greed.

  14. IJ Scambling
    January 31, 2023 at 18:54

    Victoria Nuland certainly has a way with words. She is surely immortalized with her statement in 2014, “Fuck the EU,” at a moment of US disparagement with the EU dragging its feet on what to do in Ukraine.

    Last Friday she bragged to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that, “Like you, I am, and I think the administration is, very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.”

    Describing the destroyed pipeline as “a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea” elegantly suggests an attitude, I think, usually accompanied by wiping spittle off the chin.

    Then again there is the statements to the same Senate committee a year ago, which, at the least, shows unusual prescience, another of her formidable talents:

    “We continue to have strong, clear communication with our German allies,” Nuland said. “If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      January 31, 2023 at 21:36

      Victoria Nuland is in the mold of she-devils like Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. A veritable toad from whose lips poison spews with every word.

      • James White
        February 1, 2023 at 09:17

        The war in Ukraine is Victoria Nuland’s insane war. Apparently we have woken up to find a world that is completely run by Victoria Nuland. While the rest of the planet’s several billion inhabitants are just along for the ride. Since she was never elected leader of the world, the question is who appointed her to the post? Technically it was feeble Joe Biden. But no one really believes that Biden is calling any of the shots in his epic failure of a Regime.

  15. bardamu
    January 31, 2023 at 18:49

    I suppose we should not be surprised that the people arming fascists should draw different conclusions than does Scott Ritter. Of course, being unsurprising does not make any of it better.

    Motives for these things generally link to systems and to geography, and neither has changed drastically since ’45, except, arguably, for the status of the US. The OSS and then the CIA took on the Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS as anticommunists and anticommunism as a weapon and rallying cry against populations unfolding themselves against the old European orders that had hammered each other largely to rubble. Empire is poison, and it appears that the poison took: the US and NATO now move towards what the proxy forces describe as an Aryan homeland.

    What term might we coin for the new fascism that is perhaps less nationalist and racist, yet as lawless and totalitarian and more globalist than its Axis expression some 80 years ago? What might we do, with the Western financiers apparently aligned, for all their squabbling, and almost no democratic hold on the principal governments?

    80 years ago, most of the rubble was not radioactive. These days, whether or not nuclear bombs are dropped, a good deal of it likely will be. 80 years ago, the agglomerated ecological crises were well under way, but could still feel distant, at least as regards their conclusions.

    There is another point that we should probably mark: whatever else we learned from the Covid 19 event, we ought to know that as a set of populations and societies, we are fairly ripe targets for a psyops combined with biological warfare. Traces of evidence that linked the virus to Wuhan or Wuhan to Washington or Davos were readily ignored or altered. Medications were denied, research twisted, vaccines denied or approved untested based on politics and profit, with governments spinning tales to their perceived momentary convenience.

    Nuclear plants and bombs, explosives and chemicals are at least easier to trace and source, so for this reason a sort of baseline recognition of falsity emerges more quickly, at least for some part of the population. How unlikely is it that people and institutions that live by playing nuclear chicken might dream also of “winning” a biological war wherein guilt might be more readily deniable?

    • Valerie
      February 1, 2023 at 12:07

      As far as the CV19 event, in the last couple of days the Red Cross had this to say:

      “Geneva: All countries remain “dangerously unprepared” for the next pandemic, the Red Cross warned on Monday, saying future health crises could also collide with increasingly likely climate-related disasters.”

      I don’t know what they have in mind for being prepared, as it’s unlikely we will know exactly what it’s going to be. However, within the last week, sirens have been erected in and around my area, which no-one seems to know their purpose. (Most comments on the subject veer towards war.)

  16. mgr
    January 31, 2023 at 18:46

    “(…) 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.”

    Try substituting “American” for each instance of “German” in the above statement and note how it reflects the reality of the last 30+ years in particular.

    As for the German “Greens,” I think they should now more rightly be known as the “Bandera Greens.”

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      February 1, 2023 at 01:01

      German Greens are actually Brown (shirts)

  17. CaseyG
    January 31, 2023 at 18:11

    Victoria Nuland is a horror. But then, so is Zelensky—- of course then, I must add Biden and Blinken to this killer mix too.How much horror can one Earth stand?

    • rgl
      January 31, 2023 at 21:21

      Lol … the earth can withstand any and all of our horrific foolishness. It’s the lifeforms on it that are screwed.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      January 31, 2023 at 21:39

      We have yet to find out.

  18. Vera Gottlieb
    January 31, 2023 at 17:23

    Europe going deaf, dumb and blind…and that suits America just fine.

  19. JonnyJames
    January 31, 2023 at 16:14

    I am not surprised at the bribed and coerced German politricksters are corrupted. I am surprised that there is not more resistance from the General public against sending Kampfpanzers into the territory of the former USSR. (Operation Barbarossa, June 22, 1941).
    Whether you call the tanks Tiger or Leopard, the symbolism and irony should not be lost.

    Anyone who advocates for war with Russia should lead the charge on the New Russian Front. (Barbarossa 2.0?) Apparently, they want some “lebensraum” and the Drang Nach Osten.

    Another historical irony: the Operation Paperclip Nazis (the USA) are leading the charge against Russia (and China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba) and the greedy German sycophant politicians are in lock-step. They should put on their jackboots and start goose-stepping.

  20. January 31, 2023 at 15:57

    It’s not surprising. I have a theory that every generation has to re-learn the mistakes of the past because every generation believes it is smarter than those that preceded it.

    Show me the teenager who doesn’t believe his parents are dumber than dirt.

    • William F Johnson
      January 31, 2023 at 18:45

      I guess I’m just lucky then. My teenagers think I’m smarter than I actually am, and it only took 40 years for them to reach this conclusion.

  21. Realist
    January 31, 2023 at 15:15

    Germany seems to be embracing the Hitlerian form of Nazism aggressively advocated by a psychopathic Ukraine led by a deranged leader (Zelensky) at the insistence of a hegemonic United States. Not too many seconds left on that atomic clock before the supposed “free world” with all its self-appointed dictatorial prerogatives, now just a sham contrivance of Washington, decides that it is justified in launching the nuclear first strike that will wipe the slate clean of all its “evil” competitors like Russia, China and Iran. Germany always was the tipping point in America’s protracted battle between its distorted perceptions of good and evil. Sadly, Mutty Merkel repeatedly chose to support the dark side, probably because it was the path of least resistance. Dummkopf Scholz just continues to play “follow the leader.” Now everyone on the planet will pay the price. My Prussian forebears would not be pleased.

    • Susan Siens
      January 31, 2023 at 16:10

      Remember Merkel’s indignation at finding out the U.S. was surveilling her? How quickly that indignation faded and we are left wondering with what they blackmailed her. Ditto, all these European weaklings and sycophants.

      • Carolyn L Zaremba
        January 31, 2023 at 21:41

        Good question.

        • Nathan Mulcahy
          February 1, 2023 at 01:03

          Germany is a U.S. colony.

      • February 1, 2023 at 15:43

        Think Epstein and his handlers. I wonder who is pulling the strings.

    • Valerie
      February 1, 2023 at 03:52

      I’ll throw this in, as it refers to Germany’s history and co-incidental to the article title:

      I recently watched a German film with english subtitles entitled “the Baader Meinhof complex”. Remember, this group were operating in the 70’s. In the film Ms Meinhof states with regard to their policy “the armed struggle against imperialism; in other words against US military presence in Western Germany and West Berlin. We demand a stop of the bombing in Vietnam. We demand the withdrawal of American troops in Indochina”

      I was vaugely aware of this revolutionary group, but the film revealed their struggle and determination against the PTB at the time. The end and what happened to those of the group in prison was extraordinary.

      Many people question as to where anti-war protests are nowadays. I know there are a few in Germany, but nothing like the student uprising in the 70’s portrayed in this film.

      • TheatreAudience
        February 1, 2023 at 11:32

        ““the Baader Meinhof complex”

        Different names were assigned by their opponents at different times for different purposes largely to minimise the relative significances of their motivations and support.

        The film that you viewed was based on a book of a former member of The Red Army Faction who massaged part of “the history” for self-protection after the trial and subsequent outcomes in the jail in Stuttgart. Another associate Mr. Joshka Fischer reached an agreement on metamorphosis to facilitate his ascendency on becoming a representative of The Federal Republic of Germany.

        During the late 1960’s they designated themselves as the Red Army Faction and their prime actions/motivations were focused on various tactics to remove “The United States of America” and its influence from The Federal Republic of Germany, which contemporaneously The Federal Republic of Germany chose to designate their activities as student rebellion until some of them but not all, resorted to terror in regard to former National Socialists who continued to hold offices of significance in The Federal Republic of Germany and became misrepresented by the authorities as The Baader-Meinhof Gang.

        • Valerie
          February 2, 2023 at 16:11

          And all you said was apparent in the film. Also there were subsequent “generations” who were not known to the incarcerated, but who carried out attempts to free them. It was a well documented, unbiased film I believe. But what do any of us know really of the machinations of TPTB.

          • TheatreAudience
            February 3, 2023 at 02:15

            “And all you said was apparent in the film.”

            Not really you and the film missed the metamorphosis of Joshka Fischer reference, and the “rise” of the Green Party as a deflection, a re-integration and a substitute home for The Red Army Faction and other “trouble makers”.

            “But what do any of us know really of the machinations of TPTB.”

            In time order knowledge resides in, the former STASI archives, the former KGB archives, those who read the archives in various locations before they were placed under the control of The Office of the President of The Russian Federation, including Mr. Mitrokhin, Mr. Andrews, MI6 – and likely many others in the future when these archives inform possible trials as part of the ongoing transcendence of “The United States of America” including possibly Mrs. Merkel, M. Hollande and others.

          • TheatreAudience
            February 3, 2023 at 09:43

            “And all you said was apparent in the film.”

            Not all –

            “Another associate Mr. Joshka Fischer reached an agreement on metamorphosis to facilitate his ascendency on becoming a representative of The Federal Republic of Germany.”

            refers but possibly only to some Germans and not to some Valeries?

            What was the agreement on metamorphosis?

            It was to “encourage” the Green Party through time to become a deflection of RAF and a home of less risk for those averse to joining in the romantic notions of Andreas Baader as a function of his ego and insecurities, and Ulrike Meinhof “the misguided”, in respect of terrorism since others knew that terrorism was emulating the opponents and hence a strategy of self-destruction. Unfortunately the one with lesser romanticism but more sense Gudrun Ensslin joined/supported The Baader-Meinhof Gang.

            The title of the article – “Germany Risks Forgetting Its History” as it has already happened in some cases whilst in other cases was never forgotten and/or it is being slowly rediscovered.

            “But what do any of us know really of the machinations of TPTB.”

            An incomplete answer to aid adressing your question likely lies in the following :

            The former Stasi records advising Mr. Baader against engaging in terrorism in the FDR.
            The former KGB records including matters of note from associated services.
            Mr. Mitrokhin who photocopied some these records which were relayed to Mr. Andrew and MI6.
            Those who read but didn’t photocopy these records before all records became under the purview of
            The Office of the President of The Russian Federation.

            These may be shared through other fora in the not too distant future.

            “but who carried out attempts to free them.” very ineptly as was the case with most of the endeavours of The Baader-Meinhof Gang which were informed by Mr. Baader’s taste in narratives of rebels without a cause, including Bonnie and Clyde.

  22. Vinnie Gough
    January 31, 2023 at 14:37

    It says a lot about this world that the USA has long been in favor of the re-militarization of both Germany and Japan, and has openly pushed both nations to give up their resolutions of peace made after the previous defeat of fascism. The USA is firmly on the side of the re-militarization of both Japan and Germany, which says as much about the modern USA as it does about these historically militarist nations.

    If we compare these modern states to their WW2 states, we can see that the USA today is as militaristic as the old Germany and the old Japan, while none of these countries resembles a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, which has apparently perished from this earth. The modern USA’s version of Freedom is to lock up more of its citizens than anyone in the world. We can see how the world has moved, with the re-militarization of both Germany and Japan being clear sign posts on the Highway to Hell.

  23. AG
    January 31, 2023 at 14:12

    If I may add – Zeitenwende – watershed – was not created as a response to Febr. 24, of course.

    According to this German text it did manifest very openly already 2020:


    The above mentioned Munich Security Conference had it on the agenda then.

    * * *

    Far from exonarting Scholz I would still suggest that German mass media are even more disgusting.

    The very day of Baerbock´s remark the Bulletin published its latest Doomsday Clock assessment.

    In German media either they made fun of the Doomsday Clock. Or called it alarmistic. Or called Baerbock “brave”.

    But noone was capable of adding 1 and 1. And make clear how both were connected.

    Scholz might be under pressure from the Greens (fragile coalition), from the Poles (EU integrity), the US (fear, what are they gonna blow up next)

    But German well paid journalists have to fear noone.

    • onwards
      February 1, 2023 at 19:45

      “But German well paid journalists have to fear no one”
      Remember the late German journalist Ulff Kotte

  24. Renate
    January 31, 2023 at 13:38

    There is only one explanation for all the traitorous officials in NATO, they have to be corrupt and paid to do what they do to their nations and Europe. At best Europe will be in the same condition as the whole middle east and Ukraine after the American Shock & Awe warfare on the continent.
    There is no way they don’t know it. Baerbock should have had to resign after her stupid talk about being at war with Russia, she told the truth, but she was too stupid to know it was not her job to tell it.

    How could a senile old warmonger like Biden become president and not even pick a qualified VP and then pick all the failed and really evil neocon people for his cabinet and not one qualified person with character and decency as an advisor? How did we get there?
    Corrupt people make a corrupt government, what else could explain this?

    • SH
      January 31, 2023 at 19:33

      They are all pretty much hold overs from the Obama/Clinton crowd – starting from the top (Biden) down – continuity of persons generally means continuity of policy …

      • Ken Carrier
        February 1, 2023 at 11:35

        Since you are giving us a history lesson. In Sept of 1939 2 countries invaded and partitioned Poland. Why did France in Britain declare war on only one? In Aug of 1945 the USSR broke a non-aggression pact with Japan and Invaded South Sakhalin Japan and the Japanese Kuril Islands. Isn’t Breaking a non-aggression a war crime? If Germany and Russia just returned to their June 1914 border, The Nord streams wouldn’t even be needed. By the way whatever to the 12 million plus ethnic Germans that were living east of Oder River in June of 1914?

Comments are closed.