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History As It Happens

Feb 2, 2023

After weeks of criticism for refusing to send its tanks to Ukraine, Germany relented. Chancellor Olaf Schultz had hesitated in approving shipments of the Leopard 2 battle tank, although Germans citizens have steadfastly supported Ukraine in its war against Russia, and despite the fact that Schultz’s government already delivered more than $1 billion in aid and arms to Ukraine the prior year. But the tank issue caused a rift in German politics over whether the country was going too far in its support for Ukraine in a war with no end in sight against a nuclear-armed foe. Germany, while not a pacifist nation, still has prominent pacifist or anti-interventionist voices in its politics who point to the country’s history as the reason for avoiding deep involvement in foreign wars: Hitler, genocide, and catastrophic defeat in 1945. In this episode, historian Chris Browning brings his expertise on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust to a discussion about the burden of the German past on current politics.