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.