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Germany

Ideas

Ukraine Has Exposed The Bankruptcy Of Germany's "Never Again" Pacifism

A group of pro-peace German intellectuals published a letter asking the country not to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine, but they're missing the point completely. Germany needs to reinvent itself in order to face today's challenges — and threats.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — When even the brightest minds — some of whom have shaped the intellectual life of this republic for decades — suddenly seem at a loss, it can mean one of two things. Either the clever minds are not as clever as we were always led to believe. Or the times have changed so brutally that old pieces of wisdom are suddenly no longer valid.

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If you don't want to give up your childhood faith in the Federal Republic of Germany quite yet, you can settle on the second option.

Alexander Kluge, one of Germany's most versatile artists, founded a television production company, proving that there can even be television for intellectuals. Journalist and prominent feminist Alice Schwarzer has done more for the liberation of women in this country than anyone else. Yet Schwarzer and Kluge, along with another two dozen intellectuals, have written an open letter that basically recommends Ukraine to submit to Vladimir Putin for the sake of the authors' peace of mind.

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Why Macron's New EU Membership Scheme Is All About Appeasing Putin

French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed a new European Political Community, with support from Germany's Olaf Scholz, that would include Ukraine in a second-tier union. No, this is not about European "core values" — it's just the latest attempt by the EU's two biggest players to be sure not to upset Vladimir Putin.

-OpEd-

KYIV — French President Emmanuel Macron said that Ukraine's accession to the European Union will take years, if not decades. He also proposed the creation of a new union on the continent — the European Political Community, which may include countries that must wait to join the EU, or which have left (like the UK).

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At the same time, according to Macron's plan, joining the new union will mean other states cannot gain membership to the European Union.

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How Millennials And Boomers See Putin's Nuclear Threats Differently

Baby boomers who grew up under the threat of nuclear armageddon warn against a nuclear escalation of the war in Ukraine. But the younger generations are not cowed by Putin's blackmail. And that’s a very good thing.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — It is a sentence that no German Chancellor had ever had to utter before. “I am doing everything I can to prevent an escalation that would lead to World War III. There must not be a nuclear war,” said Olaf Scholz.

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"Just 106 Seconds To Berlin" - How Putin Exploits Europe's Nuclear Fears

Russian propaganda plays on the revival of the West’s fear of a nuclear attack, especially knowing how close European capitals are to Moscow's atomic warheads. But Europe must remember the lessons of the Cold War and not play into Putin's hands.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — “Take a look at this picture,” the expert on Russian state TV says excitedly. “There’s nothing they can do about it.”

On the screen is a diagram that shows how long it would take a Russian nuclear missile to reach various European capital cities from its base in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad: 106 seconds to reach Berlin, 200 to reach Paris. “Would you like to know about London? That would take 202 seconds,” the presenter says.

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This is not the first time that Russian TV has threatened the West with nuclear war. And the reaction from across Europe is clear – panic.

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Society
Dankwart Guratzsch

Beyond Bauhaus, The Case For Preservation Of Postmodern Architecture

Postmodern architecture has always been divisive, so how should we approach the preservation of this roundly unloved style described by everything from “kitsch” to “neoliberal”? Some experts would prefer to simply tear it down.

-Essay-

BERLIN — How do those charged with preserving historic buildings approach postmodern architecture? It seems they avoid it if possible. In Weimar, a city in central Germany, professors from the Bauhaus University and historic buildings experts debated the idea of “postmodern heritage” for three days – and could not agree which examples of postmodern architecture were worthy of protected status.

The conference’s media partner, online magazine moderneREGIONAL, set out to establish which examples of postmodern architecture might be classed as architectural heritage. But is the modern era of architecture even over? And have we seen the end of postmodernism? Aren’t both styles still flourishing alongside each other? At least when it comes to postmodernism, the conference’s organizers concluded that it was “not over yet and not likely to be over soon”.

What counts as “postmodern” in architecture? Of course, there was the clear break away from what is simplistically referred to as the Bauhaus style of white cubes, glass walls and flat roofs. The shift away from machine aesthetics, functionalism and rationalism. Suddenly facades were daubed with color, embellished with pillars, gables, canopies and cornices, and windows and doors gained ornamental details.

The clean, geometric lines of modernist cubes were livened up, embellished with poetic and historical elements. Buildings became approachable (some experts referred to a new “architecture parlante”), jokey and ironic – often leaning towards exaggeration, towards the carnivalesque. “For me it meant a new freedom of thought,” a white-haired participant at the Weimar conference said apologetically. He had experienced the architectural revolution as a student.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Haugier, Emma Albright

Will Putin Declare War On May 9? Or Peace?

The annual May 9 commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany has extra significance this year with Russia in the full throes of the invasion of Ukraine. There are conflicting reports about how President Vladimir Putin may use the occasion.

There’s no doubt that next Monday, May 9, all eyes will be on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The annual commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, known in Moscow as “Victory Day,” has extra significance this year with Russia in the full throes of the invasion of Ukraine, which may indeed be the riskiest war since 1945.

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Of course, two months since the invasion, Putin hasn’t even acknowledged that Russia is at war, calling it a “special operation.” And some sources believe that he will use the May 9 occasion to officially declare war — again, against “Nazis,” as the Kremlin refers to the government in Kyiv.

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Germany
Jan Schulte

Maxing Out Energy Self-Sufficiency: Houses That Fuel Themselves

Against the backdrop of skyrocketing electricity and gas prices, the idea of houses that produce their own energy is more attractive than ever.

WEIKERSHEIM — This corner of the state of Baden-Württemberg, in southwest Germany, is a popular tourist destination, boasting a Renaissance-era castle and the pretty old town center. But recently, Weikersheim has gained a new attraction for visitors interested in modern architecture and energy efficiency.

Walk down Bachgasse in the Schäftersheim quarter and you’ll find Hof 8, an award-winning development that has been praised not only for its modern conversion of the old farm buildings but also because the houses produce more energy than they use.

The renovated 19th-century farm has solar panels on every roof, innovative wind-energy installations, a groundwater pump and, of course, heavily insulated walls. An ingenious heating and energy storage system ensures the buildings are completely self-sufficient.

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Economy
Yaroslav Zheleznyak

Rebuilding Ukraine: Lessons From Nations That Rose From The Ashes Of War

After two months of war, experts in Ukraine are starting to consider what plan could work to restore the local infrastructure and economy, looking at the experience of Germany, Japan and Italy — countries that went down in history for their economic miracles after being destroyed by war.

-Analysis-

KYIV — World history has many examples of post-war reconstruction. Since the end of World War II, there have been more than 30 major wars and more than 250 military conflicts in the world, involving at least 60 countries.

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But even with such a seemingly large sample, successful examples of recovery can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Each is unique and depends on many factors — from the banal availability of natural resources to the coincidence of circumstances in the region.

The case of Ukraine is unique. Our level of economic development, the presence of established state institutions and legitimate authorities, well-established production processes, and the stability of the financial system make the prospects for Ukraine's recovery significantly different from those of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Angola. Our country is closer to the examples of Europe, as well as some Asian countries after 1945.

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Geopolitics
Cornelia Karin Hendrich

Criticized At Home And Abroad, Chancellor Scholz Jeopardizes Germany's Leadership In Europe

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s speech shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine was hailed as a “turning point”. But two months on, for some international commentators, the bubble has burst. Some believe this spells the end for Germany’s leadership role in Europe, while others are calling Scholz the country’s worst chancellor since 1949.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — The German government has come in for criticism from international commentators for its half-hearted support of Ukraine.

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Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave a speech that was widely seen as a turning point, and both the German public and the international community believed it marked a new direction for German foreign policy — more money for the army and security, and taking more responsibility for areas of the world in crisis.

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Germany
Olexander Demchenko

Why German President Steinmeier Will Never Be Welcome In Kyiv

Why was German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier disinvited to the Ukrainian capital? The case is being used by the German elite for their own benefit, or rather, for Russia, whose economic and political treasures in Europe are guarded by the same Steinmeier.

-OpEd-

KYIV — The German ruling elite was indignant that Ukraine did not give permission to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, along with the heads of state of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, to visit Kyiv.

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Der Spiegel magazine reported that the Office of the President of Germany negotiated with the Ukrainian side for a long time, reaching an agreement, but then the Office of the President of Ukraine stopped answering calls and suspended any talks on Steinmeier's visit as part of the trip of Eastern European leaders to Ukraine.

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Society
Michael Brendler

The Ventilator Question: ICU Doctors Struggle With End-Of-Life Ethics

Instead of ending ICU treatment and allowing relatives to say goodbye peacefully, doctors often keep patients alive for too long. The pandemic has forced us to revisit eternal dilemmas and shown that Intensive Care Units are often unprepared to confront tough ethical questions.

BERLIN — The doctor had no doubt that it was a matter of life or death. A patient with severe pneumonia had arrived down in the emergency room, he told his colleague on the phone. He was no longer breathing well, which in medical jargon means something like: He is at risk of suffocating. "Can you take him over to the intensive care unit (ICU) very quickly?" the doctor requested.

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Migrant Lives
Marie-Luise Goldmann

Ukrainians In 2022 vs. Syrians In 2015, Why Some Refugees Get A Warmer Welcome

As people open their homes to Ukrainian refugees, some in Germany and elsewhere in Europe are criticizing the lack of a similar welcome for Syrians in 2015. Do we have a responsibility to offer the same level of help to all those in need — and are we even capable of that? The answer might just be found in philosophy.

-Essay-

BERLIN — The war in Ukraine has moved many to open their homes to refugees, but this warm welcome has also sparked criticism, with some asking why so many Germans are now happy to have a Ukrainian under their roof when they wouldn’t have done the same for a Syrian in 2015.

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There are many reasons for this. Nigerian author Ayo Sogunro tweeted, “Can't get it out of my head that Europe cried about a 'migrant crisis' in 2015 against 1.4 million refugees fleeing war in Syria and yet quickly absorbed some 2 million Ukrainians within days, complete with flags and piano music. Europe never had a migrant crisis. It has a racism crisis."

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Ideas
Anna Schneider

Time To Put NATO Military Intervention In Ukraine On The Table

The gruesome images from Bucha are shocking. But how many more massacred Ukrainian civilians will it take before the West and NATO say enough? The West's constant fear of escalation makes things easy for Putin.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — Dead bodies in the streets. Civilians, tied up and executed, left half-buried. There is no adequate description for the images from Bucha except: horror. They are crimes against humanity for which Russian President Vladimir Putin is responsible.

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Thus, the sudden burst of joy of Ukrainians seeing Russian troops withdrawing from the region around Kyiv last weekend was painfully brief. Now it is clear what Putin means when he speaks of the "liberation" of the population from a "Nazi regime."

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Ideas
Michael Sheitelman

My Fellow Russians, Our Children Will Pay (Literally) For Putin’s War Crimes

Just look at post-War Germany and the reparations that had to be paid out for generations. Russian-born writer Michael Sheitelman notes from Kyiv, where he is documenting events and reflecting on the war and its aftermath.

KYIV — Russian soldiers and officers treat Ukraine as a free shooting gallery.

The other day, they blew up a shopping mall in Kyiv with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile. In Kreminna, a city in the eastern Luhansk Oblast, a nursing home was shot at from a tank for fun, killing 56 elderly people. In Mariupol, a maternity hospital and a theater shelterting children were bombed.

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There was also the shelling of homes in Odessa by Russian warships, with the names and registration numbers of the vessels plastered over — naive Russian officers expecting to dodge responsibility for war crimes.

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Economy
Tobias Kaiser

Exclusive: Inside Europe's Plans To Become Independent Of Russian Gas

The European Commission is busy trying to get Europe to be completely independent from Russian natural gas by the end of the year. It won’t come without hardships, including for consumers and the climate. Die Welt has details on how it will happen, and what it will cost.

BERLIN — Pressure is mounting on European Union states to impose an embargo on Russian energy supplies. The European Commission, the EU’s powerful administration, is already preparing for a possible cutoff of oil and gas supplies from Russia — even in the event that Russia stops supplies of its own accord.

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The staff of EU Industry and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton has drawn up a scenario of how the EU can become independent of gas supplies from Russia by the end of the year. The calculations were mare available exclusively to Die Welt.

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Geopolitics
Nils Wörmer, Philipp Dienstbier*

How To Rebuild The German Military — Europe's Best Hope To Deter Putin

Germany is the only country that can provide the necessary army forces to secure NATO's eastern flank against Russia. Its army urgently needs targeted investment in tanks and personnel, as well as a new doctrine that examines all options without taboo, including a draft.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — It was a brutally honest declaration by the highest-ranking officer in the German army. On the morning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Inspector of the Army Lt. Gen. Alfons Mais wrote on his LinkedIn page that the German military had suffered from years of fiscal neglect and its shortcomings were visible for all to see.

And with those words, the majority of German politicians finally faced the truth. They saw what experts have been saying for years: the German armed forces are barely capable of national and alliance defense and thus cannot fulfill their constitutional mandate.

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In view of Russia's war of aggression, it has once again become clear that Germany must assume the main burden of conventional defense in Central Eastern and Northern Europe and once again act as the backbone of the (non-nuclear) NATO deterrent.

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