Recently there has been a lot of debate regarding Germany's hesitation to provide tanks to Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has been asking for military support from their allies in light of ongoing conflict with Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. However, the German government has been reluctant to provide lethal weapons, including tanks, due to concerns about escalating the violence. Only under severe pressure from its allies and a U.S. commitment to send Abrams tanks did Germany finally relent.
Germany has a troubled history in the 20th century, including its association with authoritarian and fascist regimes. However, it has since become a leading voice for human rights, democracy, and stability in Europe. The country has been one of the main benefactors of the post-WWII security structure, allowing it to become the main economic power in Europe. This position of leadership requires the country to take decisive actions in the face of ongoing threats to the security of the region.
The conflict in Ukraine triggered by Russian aggression is one such threat. The annexation of Crimea and the ongoing violence in Ukraine pose a significant challenge to the region's stability and the security of Europe as a whole. In light of this, Germany needs to take a firm stance in support of Ukraine and the principles it upholds.
By providing battle tanks to Ukraine, Germany would send a message that it stands with those fighting against oppressive regimes and working to uphold freedom and democracy. Furthermore, it would demonstrate that the country is willing to take an active role in preventing the current fascist regime in Europe under Putin from attaining political goals via violence. In this sense, providing tanks to Ukraine could be seen as a way for Germany to make amends for its past submission to fascism and to work towards a better future for all.
In conclusion, while Germany's past association with fascism will always be a part of its history, it should not prevent the country from taking a strong stance against Russian aggression and supporting Ukraine in its time of need. Providing heavy weapons to Ukraine would be a meaningful step towards this goal and would demonstrate Germany's commitment to a peaceful, stable, and democratic Europe.
Kenneth Maher earned an M.A. in Russian Area Studies and served as a U.S. Army military intelligence officer. He is also the author of "Wind of Change: An American Journey in Post-Soviet Russia".