An initiative led by Emma editor Alice Schwarzer sees nuclear war looming because of the German arms deliveries. Ukraine supporters, above all the Greens, consider this to be naïve and dangerous – a generational conflict with explosive power.
“War mongers! Warmongers!” They yell at him. Olaf Scholz speaks loudly, almost screams, his hands clenched in fists.
A few weeks ago, no one would have expected the German chancellor to be insulted as a warmonger on May 1st. When it came to Ukraine, the SPD member was hesitant for a long time, and his no to heavy weapons even shook the traffic light coalition.
Now that he’s decided to deliver a few tanks, there’s suddenly a headwind from the other side. An initiative led by women’s rights icon Alice Schwarzer is calling on him to stop deliveries again: That “could make Germany itself a war party,” argue the 28 signatories in Schwarzer’s magazine Emma. They fear the “immediate danger of a world war” and that the West is providing Putin with “a motive for possibly criminal action.”
Where is Germany?
In Germany, this sparked a debate that went beyond the question of “weapons or not?”. It’s about positioning in the world – about the identity that the country wants to give itself after Kohl, the reconciler with the East, and Merkel, the steward of this legacy. Will the country remain the giant who has always held back due to historical obligations? Or is the country growing into the role on the world stage that its global economic power has long demanded of it?
The lines of conflict not only throw the party structure upside down, they also run down the generations. Those who are familiar with the fear of nuclear war from the Cold War face those born later who no longer remember Putin’s blackmail – and who consider it a simple tactic. You could say boomers versus millennials.
This conflict can best be pinned down to two people – to Schwarzer, who at almost 80 years of age has a number of prominent supporters behind her – Reinhard Mey, Martin Walser, Dieter Nuhr, Gerhard Polt and Peter Weibel. On the other side is the Green Annalena Baerbock, just 41 years old, and as Foreign Minister, the young generation in person – and symbol of the change of the Greens away from the pacifist party: In 1999, disgruntled Greens threw Joschka Fischer for his yes to the Bundeswehr mission in Kosovo still threw bags of paint at their heads, now they applaud their party leader at the front with a steel helmet and protective vest.
“Steel Thunderstorm Rhetoric”
The verbal battle between the two camps takes place in traditional and social media. Of the Spiegel For example, Jürgen Habermas, Germany’s model philosopher, writes about the “steel thunderstorm rhetoric” of the Greens in the Süddeutsche, criticizing the Greens as an “icon” of the new enthusiasm for war.
Black, on the other hand, becomes in the HE DOES Castigated as “without empathy”, their text read as a “call to surrender” that accepts murder, rape and torture. in the Spiegel She even has to listen to ur-feminist criticism: The fact that she claims that the West is using arms to supply Putin with a motive for his crimes is also known as the “shouldn’t she have worn such a low décolleté” argument. And even Chancellor Scholz, who seems to have been caught between the fronts in the debate, took a violent stand against them on May 1st Emma-critique on. It was “cynical” and “out of date” to say that Ukraine should defend itself against Putin’s unarmed aggression.
Admittedly, the debate was received more benevolently in Russia. There the Emma letter and the Chancellor’s distress made it into the big tabloids. The tenor: how scholars lecture the German chancellor – and how he is booed for his politics.