German Luftwaffe general becomes neo-fascist election candidate


This 7 July 2019 video says about itself:

The German bombing of Rotterdam, also known as the Rotterdam Blitz, was the aerial bombardment of Rotterdam by the Luftwaffe on 14 May 1940, during the German invasion of the Netherlands in World War II. The objective was to support the German troops fighting in the city, break Dutch resistance and force the Dutch to surrender. Even though preceding negotiations resulted in a ceasefire, the bombardment took place nonetheless … and destroyed almost the entire historic city centre, killing nearly 900 people and making 85,000 others homeless.

By Christopher Lehmann in Germany:

Three-star general stands for far-right Alternative for Germany in mayoral election

14 August 2019

On Tuesday evening, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) selected 64-year-old Joachim Wundrak, with 98 percent of the vote, as its candidate for the Hannover mayoral election on October 27. The former three-star general is the highest-ranking military figure to openly support the AfD.

Wundrak was one of 10 Luftwaffe (air force) lieutenant-generals until September of last year. This is the second highest rank in the Bundeswehr (armed forces) in peacetime. He was only outranked by Inspector General Eberhard Zorn, a four-star general. Wundrak was recently commander of the Air Operations Centre and the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in the cities of Kalkar and Uedem, in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Wundrak’s work enabled him to develop a close international network. Among others duties, he commanded the Joint Force Air Component Headquarters. This headquarters plans and leads the use of the air forces of several nations, e.g., in the context of the NATO Response Force or the European Battle Group.

The Air Operations Centre, last commanded by Wundrak, currently directs the deployment of the Luftwaffe in Estonia, where German Eurofighter jets are operating together with NATO partners at the Russian border. From August 8, 2008 to March 31, 2009, he served as chief of staff of Operation Althea, formally the European Union Force Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR), on assignment abroad in Sarajevo. In Kabul, Afghanistan, he served as deputy chief of staff for air in the International Security Assistance Force’s Joint Command from February 21, 2011 to December 7, 2011.

According to representatives of the Bundeswehr, Wundrak enjoys an extraordinary reputation both within Germany and abroad. He “has made a significant contribution to the further development of the use of air forces in the transatlantic alliance.” He was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, the highest and only merit award of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Last September, Wundrak retired after 44 years in the Bundeswehr in a large-scale farewell ceremony. At that time, he was keeping his AfD membership secret. Immediately after the military tattoo, a martial event in which soldiers held a torchlight parade in their combat helmets in the market square of Kalkar in the evening, Wundrak announced that he had been a member of the AfD since January. “The AFD is the only party that still values the sovereignty of Germany,” he said.

When younger, he explained, he had been close to the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The right-wing SPD hardliner Helmut Schmidt had been his “political hero.” However, because the policies of the SPD became far too “left-wing” for him, he had joined the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 2008. The general stressed that he had resigned from the CDU before the 2014 refugee crisis. Referring to his good contacts in the Federal Police, many of whom share his opinions, he said that the crisis had been foreseeable and he had not really felt “at home” in the CDU.

Three-star general Wundrak is the highest-ranking military figure in the AfD so far, but by no means the only one. The AfD is teeming with former and active officers and members of other sections of the state security apparatus among its officials and parliamentarians.

Retired Colonel Georg Pazderski is deputy federal chairman of the right-wing extremist party and leader of its Berlin state association. He greeted Wundrak with the words, “I am happy about every comrade who finds his way to us and gets involved. General Wundrak is a great asset for our party.”

Uwe Junge, a retired lieutenant colonel, also welcomed Wundrak, tweeting, “Those who want to serve their country, are right with us! Welcome aboard, general!” Junge heads the state association and the AfD parliamentary faction in Rhineland-Palatinate. On Twitter, he commented on the appointment of the new defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer with the words, “When will we finally see the rebellion of the generals?”

The AfD state association in North Rhine-Westphalia could also soon be led by a former Bundeswehr officer. Retired Colonel Rüdiger Lucassen is presently under discussion for the office. Lucassen is currently the AfD co-chair on the Defence Committee of the German Bundestag (parliament) and defence policy spokesman for its parliamentary group. His comrade and party colleague Jan Nolte, who maintains close links with the far-right camp, is also a member of the defence committee.

According to the Вild newspaper, the AfD estimates that at least 2,100 of its 35,000 members are professional soldiers. In addition, the party said there were currently 11 former professional soldiers representing the far-right party in the Bundestag. On the one hand, the high proportion of active and former soldiers in the top echelons of the AfD shows the great influence the party has on the Bundeswehr, in which there are large right-wing extremist networks. On the other hand, it expresses the turn by the ruling elites and the military towards the AfD.

The Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party) has stated: “Like the rise of the Nazis, the AfD is not an industrial accident. Under conditions of the deepest crisis of capitalism since the 1930s, wars all around the world and growing conflicts between the major powers, the extreme right is being deliberately encouraged by the ruling class in order to push through its policy of militarism, stepping up the powers of the state at home and abroad, and social cuts against the opposition of the population.”

The ruling class in Germany, including major parts of the Bundeswehr, is well aware that it can only suppress the massive opposition to militarism, war preparations and great power politics with the help of the right-wing extremists.

Germany: Ex-intelligence chief [Maassen] campaigns for Christian Democrats and far-right AfD: here.

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German nazi murder of Lübcke, cover-up?


This 20 June 2019 video says about itself:

‘Pro-refugee’ politician’s murder raises concerns of neo-Nazi terror in Germany

The killing of a ‘pro-refugee’ politician, Walter Luebcke, in Germany has scandalized the country and raised concerns over the rise in right-wing extremism in Germany. The suspect arrested in connection with the killing reportedly had links to the neo-Nazi NPD party.

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting in Germany:

What is the German secret service concealing about the Lübcke murder?

6 August 2019

The Kassel public prosecutor has confirmed that Stephan Ernst, strongly suspected of murdering Kassel District President Walter Lübcke, may have made another murder attempt more than three years ago. This new suspicion provided grounds for the police to raid Ernst’s house again on 25 July.

In the hitherto unexplained case, a 22-year-old Iraqi asylum-seeker was attacked with a knife on 6 January 2016 near the Lohfelden refugee shelter, and was seriously injured. The unidentified culprit escaped on a bicycle.

Ernst lived just 2.5 kilometres from the refugee shelter. The facility was the site of a town hall meeting two-and-a-half months earlier at which Lübcke countered the shouts of right-wingers who attacked him for providing refugee accommodation. According to the news weekly Der Spiegel, Ernst is the man in a video of the meeting shouting at Lübcke, “I can’t believe it” and “Get lost”. This video was used to launch a hate campaign on the internet against Lübcke, which included death threats.

When Ernst was identified as a criminal suspect based on DNA evidence found at the scene of Lübcke’s murder and gave a detailed confession—since withdrawn—it was said that the right-wing extremist, who had been convicted several times before, had disappeared from the radar of the intelligence agencies 10 years ago because he was no longer politically active. The intelligence file on Ernst, which had been available in 2016 to the Committee of Inquiry of the Hesse state parliament into the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU), has since been closed in the Intelligence Information System (NADIS) of the investigative authorities, allegedly because there has been nothing against Ernst for 10 years.

But there are increasing indications that Ernst has been active in the militant neo-Nazi scene over the last decade. His public appearance on 14 October 2015 at the town hall meeting in Lohfelden, and the suspicion that he was responsible for the attack on the Iraqi asylum-seeker, are only the latest evidence.

The claim that the security authorities knew nothing about him is not credible. The neo-Nazi scene is riddled with confidential informants (CI), and the meeting in Lohfelden that resulted in death threats against the district president was probably being observed by the secret service. This raises the question of whether Ernst dropped off the radar of the security authorities for reasons other than those officially stated.

In the 1990s, Ernst, who is now 45 years old, repeatedly faced trial for violent assaults and terrorist attacks on immigrants. In 1995 he was sentenced to six years in prison without parole. After his release, he became part of a network that had close ties to the NSU, which murdered nine migrants and a police officer between 2000 and 2007.

At the beginning of the 2000s, Ernst appeared several times at far-right German National Party (NPD) events with Mike Sawallich, who at that time was head of the Hesse Young Nationalists (JN), the NPD youth organization. Sawallich also belonged to the inner circle of the “Oidoxie Street Fighting Crew.” This group regarded itself as a German offshoot of the extreme right-wing terrorist “Combat 18” network, and maintained close ties and gave practical support to the NSU. Not three weeks after the murder of Lübcke, Sawallich posted a photo on Facebook showing him as a youth arm in arm with Ernst, his “best comrade”.

Ernst probably got to know NSU members Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos, and (according to the Bild newspaper) “probably also
Beate Zschäpe” personally in 2006. At that time, these three were said to have attended Stanley Röske’s 30th birthday party in Kassel. Röske, today a leading member of the German “Combat 18” offshoot, has known Ernst at least since 2002.

“Combat 18” has since distanced itself from Ernst for reasons that are unclear. At the end of June, a video by the group appeared on the internet in which a hooded person denied Ernst’s contact with the group. The anti-fascist research platform Exif has identified the speaker as Robin Schmiemann, a well-known right-wing extremist from Dortmund and a pen pal of Beate Zschäpe.

It should be noted that shortly after Röske’s birthday party, the ninth NSU victim, Halit Yozgat, was shot in a Kassel internet café. Present at the murder was the Hesse state secret service officer Andreas Temme. Shortly before the murder of Yozgat, Temme, a CI handler, had phoned his informant in the Kassel neo-Nazi scene, Benjamin Gärtner. In February 2016, as a witness before the Hesse state parliament Committee of Inquiry into the NSU, Gärtner had confirmed that he knew Ernst as “NPD-Stephan”.

In the Munich NSU trial and before parliamentary committees of inquiry Temme appeared as a witness, but the then-Hesse state interior minister and current state premier Volker Bouffier, a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and a friend of Lübcke, refused to grant him full clearance to testify.

After the murder of Yozgat, Temme was transferred from the Hesse state secret service to the district presidency of Lübcke, where he still works today.

In his initial confession to the murder of Lübcke, Ernst implicated two other people, whom the investigators arrested. Sixty-four-year-old Elmar J. from Höxter was said to have sold Ernst the murder weapon in 2016. Forty-three-year-old Markus Hartmann from Kassel was said to have been the intermediary in this deal and other arms purchases by Ernst, including an Uzi submachine gun, from 2014 onwards.

Hartmann is a long-standing right-wing extremist who is known to the authorities. He is originally from Rudolstadt, the same area in Thuringia where the NSU began, and where he was active in the right-wing extremist scene from 1990. In 2006, Hartmann was already in Kassel, where he might have been the local connection to the NSU. Questioned by the police, he said he knew the murder victim Halit Yozgat “fleetingly”. Because he provided an alibi the investigators regarded this possible lead as a dead end.

Hartmann was with Ernst and Sawallich during an attack on the 2009 May Day trade union demonstration in Dortmund, where several hundred neo-Nazis threw stones and wooden slats at the participants. Because of this attack, Hartmann and Ernst were arrested. While the Dortmund District Court sentenced Ernst to seven months in prison on probation, Hartmann walked away without any penalty.

After this sentencing Ernst allegedly remained inconspicuous, the secret services now claim. In fact, he continued to move in the same circles as before. Until at least 2011, he was a member of several extreme right-wing groups, such as the “Artgemeinschaft Germanic Faith Community”, a neo-pagan and neo-Nazi organization founded in 1951 by former SS member Wilhelm Kusserow, and the neo-Nazi group “Freier Widerstand Kassel” (Free Resistance Kassel).

In the 2016 election campaign, Ernst donated 150 euros to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). On the internet, he agitates against foreigners and the government under the pseudonym “Game Over”. In 2018 on YouTube he threatened, “Either this government will abdicate shortly, or there will be deaths.” Together with Hartmann, Ernst was a member of the Sandershausen shooting club.

Mehmet Daimagüler, a lawyer for NSU victims, points out that Lübcke’s cold-blooded murder has parallels with the NSU murders. The NSU victims were also shot with a pistol from close range. And Lübcke too was said to have been on the death list of the NSU when it went to ground in 2011, i.e., long before the internet witch-hunt against him in 2015.

As with the NSU, the facts available to date, despite all the supposed “glitches”, “mistakes” and “sloppiness” on the part of the authorities, provide a clear picture. A right-wing and violent neo-Nazi committed one criminal offence after another since his youth, and was eventually sentenced to several years’ imprisonment in 1995. Free again, he re-joined the neo-Nazi scene, became part of the NSU supporters circle in Kassel, and only 10 years later, in 2009, received another prison sentence. Then something happened that supposedly made him act with more restraint.

Thomas Haldenwang, the president of the federal Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution), as Germany’s national secret service is called, has emphasized that Ernst was not a confidential informant. He moved in an environment of CIs, who are currently being questioned, but since 2010 the Verfassungsschutz no longer had a personal file on him, Haldenwang claims. He was no longer classified as a right-wing extremist, and, according to information from the security authorities, neither the police nor the secret service had placed him under surveillance.

In contrast, the Hesse state secret service regarded Ernst and Hartmann in 2015 as violent right-wing extremists. The latter was also recorded as being a supporter of the right-wing group “Freier Widerstand Kassel”.

Just as with the NSU, here also the secret service is stonewalling. The Hesse state government, led by former Interior Minister Volker Bouffier, has decided to keep the NSU files of the Hesse secret service under lock and key until 2044.

These files also contain the record of the questioning of the CI Benjamin Gärtner in 2016 on his knowledge of Ernst and his contacts. Gärtner refused to talk to Spiegel TV because he had been “muzzled”. He said, “I got a muzzle back then and I do not know what would happen to me if I dropped my muzzle. I do not know how long I’ll be sitting here at home.” Asked what he was afraid of, Gärtner replied, “The government”.

In an earlier article, we raised the question of whether Walter Lübcke had been murdered, not for his refugee-friendly attitude, but for some other reason, and whether it could be that “Lübcke knew too much and had become an obstacle to the far-right cliques?”

Regardless of what Lübcke knew or did not know, however, his murder is a warning to anyone coming too close to the right-wing cliques within the state apparatus. It would have been expected that the murder of a high-ranking state official and CDU politician by a neo-Nazi would have triggered an intense investigation, using all the intelligence available to the secret services to uncover those responsible. Nothing like that has happened.

Relevant secret service files, which could clarify the background to the murder, will remain closed for decades. Nobody is to dare to seek to uncover the intertwining of the intelligence services, security apparatus, AfD and right-wing terrorism. This is accepted by the political establishment, which says a great deal about the extent of the right-wing conspiracy within the state apparatus.

German neo-nazis imposing eating pork by violence


This German TV video says about itself:

Death threats against Leipzig child care centres

Two weeks ago, two kindergartens in Leipzig wanted to take pork off the menu. Then they got massive threats. Some of them have been published by Mayor Jung.

MDR TV of 31 July 2019

From daily The Independent in Britain, 31 July 2019:

Far-right racists threaten to burn down German kindergartens because they stopped serving pork

Mayor speaks out against far-right threat to freedom

By Jon Stone

Europe Correspondent

Far-right racists in Germany have threatened to burn down two nursery schools and kill their management if they do not reintroduce pork to their lunch menus.

Two daycare centres in the city of Leipzig were criticised by right-wing politicians for removing pork, apparently out of consideration for Muslim children who attend.

Burkhard Jung, Leipzig’s social democratic mayor, said the criticism had sparked a tirade of hate and threats against the kindergartens and city authorities from people with far-right and Islamophobic views.

In an emotional post on social media Mr Jung recounted threats that had been received by the nursery in the past week, including pledges to burn it down if pork was not introduced before a certain date, threats to kill those responsible for the menu with a “knife in the heart”, and others to beat up its staff “until [they] are unable to work”.

He said the threats, of which he had only recounted a “small selection” had been received both in writing and in person, adding: “I’m speechless”.

The mayor said the menu change was “nothing unusual” and that reasons for changing the food offer could have been “diverse” – including cultural, taste, or nutritional reasons.

He said the change was “a free decision in a free country” and not a subject for cultural debate.

Mr Jung criticised politicians from the far-right AfD party for allegedly contributing to the hysteria by name, pointing the finger at the “Gaulands, Weidels and Höckes who continue to verbally beat up on those weaker than them”.

“In 2019, kindergartens are threatened when they change their menu, because it does not fit a small-minded picture of the world,” the mayor said.

“The sinking of western civilization and the danger to our enlightened freedom is not the result of those who, for whatever reason, have a different food culture than it is common at the traditional German regular table, but because of those who have lost their moral compass.

“We must not look away, not keep quiet, not hide away: Freedom, equality and empathy are also at risk in our country.”

Earlier this month the board of the two daycare centres announced “in consideration for a changing world” that they would develop a pork-free menu, though they did not specifically mention Islam as the reason.

The daycare centres were given a police guard earlier in the week following the threats.

These people who threaten death are, of course, murderous Islamophobes. But their violent imposition of eating pork is also a threat to Jews, many Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, atheists and others who are vegans or vegetarians.

From DPA news agency in Germany, 24 July 2019:

Two neighbouring nurseries in the eastern German city of Leipzig have backtracked on their decision earlier Tuesday to remove pork from the children’s lunch menu after a fierce debate ignited online.

The head of both nurseries, Wolfgang Schaefer, said he had decided to reverse the decision – at least for now. The management plans to hold a series of discussions on the matter with parents in mid-August, he told dpa. Police were deployed to protect the facilities earlier in the day, while Schweinefleisch, the German word for pork, became the top trending hashtag on Twitter in Germany on Tuesday. “We’re overwhelmed by the whole thing,” Schaefer said.

Local newspaper the Leipziger Volksstimme quoted an employee of one of the day-care facilities as saying that they had received threats in the wake of the decision from people opposed to changing the rules for Muslims. About two weeks ago, parents received a letter from the nurseries’ management saying that “out of respect for a changing world, only pork-free food and snacks will be ordered and given out starting July 15.”

Not all parents were opposed to the move, however. A 37-year-old father of a boy who attends the nursery said: “In principle, we approve of this decision – you won’t be able to keep my son away from sausages, but he will just have to have them at home.”

The conservative CDU’s Saxony branch waded into the debate, saying on Twitter that “The ban on pork at two day-care centres in Leipzig is unacceptable.” …

A lawmaker for the far-right AfD party, Beatrix von Storch, spoke of “cultural subjugation”, noting that 300 children in both facilities would now have to change their diets and customs to appease two Muslim children.”

So, unfortunately, the witch-hunt against the nurseries was not limited to the violent AfD neo-fascists, and to the corporate tabloid Bild daily, with its lying xenophobic right-wing record. The ‘centre-right’ Saxony ‘Christian’ ‘Democrat’ CDU joined in. These ‘Christian’ ‘Democrat’ Saxons should be ashamed of themselves; as they are, figuratively speaking, urinating on the grave of fellow CDU member Walter Lübcke, murdered by a neo-nazi for opposing xenophobia.

German warmongering corporate journalist criticized


This video from Britain says about itself:

Dr Geoffrey P. Megargee: A Blind Eye and Dirty Hands: The Wehrmacht’s Crimes

After the Second World War,a myth arose to the effect that the German military, the Wehrmacht, had been an essentially anti-Nazi institution that had fought honourably against overwhelming odds, albeit under criminal leadership. Thus, any crimes were the fault of Adolf Hitler, a small circle of fanatical yes-men around him, and Nazi organizations such as the SS.

In this talk, Dr Geoffrey Megargee demonstrates that the Wehrmacht’s leadership shared most of Hitler’s goals and methods. The Wehrmacht launched a war of conquest and, especially in the east, aided and committed acts of genocide.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

A reply to Die Zeit editor Jochen Bittner

1 August 2019

On July 31, the WSWS published the articleZeit editor Jochen Bittner condemns ‘German pacifism’”. Following the publication, Bittner wrote to the WSWS requesting the contact information of the author of the article, WSWS editor Johannes Stern. We document the following e-mail exchange between Bittner and Stern.

***

Dear Mr. Stern, Thank you so much for sending me your contact information. I have just one short question: How old are you?

It seems unlikely to me that you grew up under the Nazi dictatorship. But perhaps you have a career in the SED (East German) regime behind you, for example in the MfS [Ministry for State Security – Stasi]? Or are you very young and historically blind?

I ask because the designation of politically-dissenting people as having a “malignant mentality” was a characteristic of both German dictatorships.

Yours sincerely,
Jochen Bittner

Dr. Jochen Bittner
Die Zeit
Political editor

***

Dear Dr. Bittner,

You want to know how old I am? I see no reason to give you my exact date of birth. But I will tell you this: I am old enough to remember the German reunification and all the solemn proclamations that this would mark the dawn of a new era of peace and democracy. Since then, like many others of my generation, I have seen all these promises refuted by endless wars, the rise of militarism and, to my great horror, the increasingly aggressive demands for a new German war policy.

My criticism of what you have written is not personal, but political. You use your influence as the political editor of Die Zeit and a writer for the New York Times to propagate militarism and war, which have horrific consequences. This is the lesson of the two world wars, of the 20th century and the illegal wars of aggression in the Middle East in this century. Your condemnation of pacifism and anti-militarism as “moral arrogance”, especially in the context of German history, is not simply the opinion of a “political dissident.”

As you should know, the first two charges at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1945/46 were “Crimes against Peace” and “Participation in the Planning, Preparation, Unleashing, and Conduct of Wars of Aggression.” This was also taken into account in the German Basic Law. Article 26, for example, states that all “Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations shall be unconstitutional. They shall be criminalized.”

What your commentary expresses is a now-advanced tendency in politics and the media to openly advocate aggressive foreign and great power-politics and war. This includes the systematic trivialization ofthe crimes of German imperialism in the First and Second World Wars, spearheaded by the Humboldt University Professors Herfried Muenkler (“It is hardly possible to carry out a responsible policy in Europe if one takes the view that we were to blame for everything”) and Jörg Baberowski (“Hitler was not vicious”).

Finally, allow me to ask you a question. In the course of your numerous strategy discussions with representatives of the foreign policy establishment and think tanks—such as the German Marshall Fund and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik [German Institute for International and Security Affairs]—have you ever discussed the consequences of your war-mongering? What would the world look like if it had to “fear” German militarism once again? How many countries are to be attacked this time and how many human lives are to be sacrificed for the interests of German imperialism and capitalism? What would be the consequences of a war against Iran or even the nuclear power Russia, for which you and Die Zeit agitate so diligently?

“Historically blind” describes someone who deals with these questions in a cynical and provocative manner and who, 80 years after the beginning of the Second World War, is once again War propaganda in German media agitating for war.

Yours sincerely,

Johannes Stern

Corporate journalist attacks pro-peace Germans


This 18 February 2019 German ARD TV video says about itself (translated):

Hitler salute: Bundeswehr slanders female witness | Panorama | NDR

Instead of finally clarifying whether at a farewell party for a lieutenant colonel the Hitler salute was brought, the Bundeswehr rather slandered the only witness.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

Die Zeit editor Jochen Bittner condemns “German pacifism”

31 July 2019

Last week the New York Times published an op-ed by Jochen Bittner, political editor for the German weekly Die Zeit, entitled, “The world used to fear German militarism. Then it disappeared. How pacifism conquered Germany.”

The article provides an insight into the politically-malignant mentality of affluent journalists who are eager to see German militarism marching again. Throughout the article, Bittner treats the German population’s aversion to war—the result of the horrors of Nazism and the second world war—as an obstacle to be overcome.

Bittner begins his article with the complaint: “The rebuff from Berlin may have been rough, but at least it marked a new age of clarity. Not only did the German government decline a recent American request to send ground troops to Syria…, but it didn’t even consider the idea: There was no debate in the Bundestag, and not even a real one in the press.”

And he continues: “This year, Germany’s postwar federal republic turns 70. Born from the moral and physical rubble of World War II, and reunited only 30 years ago, some of its national character traits are still being formed. Others have fully matured—including a deep and abiding anti-militarism.”

Bittner’s article appeared only one day after the swearing-in of new German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, an event that made clear if there is an “abiding, national character trait” of the German bourgeoisie, then it is militarism.

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s stated goals include doubling the military budget by 2024, building a Franco-German aircraft carrier, reintroducing compulsory military service and also sending German ground troops to Syria!

Bittner knows perfectly well that German the ruling class has long ago decided to throw away all the restrictions imposed on it after its crimes in two world wars and to revive German militarism. He has many connections with the foreign policy establishment and think tanks such as the German Marshall Fund and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and has actively contributed to the return of German militarism.

At the beginning of February 2014, Bittner described how a working group of fifty politicians, journalists, academics, military personnel and business representatives had prepared the revival of German militarism for over a year. The result of this “work” was published by the SWP under the title “New Power, New Responsibility: Elements of a German Foreign and Security Policy for a changing world.”

The SWP paper formed the basis for the intervention of then Federal President Joachim Gauck and the Federal Government at the Munich Security Conference 2014, where they announced the end of Germany’s foreign policy and military restraint. What Bittner concealed in his article was that he could only report in such detail on his topic because he himself had been a member of the working group that had drafted the SWP paper.

The new German great-power strategy also included intensive war propaganda in the media. Bittner also played a central role here. Shortly after the publication of the SWP paper, he placed a programmatic article entitled “Rethinking German Pacifism” in the New York Times on November 4, 2013, in which he spoke out against the “too deeply ingrained pacifism” of the Germans and called for more “military interventions”.

Five years later Bittner is embittered about the fact that the media’s aggressive war propaganda has not changed the anti-war mood of the population at all. Disappointed, he notes: “In Germany, war is always a shame, a sign of failure. The memory of war is inextricably linked to the collapse of civilization as such, to crimes so horrific and traumatic that they pose an eternal moral legacy on the Germans: never again.”

Bittner’s anger at the deeply rooted anti-militarism is evident in every sentence of his commentary. When in 1999 the Green Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer “argued in favor of using German arms during the Balkan wars, a fellow party member threw a balloon filled with red paint at his head” and “in a 2018 poll, 72 percent of Germans said that their country shouldn’t join military action against the Syrian regime … The message is clear: “All war is murder, and making the case for war is the argument of a murderer.”

Reading Bittner’s commentary, it becomes clear why the far-right AfD is courted and promoted by the established media and parties. Bittner’s complaints pursue the same reactionary goal as the AfD’s demands for a “180-degree turn in memory” or its designation of the Nazi terror regime as “a bird shit in over 1,000 years of successful German history.” The historical crimes of German imperialism must be relativized in order to prepare new ones!

“Germany’s decades-long effort to learn from history, and to be on the guard against slipping into another moral abyss, has produced an unintentional byproduct: moral arrogance”, complains Bittner.

The fact that the New York Times, the mouthpiece of the US intelligence apparatus and military, is promoting this propagandist of German militarism is primarily due to Bittner’s foreign policy orientation. As a former NATO correspondent of the Die Zeit, he belongs to the section of the ruling class that, just like the New York Times, is constantly agitating for a more aggressive confrontation with Russia, raising the threat of a nuclear third world war.