The revival of German power — a fourth reich — is inevitable. The reason for this is simple. Since the Cold War, Germany has rested upon the arms of America for its protection. Now, the Germans long to send a new message to the world: America can now rely on Germany to be the stronghold defending Europe against an advancing Russia in the midst of a rising multipolar world. America wants to place more of its focus on working against China, and thus wants Germany to revive its strength to be the protector of Europe. In this political climate, a revived Germany is inevitable.
In the afternoon — August 6th, 1995 — in a village in Croatia, three Croat soldiers stood before eight Serbian civilians near a house. One of them, a woman, was watching from a distance, hoping not to be seen. One of the soldiers spotted her, chased after her and beat her with the butt of his rifle. She was forced to join the others. The civilians were led to a nearby factory, and the soldiers tore apart their identity papers and berated them. When they reached a road, two of the soldiers left with two of the civilians. The rest of the group was forced by the remaining soldier to return to the village, with threats and insults. The soldier noticed another civilian and forced him to join the tyrannized villagers. The soldier drew a ‘U’ on the ground, representing the Ustasa, the fascist, Croatian supremacist movement that joined the Nazis to butcher Serbs.
The soldier then declared that U was the golden letter and opened fire, killing all but one of the villagers. This did not happen in during the Second World War, but in 1995.
The fact that this happened at such a time tells us that fascism — really, love for the murderous Ustasa — still stands in Croatia. Now, think to yourself what would happen if the German armed forces were to include the Croatian military into a pan-European army. There would be neo-Ustasa soldiers, under the command of Germany, just as it was during the reign of the Third Reich. This is not an impossible prospect, for the Germans today are aspiring to establish a European army, with Germany at the center of power. A 2018 article published by Croatian newspaper, Free Dalmatia (Slobodna Dalmacija) has a headline that reads: “The German army will soon accept foreigners in its ranks! Croats will also be able to apply, here is the starting salary.” The article quotes German general Eberhard Zorn saying: “At a time when there is a shortage of professional manpower, the Bundeswehr also has to reach for new options and look in all directions”.
With the war happening in Ukraine, hatred toward Russia has gained a vast ground, and the will to have a pan-European army, with Germany holding its reins, has become ever thicker in the political air. What is happening now holds echoes from a past era, when Europeans of rightest thought joined the Third Reich in their spite against the Soviet Union. In the wave of rage possessed by Europe’s masses, people will gather under Germany’s hand as a powerhouse against their Russian foe. Such a massive body of nations, under Germany’s rule, will be a fourth reich.
Germany’s rise as a military power reached a noteworthy mark when Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022. Germany’s Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, called this moment Zeitenwende, a turning point or an end to an era. It marked a new zeitgeist in which Germany will no longer remain restrained; the beginning of a new era in which Germany would show its strength.
Germany’s Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, showed this turning point when she said in August of 2022 that “there will be no turning back, the harsh reality being that Russia will remain a threat to peace and security”. Chancellor Scholz affirms that since the spark of the war nothing will be the same again and that Germany must become stronger:
“After the turning point that Putin’s attack means, nothing is as it was. And that’s why things can’t stay the way they are! But just the determination of a turning point is not a program. From the turning point comes a mandate to act – for our country, for Europe, for the international community. We must make Germany more secure and resilient, the European Union more sovereign and the international order more sustainable.”
Part of the plan to revive German power is expanding the European Union, since it is really a confederation led by Germany. So a bigger European Union means a widening of German hegemony. In her 2022 state of the union address, the President of the EU, Ursula von der Leyen, spoke in favor of including Ukraine and more Balkan countries into the European Union: “I want the people of the Western Balkans, of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to know: You are part of our family, your future is in our Union, and our Union is not complete without you!”
Olaf Scholz echoed this desire to include the Balkans into the EU, when he said in July of 2022:
“Putin wants to divide our continent into zones of influence, into great powers and vassal states. We know what catastrophes this used to lead us Europeans to. At the most recent European Council, we therefore gave an unequivocal answer. A response that will forever change the face of Europe: we gave Ukraine and Moldova candidate status and reaffirmed Georgia’s European future. And we have made it clear that the prospect of accession for all six Western Balkan countries must finally become a reality.”
In the Balkans there is definitely a pro-Russian sentiment amongst the Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Within Bosnia, the Serbs have their own government entity called the Republika Srpska, and the Germans worry that this separate state could be used by the Russians to unsettle the Balkans. There are also tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. The Kosovo government has put a ban on Serbian license plates. This has triggered the Serbian government to raise up the country’s military readiness in the case of Albanian attacks on Serbs.
President Aleksandar Vucic ordered the military “to increase the level of combat readiness to be prepared to respond to any task,” according to Serbia’s defense minister Milos Vucevic. “Serbia talking about peace and stability doesn’t mean that we’re weak, that we can be harassed and humiliated,” said Vucevic. “No one should doubt that” that Serbia is committed to protecting all Serbian citizens, including Serbs in Kosovo. The Germans are pro-Albanian, and backed the Albanians of Kosovo against the Serbs in the 1990s, while the Russians are a strong ally to Serbia. If the Serbs and Albanians start fighting each other again, the Germans will back the latter, the Russians the former.
The Germans want to keep Russia out of the Balkans, hence why they want to include the Balkans into the fold of the EU. What this would do is firmly place the Balkans under German hegemony, and since the Germans want to form a pan-European military force, this would mean Bosnian and Albanian soldiers under the command of the German armed forces. It would be like what the Nazi Third Reich had, that is, Nazi SS divisions from these nations.
Would Serbia be a part of this body of fighters? Serbia still has strong feelings for Russia, and the favor for Russia is still deep in the society. The idea of being a vassal of the Germans would leave a nasty taste in many a Serbian mouth, with memories of fascist crimes — done by Albanian, Croatian and Bosnian fanatics — still fresh in the mind of the nation. This fondness for Russia has left the Germans frustrated. Hence in November of 2022, it was reported that the German government (according to one German official) was “surprised and disappointed” when Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković in September signed an agreement with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov agreeing to have talks on foreign policy.
The official said that “If he takes the path to Europe, he will have support, from the EU as a whole and from the German government… Should he choose the other path, it will have ensuing consequences” for Serbia’s future with the EU.
Since Croatia is already a part of the EU, a German led European military would mean Croatian soldiers led by Germany’s military might. Because Croatia still has its awe towards the Ustasha, such a setup would have echoes resounding from the past, of Croatian nationalists, armed and used by Germany, against their Serb enemies, and the terrifying relics of not only the middle of the twentieth century, but the mid-1990s, would be unearthed.
Berlin’s call to the Balkan nations to be grafted into the German tree is rooted not in a hatred towards tyranny (if that were in their minds, they would not have backed and armed the KLA in Albania), but in the struggle between Germanic and Russian domination in Europe. When Russia invaded Georgia to back Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it was bolstering states that upheld Russia and thus embraced Moscow’s sway.
It was for this end that Russia gave strength to the two self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk. Such is the way of empire. Germany, for many years, has vied with Russia over Europe. Helmuth von Moltke the Younger, who led the German Army in the early part of the First World War, foresaw a “great racial struggle between Teutons and Slavs.” This belief really showed its horrid face in the slaughter done by the Third Reich, with the butcher of millions of Poles, Russians and Serbs. The Germans used fanatically nationalistic Slavs to butcher other Slavs who they fiercely wanted gone. So they used Ukrainian nationalists to butcher Poles, and Croatian fanatics to butcher Serbs. But, at the end of it all, they still scorned these Slavs as their slaves.
In the First World War, the Germans wanted to rule over the Balkans; in the Second World War, the Germans wanted the Balkans to be under their reign; in the 1990s, the Germans supported the Albanians against Yugoslavia and pushed for the bombing of Serbia, and this was done as a way to bring about German hegemony over the Balkans. At the end of the day, German domination is the goal. Fear of German domination still lingers in Poland. Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party, said a few months ago – in the context of German arms related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – that “he does not know whether Germany wants to arm itself against Russia or against Poland”.
Germany may talk a lot about “Europe,” but what it really wants can be read in its national anthem, “Deutschland over all.” Germany is becoming more focused on itself than it is on the European Union. This was indicated by Germany’s decision to make a 200 billion euro package to protect its citizens and industry from rising energy prices. When the Germans unveiled this play, they did so without notifying the French, a move that angered Macron, according to Reuters.
French frustration was seen in the words of a French official who said: “We learnt about it in the press. That’s not the done thing”. According to Paris, Germany’s package gives an advantage to German companies and threatens the European Union’s single market. In the eyes of the French, the Germans are striving for a more “Germany first” idea; this is according to Tara Varma of the ECFR think-tank in Paris. When it comes to Germany and France, the former is surely the one who rules in Europe, as opposed to the latter. France is subordinate to Germany in the current state of things, and this can be seen in the memory of Yanis Varoufakis who was once the finance minister of Greece.
In June of 2015, Emmanuel Macron, when he was the economic minister of France, sent a text to Yanis, when Greece was in the midst of its terrible economic crisis, saying: “I do not want my generation to be the one responsible for Greece exiting Europe”. Macron agreed to get President Hollande to help Greece. He later wrote a text to Yanis stating that Hollande was planning to announce the reopening of negotiations. Macron agreed to come to Greece to help put together a deal. But, on June 29th, the day that Macron was suppose to arrive to Greece, Alexis Tsipras, the Prime Minister of Greece, called Yanis confused: “What’s going on? Hollande’s office replied that they have no idea about a possible mission by Macron to Athens.” Yanis asked Macron about what was happening, and the answer he got back was shocking: “The people around Hollande do not want me to come to Athens. They are closer to the Berlin Chancellory than to our government.” (See Varoufakis, Adults in the Room, ch. 16, pp. 453-454).
If the French finance minister is not allowed to visit his Greek counterpart lest it upset the Germans, then Germany is the one in charge. In the case of a sweeping clash between the two nations, it will be France at the lower end of the struggle facing a much fiercer neighbor. If the Two World Wars taught us something, it is that France does not win against a Germany bent on the warpath.
The rift between the two most powerful countries in the EU is also an image of the rift within Europe, between the Germanians and the Latins. What the French want in this predicament — shared borrowing between countries — represents the desire of the Mediterranean European countries. What the Germans have done — focusing on protecting its own citizens and industry — reflects more of the the desire of the Germanic or Northern nations. In the words of the Economist:
“A policy that was amenable to the heart-led French could be assumed to appeal to much of southern Europe. What hard-headed Germany found acceptable would also pass muster in anywhere from the Netherlands to Austria and eastern Europe, at least before the war.”
Germany, in its desire to advance its hegemony, has grand aspirations to expand its current bloc — the European Union — eastward, desiring to include Ukraine in its fold. “I am committed to the enlargement of the EU. That the EU continues to grow eastward is a win-win for all of us,” said Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor of Germany. Scholz also wants to make a more militarily strong Europe: “In the future, Europe will need a coordinated increase in capabilities… We must confidently and jointly advance European defense.” But, when Germany talks about bettering Europe’s defense, what this entails is making Germany the biggest military force in Europe. As Chancellor Scholz said in September of 2022, Germany must become the “best equipped armed force” in Europe. “At the same time, we are showing clearly and credibly that Germany is ready to assume leading responsibility for the security of our continent,” Scholz said.
A focal point for this aspiration is the ideology of Germany being at the center of Europe, in that since Germany is in the middle of Europe, it must be the strongest country to keep everything else together. Olaf Scholz stated this: “As the most populous nation with the greatest economic power and a country in the centre of the continent, our army must become the cornerstone of conventional defense in Europe, the best-equipped force”. The Dutch political writer, Luuk van Middelaar, has explained that the Ukrainian conflict has revived the pursuit to embedding Ukraine into the European Union.
This expansion to the east will make Germany appear more at the center of Europe, while making France look closer to the edge. France is replaceable to Germany, while the French would not be able to bypass a German power. This idea that Germany is at the center and thus must be the most powerful echoes with the old ideology of Mitteleuropa, an idea that goes back to the 19th century and teaches that Germany’s position is to have an empire over Europe, especially in Eastern Europe.
Such an envisage would be impossible without a strong military, and this requires a dramatic shift from a non-aggressive policy to one where militarization is seen as normal. Lars Klingbeil, co-leader of the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Ukraine) stated: “For me, peace policy means also seeing military force as a legitimate political tool.” Christine Lambrecht, Germany Defense Minister, spoke of a need for greater willpower in Europe when it comes to military buildup, since America is focusing more on China as opposed to Europe and thus the Europeans must act more on their own.
She said that Europeans “must make a greater contribution to our security themselves,” and demanded that Europe “develop forces and skills that will make us stronger and more credible”. Of course, the German defense minister made it clear that Germany is a focal point in her worldview: “A sustainable turning point requires more money,” to “reinvest in the combat power and operational capability of the Bundeswehr”. The Bundeswehr is the Armed Forces of Germany, and it wants to become the leading military of Europe. This is an agenda that is within the German government.
In October of 2022, the Federal Academy for Security Policy organized a “Workshop on the National Security Strategy for the Bundeswehr and Society in the Light of the Changing Era”. In this conference, the Federal Ministry of Defense said:
“In the war of narratives, security policy communication is also a means of resistance. It is about coordinated external communication, also among partners and allies. Germany’s leading role in Europe must be communicated even more than before”.
Since the end of the Second World War, Germany has had to trust in the guard of the US (and NATO) for protection, but the Germans want to send a new message: that America should rely on Germany for the protection of Europe in a world where America is not the only one that reigns. On November 2nd of 2022, Bärbel Bas, the president of the German parliament (Bundestag) declared this idea at the annual reception of the military commissioners:
“Germany has long benefited from NATO protection. It is now up to us to show that our partners in the alliance can also rely on us. Germany takes its duty of assistance to its allies very seriously. Our commitment to securing the alliance’s eastern flank shows this clearly. I was in Warsaw in May. In all the talks I had there, I felt how imminent the Russian threat was felt in our neighboring countries and in the Baltic States. Our engagement in the eastern NATO countries, especially in Rukla, is very much appreciated there. Ladies and Gentlemen the world has changed since the Cold War. We live in a multipolar and dynamic world. China’s power and the US’ stronger focus on the Indo-Pacific region make us aware that we Europeans have to take on more responsibility. We need to take our security more into our own hands.”
The thing about her words is that they are true. The world is transitioning from having a single pole of power — America — to one with numerous poles. America wants Germany to be the protector of Europe so that the US could spend more of its focus against China in the Indo-Pacific. This would involve Japan being spurred to boost up its own military strength so that it could be the bulwark against China. Turkey is also being seen by the US as the arm against Russia in the Middle East. So here we have three regional powers, Germany, Japan and Turkey rising up as strongholds against Russia in the midst of an America shutting itself in. The multipolar world is indeed being shaped, and part of this is the revival of German power.