Financial TimesFinancial Times

‘Guilt and fear’: Why Germany’s tanks decision was ridden with angst

By Laura Pitel

27 Jan 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

A fascinating FT analysis on why Germany was reluctant to send tanks to Ukraine: It has a lot to do with the Panzer serving as a symbol for many in Germany of the country's Nazi past.

As a Ukrainian historian who has lived in Germany for a decade, Andrii Portnov has watched his adopted country with mixed emotions over the past 11 months.

He could see how far Germany had come, he said, in the tumultuous period since Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of his home nation. Berlin, which this time a year ago refused to send weapons into a war zone, is now the third-largest supplier of military aid to Ukraine. This week it announced that it would dispatch Leopard 2 modern battle tanks, shattering the latest in a long line of national taboos.

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