Apr 02

The War in Ukraine and German-Russian Relations

Ursula Muenzel, Ph.D.

Germany and Russia have had a complex relationship over the centuries, oscillating between long stretches of cooperation and times of fierce confrontation. World War I saw the Russian and German empires on opposing sides which was triggered by the automatism of their alliances. In 1941, Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union unleashed a brutal war aiming for total annihilation of the enemy. The Soviets retaliated mercilessly. Consequently, Germany was divided and became the frontline between the West and the Communist bloc.

However, for 100 years, from Napoleon’s defeat until the outbreak of WWI, both countries kept neutrality in each other’s conflicts. Between the two World Wars, defeated Germany and the ostracized, communist Soviet Union, closed ranks and cooperated even though Germany had become a Western democracy while the USSR was in the iron grip of the Communist regime. Cooperation took hold after the fall of the Berlin Wall and economic interests became intertwined - Russia supplying Germany with reliable energy while Germany found a profitable market for her exports in Russia. Germany, located in the heart of Europe, perceived her role as a bridge between East and West, which at times aroused the distrust of the Western allies.

It all changed abruptly when Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year. Germany had to change course overnight, the two countries found themselves again on opposite sides. How will the relationship between the two countries unfold in the future?

This class will be held in-person at WIH and simulcast via Zoom



Class Tuition

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