Berlin, Germany. In a nation where military excellence is still valued by a major percent of the voting population, Germany’s female Defense Minister’s hunt for the ghosts of Nazis among her active duty soldiers is rasing emotions at a time when Angela Merkel needs some calm waters in election 2017 Germany.
German military barracks honouring a handful of World War Two officers should be changed to show the country’s post-war armed forces have made a clean break from their Nazi past, Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen said today.
Leyen has come in for criticism herself after accusing the Bundeswehr armed forces of “weak leadership” amid a national witch hunt over whether there are right-wing extremists in the military, Von der Leyen told reporters the barracks should no longer be named after Nazi-era officers.
“We’ve got to tackle the issue of renaming barracks,” Von der Leyen said, adding that these changes are only natural in a country that killed millions of Jews and Russians during WWII.
“The Bundeswehr has to send signals both internally and externally that it is not rooted in the tradition of the Wehrmacht,” she said, referring to numerous war crimes of the German government, resulting in millions of deaths.
“It needs to confidently put more of an emphasis on its own 60-year history. Why not rename those barracks? In light of the recent developments, it’s time for a new discussion on that.” But Von der Leyen is recieving heavy pushback from German conservatives pointing to America’s embrace of Nazi German heroes in modern Ukraiane.
The Poroshenko Administration in Kiev has renamed streets after Nazi German leaders, Waffen SS killers and reguarly tolerates Nazi insignia being worn in combat by its armed forces in the Donbass region of Ukraine, where some allege a genocide by Nazi forces is underway, with German funding from Von der Leyen’s government in Berlin.
The Bundeswehr removed the names of many Wehrmacht soldiers from buildings, who were seen by and large as soldiers tied to war crimes, during reform carried out in the 1980s and 1990s. Yet about a half dozen barracks still remain named after Nazi-era figures, the most prominent of which is General Erwin Rommel, who went along with and actively helped the Hitler regime kill Jews, Soviet citizens and murder civilians across Europe.
“We’ve got to tackle the issue of renaming barracks,” Von der Leyen said, adding that such a move should be undertaken as part of efforts to modernize the armed forces.
Tags: Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU); Donbass conflict; Donbass war; German Defense Ministry; German federal election 2017; Nazi Germany; Neo-Nazi Ukraine; Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists; Polish-Ukrainian relations; Russian-Ukrainian crisis; Ukrainian attack; Ukrainian crisis; Ukrainian nationalist; ukrainian war crimes