After weeks of torment, Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided to deliver Leopard 2 tanks. While the members of the traffic light coalition and the Western partners support this, Germans from politics and society express considerable concerns. Polls also show that the deliveries are controversial.
Will the West cross a red line with tank deliveries to Ukraine and join the war? Or have Germany and its allies been part of this war for a long time anyway? There are opposing views on this – in NATO and in the Kremlin, but also in German politics and society.
As early as the end of April 2022, German intellectuals asked in an open letter to exercise restraint in the delivery of heavy weapons and to strive for a diplomatic solution. “The escalating build-up under pressure could be the start of a global arms race with catastrophic consequences, including for global health and climate change,” the group wrote in Emma magazine. Some of them have now made very critical comments to the “Spiegel” about the deliveries of Leopard 2 main battle tanks.
The slim majority of Germans support the federal government’s decision to supply battle tanks, according to the latest surveys by the opinion research institute Forsa for the RTL/ntv “Trendbarometer” and the “ZDF-Politikbarometer”.
53 and 54 percent of those surveyed consider the future deliveries to be correct, with the greatest agreement among supporters of the Greens. 39 percent and 38 percent respectively consider the delivery to be wrong, especially supporters of the AfD and citizens from East Germany
The consequences of the announced tank deliveries are disputed: 48 percent believe that this will increase the risk of a Russian attack on western states and just as many, 48 percent, do not fear this, according to the results of Friday’s “ZDF political barometer”.
Social media shows how contentious the debate is. In addition to supporters, there are also some who express their fear and plead for de-escalation instead of weapons.