Haunted by its responsibility for World War II and Nazi tyranny, Germany embraced the pursuit of peace with the fervor of a convert. But on Wednesday, its government took an important step toward shedding that legacy as war once again transforms the European continent.
For the first time since the world war ended, the government introduced a comprehensive national security strategy meant to confront Germany’s vulnerability to new military, economic and geopolitical threats, including climate change.
With the war in Ukraine in its 16th month, Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised the security plan as “a big, big change in the way we deal with security issues.” The goal, he said, is to combine foreign, domestic and economic priorities, and to increase spending on the military.
The strategy was announced as a key part of the coalition agreement of the government when it took office in December 2021. But Mr. Scholz’s three-party coalition has been hobbled by increasingly public squabbling that both delayed the new plan and left it vulnerable to criticism that it has been overly watered down.
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which took place months after the German government took power, has only heightened the sense of urgency that it must take up its military responsibilities in a way it had avoided since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
While the document received relatively positive reviews from analysts as a statement of how far Germany has come in changing its strategic culture since the invasion, they questioned whether the ministries of a rivalrous coalition government will carry through the document’s ambitions or put money behind them.