Germany Must ‘Get Fit for War’

Boris Pistorius (SPD), Federal Minister of Defense, speaks in front of the Bundeswehr memorial at the Bendlerblock on Remembrance Day, November 19, 2023,
Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images

Germany Must ‘Get Fit for War’

2023 may be the year engraved on the gravestone of German pacifism.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said the German people and their military have to “get fit for war” in an interview on October 29.

We have to get used to the idea that there could be a threat of war in Europe. And that means we have to become fit for war. We have to be defensive and prepare the Bundeswehr and society for this.
—Boris Pistorius

This seems self-evident given the current wars in Europe and the Middle East. But a few decades ago, virtually the whole world agreed Germany should never be able to wage war again.

Many Germans still hold to a strict pacifist mindset. For decades after World War ii, many Germans demanded extreme pacifism from their country, believing that the nation that started the greatest war in history should take extreme measures to avoid being involved in another.

In recent years, many politicians have called on Germany to become a leading military power. In a world of rising hostilities and fragmented alliances, it appears logical for Germany to take matters into its own hands. But getting the military ready for war is one thing; preparing society for it is another. A 2022 Koerber poll found that a sizable percentage of the public remained reluctant: 68 percent of Germans said they didn’t want their country to play a leading military role in Europe.

After receiving criticism for his statement, Pistorius added in an interview with Deutschlandfunk on October 31, “We must be able to wage war, a self-defensive war, so that in the end we don’t have to.”

But the idea that Germany should prepare for war to prevent war is disputed.

Pistorius’s statement implies that the likelihood of the nation being attacked is higher than the likelihood of it starting another war. But a look at history shows Germany started both world wars in the 20th century and the wars of unification in the 19th century. In a.d. 9, Germanic tribes united to fight the most dominant military power the world had yet seen: the Roman Empire. The Romans called them “Germans,” meaning “war men.”

This history caused the Allies after World War ii to pledge that Germany should never be able to start a war again. The 1945 Potsdam Agreement demanded “the complete disarmament and demilitarization of Germany and the elimination or control of all German industry that could be used for military production.” Its military was strictly bound to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was meant to ensure Germany would never need to defend itself and build up its military.

Now the international community is happy for the nation to build a strong military. German pacifism seems out of place. German news channel zdf wrote on October 31:

Boris Pistorius has dared to do what many have previously shied away from. … More and more conflicts are being fought militarily: Ukraine, the Middle East, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh. And the conflicts and wars are getting closer. It’s all about national and alliance defense again. We are not directly involved yet. But this case could become a reality in the next few years. … Germany is expected to take on more responsibility in Europe and the world.

Former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg also had high praise for Pistorius, saying: “We always have a tendency to use terms that are as warming as possible and not too frightening, but in view of the wars in and around Europe, you can use this term. … Incidentally, I consider this defense minister to be a real ray of hope in the very strange political landscape we have.”

Pistorius’s predecessor, Christine Lambrecht, was forced out of office on January 16 this year for failing to support Ukraine militarily and to accelerate Germany’s military buildup. Germans demanded a stronger military leader. They got Pistorius.

Ever since taking office, Pistorius has been Germany’s most popular politician. This shows that Germany’s negative attitude toward its military is changing.

Bit by bit, the military is regaining readiness as the military mindset is reawakening. 2023 may be the year engraved on the gravestone of German pacifism.

In the 20th century, as Germany lay defeated and divided, Herbert W. Armstrong warned that a remilitarized Germany would rise again. He died on Jan. 16, 1986, when Germany was still divided. But as our booklet He Was Right shows, the prophecies he uttered are coming to pass.

It is significant that Germany’s increased military focus started with Lambrecht’s resignation on January 16. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry points out in his booklet January 16: God’s Miracle Day, God causes major events to happen on that date to remind the world of Mr. Armstrong’s work.

In 1945, Mr. Armstrong told radio listeners: “From the very start of World War ii, [the Germans] have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War iii!”

The nation that started the greatest war in history is again building its military. It promises peace, but the Bible sounds the alarm.

God says He will use the “Assyrian”—modern Germany—as a corrective rod to punish America and Britain (Isaiah 10:5). Germany will have the military might “to tread them down like the mire of the streets” (verse 6). (The biblical identity of these nations and the prophetic relevance of this passage is explained in The United States and Britain in Prophecy and Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.)

Germany, as part of a larger European military, is preparing to fulfill these prophecies.

But there is a wonderful conclusion. After these catastrophes, mankind will finally learn to be taught by God. Micah 4:2-3 read:

And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.