Did Germany Just Take Over Poland?

Donald Tusk, leader of the Civic Coalition Party, signs an agreement during his swearing-in ceremony in Warsaw, Poland, on December 13.
Stringer/Anadolu via Getty Images

Did Germany Just Take Over Poland?

Last week, Poland went from being the European Union’s problem child to its star pupil.

Its former government, under the Law and Justice Party (PiS), clashed repeatedly with Brussels, Belgium. Poland’s constitutional court ruled that part of the Treaty on European Union is not compatible with Poland’s Constitution. The European Court of Justice fined Poland €1 million per day—its heaviest ever penalty—accusing the Polish government of interfering in the judiciary. PiS leaders have talked of “drastic solutions” to the European problem and have threatened to quit the EU.

Last week, Poland’s Parliament voted in as prime minister Donald Tusk, who has served as president of the European Council. It would be hard to come up with a more pro-EU candidate.

But perhaps the bigger shift was its attitude toward Germany.

Under PiS, Poland has demanded €1.3 trillion (us$1.4 trillion) in reparations for its losses in World War ii. In 2021, PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński accused Germany of trying to create “a German fourth reich … built on the basis of the EU.”

In September this year, he told Sieci newspaper there were “German-Russian plans to rule Europe.” He said, “Independent, subjective, economically strong, socially and militarily, Poland is an obstacle for them.” A PiS tv ad showed Germany trying to boss Poland around, with Kaczyński standing up to them. Kaczyński also warned that Germany was planning to betray Ukraine to restore its relations with Russia.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Germany’s support for a united Europe was “utopian and therefore dangerous.”

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said: “Donald Tusk has always pursued German interests, not Polish ones, which is why the Germans are so involved in the Polish elections and why they so basely accuse us of the problems they themselves created; namely, they invited millions of refugees to Europe without asking anyone, and now they brazenly [say] this is our fault.”

The incoming government is completely different. The new foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, is famous for saying, “I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity.” The last time he was in office, he was one of the loudest voices in Europe calling for more German military leadership. Under this new government, the German military could set up permanent military bases in Poland for the first time.

Germany clearly benefits from Tusk’s election. Germany’s former ambassador to Poland, Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, wrote, “Germany should take advantage of this opportunity.” These opportunities could include “closer integration of armed forces and, in the longer term, a permanent transfer of troops to Poland [in] the interest of both sides.”

How hard did they work to make it happen?

PiS is trying to transform Poland into one of the EU’s top militaries. It aims to create the largest land force in the EU, spending double the North Atlantic Treaty Organization minimum on its military. It is buying upgraded M1A2 Abrams tanks and F-35 fighter jets, as well as 1,000 older tanks and 600 pieces of artillery from South Korea. This makes Poland too valuable for Germany to simply sideline or push out of the EU. Instead, Germany brought in new management.

Germany and the EU pushed hard behind the scenes to get PiS out—violating EU guidelines in the process. There are no accusations of hacked voting machines or interference with mail-in ballots. Instead, Germany’s efforts to put in Tusk show the soft power it has developed across Europe. When you can influence public opinion through the media, the EU and think tanks, you don’t need to go down the more risky route of election interference.

The October 15 election did not return a clear result. PiS became the largest bloc in Parliament, but it failed to form a coalition. Instead, Tusk and his Civic Coalition party formed a coalition with the Third Way and the Left. The president, however, is a member of PiS, and the coalition is mostly unified by its opposition to PiS—hence the lengthy negotiations.

Before and after the October 15 election, PiS claimed Germany was trying to put Tusk into office. “Germany openly supported the opposition of the current government and clearly tried to influence the outcome of the Polish elections,” said PiS member of Parliament Iwona Kurowska.

A Scandal Near Bohemia

German leaders have tried to rally Poles against PiS for months. Manfred Weber, leader of the European People’s Party—the largest group in Europe—said his party was “building a firewall against PiS” and that “we are the only force that can replace PiS in Poland, leading the country back to Europe.” He accused PiS of being “enemies [who] will be fought against.”

Criticism like this prompted the Polish Parliament to pass a resolution in August condemning “foreign interference” in Poland’s elections—singling out Germany.

In early September, Poland’s deputy foreign minister was fired over accusations that potential migrants could buy a fast-tracked Polish visa with a $5,000 bribe. In 2021, Poland issued 1 million residence permits to non-EU migrants, more than double any other EU country. It was a genuine scandal—and a gift to PiS enemies.

Germany and the EU violated diplomatic norms and EU rules to make the most of it.

The EU typically refrains from intervening in national issues ahead of an election, lest they be seen as trying to tilt the scales. This time, they scheduled a debate on Poland’s visa scandal just two weeks before the vote. Clare Daly, a member of European Parliament, criticized the European Parliament. “I am no fan of the Polish government … but I am not a fan either of this Parliament being used to thumb the scales in a domestic election battle,” she said. “To do that is an abuse of the Parliament’s position.”

Germany joined in: Chancellor Olaf Scholz accused Poland of weaponizing anti-immigrant rhetoric while throwing open the doors to migrants themselves. The German government highlighted the issue by imposing checks on Germany’s usually open border with Poland.

Did Germany ‘Buy’ Ukraine?

Poland’s public broadcaster, the tvp, claimed that “according to off-the-record conversations in Brussels, Germany and France allegedly promised Ukraine a fast entry to the EU if Kyiv helps overthrow the current Polish government.” Their Brussels correspondent, Dominika Cosić, said Germany and France told Ukraine it could only become an EU member if the treaties were changed—and that the changes “are being blocked by Poland.”

Former PiS Prime Minister Beata Szydło responded to the comments: “Yes, the German authorities are currently focused on making a fast change in the European treaties to make the EU a federal state with member states reduced to the role of parts of the federation.”

“Yes, the Polish government will oppose the transformation of Europe into a federation ruled not even from Brussels, but from Berlin,” she continued. “That is why German politicians are increasingly open and aggressive toward Poland.”

“Is Germany ‘buying’ Ukrainian authorities with the promise of fast entry to the EU?” she asked. “It is possible. But then the Ukrainian authorities would be extremely naive.”

A spat between Poland and Ukraine played a key role in the defeat of PiS. Poland shares a border with Russia and is very concerned about its former conqueror’s violent expansion. It was one of Ukraine’s strongest backers initially.

Then a dispute over grain soured the relationship. When Ukraine’s Black Sea ports were blocked in 2022, the EU allowed Ukrainian grain into European markets. This collapsed the market for Polish farmers, who are core PiS voters. Polish farmers are subject to EU regulations; Ukrainians are not, meaning they can produce grain at a much lower price.

Ukraine refused to listen to Polish concerns, which many Poles saw as extreme ingratitude, after Poland had given so much military support. The incident hurt PiS: Some blamed it for putting farmers out of business, while others wanted more robust support for Ukraine.

Was Ukraine doing Germany’s bidding? All the accusations come from PiS leaders or media outlets close to PiS, so the evidence is inconclusive. But just days after Tusk was sworn in, Ukraine was officially granted EU membership candidate status.

Ukraine has clearly changed its tune on Germany. Earlier in its war with Russia, it stood up to Germany. When German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wanted to visit Kyiv in 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told him his country’s support for Russia meant he was not welcome. Last September, Zelenskyy called for Germany to be given a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. That’s quite the turnaround. Ukraine has clearly come to the same conclusion as Poland: Germany rules Europe. It is desperate for Europe’s help—and it has decided that flattering Germany is the way to get it.

A Propaganda War

The tvp highlighted the role German media play worldwide in combating PiS. “Certain think tanks based in Germany, though not necessarily German-financed, like the German Marshall Fund, seem to increasingly promote German interests, highlighting sometimes an extravagant anti-Polish perspective,” wrote Daniel Nicolas Foubert.

“German disinformation about Poland is not a legend,” he said. “Its key characteristics are as follows: It reverses historical narratives unfavorable to Germany, it suggests that Poland is not a democracy, and it reduces the geopolitical role of Poland to zero.”

Germany plays a key role in censoring online content by labeling it as disinformation. Axel Springer SE is a huge publisher that often pushes a German narrative. It owns many publications worldwide, including Politico and Business Insider. Axel Springer, who died in 1985, believed in a strong Germany and a united Europe. “No other man in Germany, before [Adolf] Hitler or since Hitler, has accumulated so much power, with the exception of [Otto von] Bismarck and the two kaisers,” said rival publisher Rudolf Augstein. His publishing house has continued this policy—and strongly backed Tusk. This month, it crowned Tusk Europe’s most influential politician, praising him for “fighting for a democratic, modern, European vision of the future.”

Foubert catalogued Germany’s long-standing expertise in propaganda. To this day, most of the Western world believes World War i was a big accident and the Treaty of Versailles that concluded it was unfair to Germany—despite clear evidence to the contrary. That’s a long-lasting victory of Nazi propaganda. Foubert wrote:

The expertise in disinformation and propaganda developed by Nazi Germany during the 1930s and 1940s did not simply vanish with the fall of the Third Reich. Instead, elements of this expertise survived and evolved in various ways post-World War ii.

Some individuals who were involved in Nazi propaganda efforts evaded prosecution and continued their careers in various capacities. This included not only high-profile figures but also lesser-known operatives who had honed skills in manipulating information and public opinion. Their knowledge and techniques, albeit often in more subtle forms, found their way into different contexts.

The leader of a major European country saying Germany is building a Fourth Reich would typically be big news. But when Polish politicians do it, they are dismissed as cranks and extremists, and Western media ignore them. That alone shows the power of German propaganda.

“Whether it’s through the lens of historical revisionism, economic policy, energy strategies, or the wielding of media and cultural institutions, Germany has demonstrated a unique and masterful capacity to project its interests and influence the international discourse,” concluded Foubert. “The European Union can be seen as the culmination of Germany’s efforts in shaping international narratives and policies. Through the EU, Germany can exert influence and pursue its interests without having to overtly display its control or intentions.”

All of this is evident in Germany’s role in Poland’s elections. Its soft power successfully ousted a government it hated.

A Revived Empire

Poland’s PiS clearly saw the reality the Trumpet has warned about for years: Germany rules Europe.

In August 1950, Herbert W. Armstrong predicted that “the world will be stunned, dumbfounded, to see Germany emerge suddenly in a power never equaled by Hitler—by a union of 10 nations in Europe, probably including some at present puppets of Russia—in a gigantic United States of Europe. … Soon the ‘United States of Europe’ will emerge, with Germany at its head” (Plain Truth).

More recently, in his booklet Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes, “It will not be long before Europe is reunited as the Holy Roman Empire. It will be led very assertively by Germany.”

He also writes: “The historical plan of the European Union was to control a dangerous Germany. But it is clear that Germany is controlling the EU!” That may have been controversial when it was written. Today, it’s not hard to find Poles who agree with that statement.

Mr. Armstrong warned that Germany would rise again at the head of a “European Union” all the way back in 1945. At the same time, he warned that so many of Germany’s Nazis were going “underground.” Today, that’s a proven fact. Historians have investigated all major government departments and found them riddled with Nazis. Foubert adds press and propaganda to that list.

Mr. Armstrong was so far ahead of today’s news because he relied on Bible prophecy.

Revelation 17:8 describes a beast, symbolic of a major world power, that “was, and is not, and yet is.” This beast exists, then vanishes—only to then “ascend out of the bottomless pit.” You could say it comes out of nowhere—from “underground.”

The final, seventh head of this empire is ruled over by 10 kings. “The seventh head with its 10 horns, in the 17th chapter, will be … the revival of the beast, the Roman Empire, ‘out of the bottomless pit’ by a ‘United States of Europe,’ or federation of 10 European nations centered within the bounds of the old Roman Empire,” wrote Mr. Armstrong.

This union of 10 kings is clearly a military union. The Bible says these kings shall “make war” (verse 14).

Is this the end for PiS? Actually, Bible prophecy reveals it may still have a role to play.

A Religious Power

Many PiS leaders remain solidly opposed to Germany. “Years later, Hitler’s dreams will come true without the use of force [and] without resistance from Poles,” tweeted constitutional court judge Krystyna Pawłowicz, who was previously a PiS M.P.

PiS M.P. Paweł Lisiecki tweeted: “Poles did not fight and die during World War ii so that German troops could be ‘permanently stationed’ in our country again.”

PiS still controls Poland’s presidency. The new coalition is bitterly divided and may not hold together long.

But there is one force that could make German control of Poland much easier.

For years, Germany has been pushing for a federal Europe that can boost its hold on the whole region. At times, progress has been slow. In the January 1979 Plain Truth, Mr. Armstrong wrote:

I have been proclaiming and writing, ever since 1935, that the final one of the seven eras of the Holy Roman Empire is coming in our generation—a “United States of Europe,” combining 10 nations or groups of nations in Europe—with a union of church and state! The nations of Europe have been striving to become reunited. They desire a common currency, a single combined military force, a single united government. They have made a start in the Common Market [which later became the EU]. They are now working toward a common currency. Yet on a purely political basis, they have been totally unable to unite. In only one way can this resurrected Holy Roman Empire be brought to fruition—by the “good offices” of the Vatican, uniting church and state once again, with the Vatican astride and ruling (Revelation 17:1-5).

The next year, he wrote that Russian military aggression “will be the spark to bring the heads of nations in Europe together with the Vatican to form a ‘United Nations of Europe.’ The politicians cannot do this by themselves. Only with the collaboration of the pope can they do it.”

The PiS party may be anti-German, but it is very pro-Catholic. A papal endorsement could give it a whole new view of the project.

In many ways, PiS looks like the future the Bible prophesies for Europe. It is led by Catholic religious convictions. It has “strongman” leadership. Under PiS, Jarosław Kaczyński was Poland’s strongman, without holding any elected leadership.

German press has led Western media to portray the party as authoritarian. Some of that is designed to blacken its name—but there is also some truth to it. In 2018, PiS tried to pass a law banning academics from suggesting that Poles collaborated with Nazis in the Holocaust. Attempts to cover up history are always worrying.

PiS may be back. But for Germany to allow it to stay, the party must learn its lesson. Opposition to Germany cannot be tolerated. Until then, Germany will try to block PiS out of leadership in the EU.