TDespite the Russian invasion of Ukraine, after more than half a year of war, the majority of Germans apparently only welcome the consequences of the security policy change to a limited extent. This emerges from the latest survey by Kantar Public, which was carried out on behalf of the Körber Foundation and published on Monday afternoon. In August, the institute surveyed 1,088 eligible voters in Germany over the age of 18.
According to the results, 52 percent of the citizens surveyed would like the federal government to continue to act with restraint internationally. That is two percentage points more than a year ago, i.e. before the outbreak of war. Of the 41 percent who advocate greater German involvement, almost two-thirds prefer more diplomacy. Not even one in seven votes for a stronger military footprint or more money.
Respondents are even more skeptical about efforts to have Germany act as a leading power in military matters. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said at a meeting of the German General and Admiralty in Berlin in September that the Bundeswehr must become the best-equipped armed force on the continent. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) had said in a keynote speech a few days earlier that Germany was already acting as a leading power due to its weight, including on military issues, “whether we want it or not”.
Nuclear saber rattling leaves an impression
More than two-thirds of respondents reject such a role. However, that does not mean that they do not want an operational Bundeswehr. On the contrary. Even without a German leadership role, six out of ten respondents are in favor of spending more money on the military capacities of the Bundeswehr in the long term.
The desire for better-equipped German armed forces, which is in a state of tension about arms deliveries to Ukraine, which is not mentioned in the survey, is exceeded by the concern that the war in Eastern Europe will spread to other countries. 80 percent of those surveyed are concerned that the conflict could spread to NATO territory. 72 percent see Russia as an immediate threat to Germany’s security. 69 percent are impressed by the Kremlin’s nuclear saber-rattling. They even fear that Germany could become the target of a Russian nuclear strike. The Germans are not alone in their concerns about Russia. It’s even more common in America, according to a parallel study conducted by the Pew Research Center. Accordingly, 92 percent of the Americans surveyed see Russia as a military threat to the United States.
The Americans are considered the most important insurance for the defense of Europe in this country. 81 percent now share this point of view, compared to 73 percent last year. Basically, the positive trend in the transatlantic relationship is continuing, which could already be observed before the outbreak of the Ukraine war when President Joe Biden took office. In both the United States and Germany, more than four out of five respondents rate German-American relations as “good” or “very good.” Germany is also considered by most to be the most important partner (36 percent) ahead of France (32 percent).