News / Europe

German Minister Compares Putin's Ukraine Moves to Hitler’s in 1938

FILE - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang SchaeubleFILE - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
x
FILE - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
FILE - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
Reuters
Russia's moves against Ukraine were reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's aggression in 1938 that led to the annexation of German-speaking regions of Czechoslovakia, Germany's conservative Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday.
 
But Chancellor Angela Merkel quickly distanced herself from the comments from Schaeuble, a respected elder statesman in her right-left coalition with 16 years of cabinet experience.

Schaeuble's spokesman later denied that he had compared Russia to Hitler's Germany, or Third Reich.
 
“We know all about that from history,” Schaeuble told a group of 50 students.
 
He was referring to the arguments that Russian President Vladimir Putin has used to annex Crimea. “Those are the methods that Hitler used to take over the Sudetenland,” Schaeuble said.
 
Putin justified sending forces into Crimea by saying he wanted to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Even though German leaders rarely made comparisons with the Nazi era, Schaeuble said that it all reminded him of Hitler's vows to protect ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia.
 
Merkel, asked at a news conference if she believed the annexation of Crimea could be compared with Sudetenland, said:  “I regard the case of the annexation of Crimea as a standalone case” and a violation of international law.

Schaeuble's spokesman then issued a statement saying: "Minister Schaeuble made clear in an event with students that Russia's actions in Ukraine violate international laws and he warned of the consequences of a breakdown in state order. He clearly rejected any comparison at all between Russia and the Third Reich."
 
Schaeuble's comments nevertheless echoed remarks made by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said on March 4: “Now if this all sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the '30s.”
 
Clinton said the next day that she was not making a comparison between Hitler and Putin but rather saying the world today can learn from a tactic that had been used before.
 
Hitler first annexed parts of Czechoslovakia where some three million German-speakers were living, and a year later invaded the rest of the country.
 
Schaeuble was responding to a student asking him if the Ukraine crisis might worsen the euro zone crisis. Schaeuble said it was above all important to prevent Ukraine going bankrupt.
 
“We've got to take care that Ukraine doesn't become insolvent,” he said, noting that if the Kyiv government were unable to pay police officers, “then obviously some armed bands will come along and take power into their hands.
 
“Then the Russians will say 'that's not on, now there are some fascists in control of the government, they're threatening the Russian (-speaking) population',” Schaeuble said.
 
That, he said, could lead the Russians to say: “Now we've got to protect them and we'll use this as a reason to invade.”
 
Schaeuble said that it could not be ruled out that there would be a severe worsening of relations with Russia in the months ahead. He said that there are considerable fears about Russia in the Baltic nations as well as in Poland and Hungary.
 
Error rendering storify.

You May Like

Photogallery Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had earlier warned storm could be one of worst the city has ever faced More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Marat from: Berlin
April 03, 2014 10:25 AM
What's wrong with this German?
Marasmus oder was?


by: meanbill from: USA
March 31, 2014 12:53 PM
The US and NATO countries comparing the Russian Putin, to the German Hitler.. (AND THEN?) .. recognizing the neo-NAZI, Right Sector, and ultra-right-wing Ukraine extremists that ousted the Democratic elected President, Parliament, and seized by force the Democratic Ukraine government, the new legal recognized government of Ukraine?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid