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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora