Carsten Koall—Getty Images

When Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared the Russian invasion of Ukraine a Zeitenwende, an epochal turning point, he pledged that Germany would rise to the occasion. Though Berlin’s response hasn’t always been as quick as many of its allies would like, Scholz has begun to deliver. In the space of a year, Germany overturned its postwar pacifism, ramping up its military spending (albeit by a fraction of what was pledged) and becoming one of Ukraine’s biggest arms suppliers. It also ended its reliance on Russian energy and, after international pressure, sent coveted Leopard 2 battle tanks to Kyiv. Delays that critics regard as needless hesitation are seen by others as due caution in a nation still scarred by its own history of wartime aggression. “Living in Germany, you can’t go away from the disasters of the first half of the 20th century, which were caused by Germany,” Scholz told TIME in 2022. “It is in all the things we do politically, and it is in my mind too because we have a historic responsibility to help secure peace.”

Serhan is a TIME staff writer

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at

Olena Zelenska
Lionel Messi
Aubrey Plaza
Michael B. Jordan
Colleen Hoover
5 stories