Conference Report: A Call to End War from Two Retired German Generals

Two former generals of the German Democratic Republic delivered a poignant message to the Schiller Institute online conference that took place on April 15-16 on the theme “There can be no peace…” (cf. SAS 16/23). Lt. Gen. Manfred Grätz (ret.), and Maj. Gen. Sebald Daum (ret.) had already broken a certain tabu at the end of January by publishing open letters protesting against the delivery of heavy war equipment to Ukraine by Germany and other NATO member states, and expressing their concern about the extension of the war to all of Europe. Having lived as children through the Second World War, they expressed, in particular, their dread at seeing their country once again sending tanks to fight against Russia.

Similar calls for a negotiated settlement in Ukraine and an end to NATO’s war policy were evoked during Panel I of the conference by two other German participants, Wolfgang Effenberger, author, and Michael von der Schulenburg, a former UN and OSCE diplomat, who sent a written contribution which was read. (All videos are available here, in English, and the transcription, in the original German, can be read here.

Lt. Gen. Grätz and Maj. Gen. Daum first expressed their agreement with the concerns of the conference, and denounced NATO’s “increasingly obvious intention to destroy Russia, and also to drag the People’s Republic of China into a war. We see the causes for this extremely dangerous development first and foremost in the policy of America and its willing partners to dominate the world, to dictate at their own discretion to other countries and states what policy they have to carry out for their populations…..

We would also remind everyone that Russia does not have its troops on the borders of the U.S. and Europe. China is not arming military bases on the beaches of the United States. But the U.S. and NATO are standing with their military power on the borders of Russia, arming Taiwan against China, and thus endangering the security of Russia and China. In addition, more and more sanctions are igniting an economic and financial war against Russia and China. All of this is accompanied by hate and war propaganda, reminiscent of unfortunate times in German politics. There is always only one culprit and that is the Russian people, and especially their President. This is how a people is prepared for war.”

After noting that more and more nations in the world, in particular in the south, reject the unipolar world, with its wars and lack of sovereignty, the two retired generals expressed the conviction that “responsible military leaders who are well aware of the horrors of war, who recognize the danger of such policies, have not only the duty, but also the right to oppose such war policies and to demand an end the arms race. You cannot create peace with more and more weapons. Therefore, we call on all peace-loving people to join our protest against war and for a just peace.”

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