With Alexei Navalny, a longtime critic of Russian President Putin, taking refuge in Germany after being poisoned, Germany’s stance may alter regarding a pipeline deal with Russia, which is a manifestation of the oscillating relationship between the two nations. Let us explore the recent history of Germany and Russia.
Crux of the Matter
History Of Germany-Russia
Germany and Russia have shared an alternating relationship for long, with several alliances and disagreements having occurred between the two.
Before World War II
- 1813: Germany, along with Russia, defeated Napoleon and became free from French rule.
- 1871: Germany was unified under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
- 1873: Three Emperors’ League between Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary was formed.
- 1887: Reinsurance Treaty was signed between Germany and Russia to form a secret alliance, which was not renewed 1890 onwards.
- As Germany had formed Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy in 1882, Russia formed the Triple Entente with Britain and France in 1907.
- 1914-18: Germany and Russia were on the opposite sides (Central powers and Allied powers respectively) of World War I.
- 1917: October revolution initiated in Russia, whose leader Vladimir Lenin was influenced by the German philosopher Karl Marx.
- 1922: Treaty of Rapallo signed between the Soviet Union (previously Russia) and Germany to initiate peaceful relations following World War I.
- 1922-33: Soviet secretly provided training to German soldiers.
- 1939: The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed between Germany and the Soviet Union, which formed an alliance between the two to divide Eastern Europe between German and Russian control.
- 1 September, 1939: Germany invaded Poland which initiated World War II. Soviet invaded Poland from the Eastern side on 17 September as part of the agreement.
- 22 June, 1941: Germany broke the pact and invaded Soviet. It resisted annexation and defeated Germany with the aid of Britain and the US.
Post World War II
- 1945: As World War II ended, Germany was divided under the rule of France, the US, Britain, and the Soviet Union.
- 1949: Germany was divided into 2 countries:
West Germany became the Federal Republic of Germany and
East Germany became the communist German Democratic Republic under the influence of Soviet Communism.
- 9 November, 1989: The Berlin Wall dividing East Germany from West Germany was demolished.
- 1990: Both East and West were unified under one title ‘Germany’.
- 1994: Russia and other Allied troops finally returned from Germany.
- Current Russian President Putin worked as a KGB spy in East Germany.
- Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor of Germany in the 1998-2005 period, promoted the Nord Stream pipeline between Germany and Russia for the transfer of Gas.
- The current Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel condemned the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia. However, she has continued with the Nord Stream 2 and other projects with Russia.
- MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a German armed military transport ship which was sunk in 1945 by Soviet submarine S-13 in the Baltic Sea. By one estimate, 9,400 people died, which makes it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.
- Operation Barbarossa was the codename for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started during World War II. The operation put into action Nazi Germany’s ideological goal of conquering the western Soviet Union so as to repopulate it with Germans.
- Ostpolitik was the normalization of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and Eastern Europe, particularly the German Democratic Republic (GDR) beginning in 1969. The term Ostpolitik has since been applied to Pope Paul VI’s efforts to engage Eastern European countries during the same period. The term Nordpolitik was also coined to describe similar rapprochement policies between North and South Korea beginning in the 1980s.
- The New York Times – Navalny Poisoning Raises Pressure on Merkel to Cancel Russian Pipeline
- Hindustan Times – Crimea’s referendum illegal, says Merkel
- DW – East Germany: A failed experiment in dictatorship
- BBC – Vladimir Putin’s formative German years
- HistoryNet – Devil’s Bargain: Germany and Russia Before WWII