As countries rearm in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, demand for German armaments is surging, but the German people is uneasy about this because of their strong mistrust of military power and weapons exports.
Germany’s arms industry is benefiting from governments’ rearmament in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the public is uncomfortable with it due to their deep suspicion of military force and weapons exports. Rheinmetall, Germany’s largest defense contractor, has been added to the main stock market index, and the region between Hamburg and Hanover claims to be the most militarized in the country. Germany ranked sixth in arms exports in 2022, trailing the US, France, Russia, China, and Italy, with its biggest sale last year being three state-of-the-art submarines purchased by Israel. As part of the country’s pivot towards increasing its defense spending, Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared a turning point and lifted a long-standing ban on sending weapons into conflict zones to aid Kyiv, and a special €100 billion fund was created to upgrade the Bundeswehr’s equipment. However, polls consistently show that only a narrow majority of Germans favor arming Ukraine, and a “manifesto for peace” calling for an immediate end to weapons shipments has attracted more than 750,000 signatories.