Historic fears are reemerging in Germany. According to the latest rtl/ntv trend barometer published on June 28, 50 percent of German citizens fear the war in Ukraine could escalate into a third world war. Poverty reached record levels in Germany in 2021. According to a survey in April, every seventh adult in Germany can barely cover his living costs. And every month the situation is getting worse. The fear of war and poverty often go hand in glove and are a dangerous poison to any society.
The images coming out of Ukraine are testimony to Russia’s brutality in war and reminiscent of even worse crimes. During World War ii, Eastern Germany experienced similar carnage at Russian hands. East German states still have not recovered economically from Soviet oppression that lasted until 1990.
“My concern is that we could have a very worrying situation in a few weeks or months,” German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told zdf. “We’re looking at three to four, maybe five, years of shortages that we need to find an answer for.”
Forty percent of Germans said rising prices are forcing them to consider making cuts in food purchases; 53 percent are altering clothing purchases. While presenting Germany’s 2021 poverty report on June 29, Ulrich Schneider said: “Germany is simply threatening to break apart at the bottom end.”
Many young people have struggled to find a good footing in society after two years of covid-19 lockdowns. Looking at the war in Ukraine and rising prices, they feel utterly helpless. Additionally, around 560,000 retirees in Germany are dependent on the government to increase their pensions to lift them out of poverty, Deutsche Welle reported. Inflation pushes more and more low-income families below the poverty line. Many have turned to right-wing extremist ideologies as they see vast numbers of incoming refugees while they themselves struggle to make ends meet.
Three to five years of shortages is an absolute horror scenario, not only for the economy but also for the well-being of the country. The Wall Street Journal noted that Germany’s pride in a strong economy is crumbling:
Germany is facing its gravest challenges since the foundation of the federal republic following World War ii. …
The German economic model was based on unrealistic assumptions about world politics and is unlikely to survive the current turmoil. German energy policy is a chaotic mess, a shining example to the rest of the world of what not to do. … German security experts are coming to terms with a deeply unwelcome truth: Confronted with an aggressive Russia, Germany, like Europe generally, is utterly reliant on the U.S. for its security. …
Modern Germany was above all an economic project. The collapse of the Third Reich left Germany morally devastated, physically wrecked and economically bankrupt. From the moment of its foundation in 1949, the country’s central goal was economic growth. That growth could repair the destruction of the war, promote Germany’s peaceful integration into Western Europe, blunt the appeal of communism, and build a national identity independent of the malignant fantasies of the Hitler era and the bombast of Wilhelm ii. The hard work of the German people, the pragmatic policies of the political class, the skills and determination of German management, and the favorable international climate resulting from the development of the American-led world order took Germany to economic heights.
In recent years, the German economic miracle depended on a combination of industrial prowess, cheap energy from Russia, and access to global markets, particularly in China. Today every one of those pillars is under threat.
These fears have more than once brought the Continent to the edge of destruction. Germans see a weak militarily in this time of war and a weak economy in this time of shortages. But what if more crises compound the problem? How will the German and European economy survive? The great uncertainty of these fears causes many Germans to look in astonishment at their seemingly inactive government. A country under economic trouble is prone not only to insurrections but also to the rise of dictators.
A troubled, leaderless society is prone to being deceived by any false hope it can get. Any promise of change is readily welcomed. Any claim that the German people deserve better is quickly accepted. Any scapegoat for the rising problems is rapidly determined. Any leader who arouses a fighting spirit is quickly worshiped.
All these factors combined are a toxic mixture. In our modern world, many hoped that these fears would never again plague the German people. But in 2022, people fear global conflict and poverty.
Germany’s current government offers no solution. This means when a leader comes on the scene who does offer a solution, danger will follow. The Bible reveals that in times of great crisis, the German people will be misled by a strong leader. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in our January 2020 Trumpet issue:
Germany is now in political crisis, and the question of national leadership looms large. The task of leading Europe’s strongest nation has always been enormous, but Germany’s current challenges make it even more daunting. Its leaders are being overwhelmed by the refugee crisis, Brexit, Donald Trump’s presidency, China’s rise, and competition and threats from Russia. Added to all these problems, Germany’s economy is bordering on recession. In Germany—and even throughout Europe and beyond—the pressing question is, who will succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel? Germany needs an experienced and assertive leader. It needs someone special.
The crises since he wrote that have only increased, which demands strong leadership. The Bible shows that this leader will come by exploiting the fears of the people. “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Daniel 11:21). Germany’s current crises will lead to this moment. People will look to a man who promises financial security and safety. One man is already promising to deliver just that. To learn who he is and what the Bible indicates he will do, read Mr. Flurry’s article by following this link.