The term “Zeitenwende” was used by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in response to Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine. The word translates to “turning point” or “crossroads” and refers to Germany’s need to rearm itself in the face of new threats to European security.

One year after Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave a rousing speech to the Bundestag in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and as he visits the White House on Mar. 3, 2023, it is necessary to evaluate the progress of Germany’s proclaimed “turning point” in defense spending. Scholz had made it clear that due to Putin’s aggression, Europe had entered a new era of war, and nations like Germany, which had cut down their defense budgets for years, needed to rearm.

The first step is for Germany to continue increasing its defense spending. While it has made some progress on this front, it still needs to catch up to other European countries like France and the United Kingdom. This is partly due to a reluctance on the part of the German public to increase military spending, but it is also because Germany has been slow to modernize its armed forces.

The outcomes of the energy diversification initiatives by Germany are still being determined. However, the International Energy Agency forecasts a reduction of around 57% in the European Union’s imports of natural gas from Russia from 2021 to 2022. In 2021, the EU imported nearly one-quarter of its petroleum oil from Russia; however, EU imports of Russian seaborne oil are currently prohibited.