Katja Hoyer

Katja Hoyer

Katja Hoyer is an Anglo-German historian. Her latest book is Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990.

Germany will regret cutting Ukraine aid

It wasn’t so long ago that the German chancellor Olaf Scholz tried to convince fellow European leaders to do more to help Ukraine. Wherever he travelled in the spring, the message was the same: Vladimir Putin will only withdraw Russian troops ‘if he realises that he cannot win the war on the battlefield,’ Scholz told European social

The Euros couldn’t come at a worse time for Germany

Like many Germans, I remember the summer of 2006 with fondness. We hosted the football World Cup, and for a few glorious weeks the country was transformed. The sun literally didn’t stop shining. Every cafe, bar and park seemed to have the football on TV. The country was in an exceedingly good mood.  When it

It feels like the social order is crumbling in Germany

I’ve been in and out of Germany a lot in recent months, and it’s hard not to gain the impression that its society is falling apart at the seams. Wherever you go, there seem to be angry political rallies and street protests. The news is full of violent attacks on politicians and activists. The fear

Germany was right to take the Reichsbürger threat seriously

Germany is in the grip of one of the most extensively covered courtroom dramas in recent memory. On trial is an alleged terrorist group of nine men and women centred around the 72-year-old aristocrat Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss. They stand accused of having plotted to violently overthrow the state before they were arrested in December

A Russian spy scare won’t undermine German morale on Ukraine

The news that German police have arrested two alleged Russian spies in Bavaria has understandably raised some alarm bells in Berlin. The men stand accused of targeting military infrastructure, aiming to undermine German support for Ukraine; such acute security threats are always bad news. But the response so far has been more defiant than divided.

Germany’s Holocaust dilemma

‘In 2024, Jewish money is once again being confiscated by a German bank’. This is a headline that makes for uncomfortable reading in Berlin. It is part of a story currently making the rounds on social media and being described as a ‘worrying echo of history.’ But there is more to this story than meets the eye.

How Germany became a security liability

There were lots of smiles and some awkward football banter when German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock met her British counterpart David Cameron in Berlin earlier this week. Cameron was careful to tiptoe around Berlin’s recent security blunders, after an online call between German officials discussing British military activities in Ukraine was intercepted by Russia. Alliances

Germany’s anti-AfD marches are backfiring

The rise of Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has set off one of the largest waves of protest in modern German history. Half-a-million or so demonstrators took to the streets last weekend: they were a mixed bunch of all ages and ethnicities; politicians also marched alongside members of the public. All were united in their desire

What a secret far-right meeting reveals about the AfD

It sounds like a scene from a dystopian TV drama: in a country hotel west of Berlin, far-right politicians met neo-Nazi activists and sympathetic businesspeople to discuss a ‘masterplan’ for Germany that involves the forced deportations of millions from the country. But this is no fiction. According to reports in the German media, such a

Can Scholz convince the EU to continue supporting Ukraine?

New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep. But when it comes to Ukraine, Europe hasn’t made any. There is no clear plan for 2024 on how to stop Russia from winning its war of aggression. With the future of American politics uncertain, it will fall to Europe to make a stand. Initially lambasted for

Why German farmers are rebelling

He wanted to get away from it all. The splendid solitude of the tiny North Sea island of Hooge was a momentary refuge from the waves of political tumult buffeting his country. But when Germany’s vice chancellor Robert Habeck returned from his holiday on Thursday, a group of furious farmers prevented his ferry from docking


Can things get any worse for Olaf Scholz?

A ‘smurf’, a ‘plumber’, a ‘know-it-all’: Olaf Scholz has been called many things. But so far Germany’s chancellor has brushed off the criticism. ‘I like the smurf thing,’ he told German media, ‘they are small, cunning and they always win.’ Being associated with the ‘honourable craft of plumbing’ made him ‘proud’. And of all the

Germany’s Reichsbürger movement is anything but a joke

They don’t believe the German state exists, they make their own passports and they want the German monarchy restored. It’s tempting to dismiss the so-called Reichsbürger movement as a bunch of deranged conspiracy theorists. But the movement is growing, increasingly well-connected and willing to use violence to overthrow the state. In their latest crackdown on

Why did the Weimar Republic descend so rapidly into chaos?

‘Thirteen wasted years’ bellowed Adolf Hitler at receptive audiences in the spring of 1932. He was talking about the first full German democracy, the Weimar Republic. Proclaimed in November 1918, it was born out of a desire to do things better after the horrors of the first world war and was an ambitious attempt to

Germany shouldn’t ban the AfD

There are few countries in the world more conscious of the fragility of democracy than Germany. After the horrors of Nazism, the country vowed never again and, in August 1948, a constitution was drafted for West Germany that was designed to build a stable democracy and defend it. 75 years later, the same legal framework

The unlikely rise of Germany’s defence minister

An unlikely political star has risen in Germany. Boris Pistorius, a 63-year-old father of two is a career politician and, as of January, defence minister, an office that has proved a dead end for many of his predecessors. On the face of it, Germany’s Boris has little by way of stardust. Yet he is the

What explains the remarkable rise of Germany’s AfD?

A common stereotype about Germans is that they love to complain – and there is certainly a kernel of truth to that. Grumbling is part and parcel of everyday German life, often with complete strangers. But on my recent trips to Germany, I felt that general expressions of dissatisfaction have acquired a new sharpness. Whole communities

Has Germany truly come to terms with its Nazi past?

Germany is often lauded for the way it confronts its own past. The Holocaust, the murder of six million Jewish men, women and children, has a central place in collective memory as well as in the memorial landscape of the capital Berlin, where a 200,000 sq ft site is dedicated to it. But campaigners and