Open Letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz

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Dear Chancellor,


we welcome the fact that you had so far so carefully considered the risks: the risk of the war spreading within Ukraine; the risk of it spreading to the whole of Europe; indeed, the risk of a 3rd world war. We therefore hope that you will return to your original position and not supply, either directly or indirectly, further heavy weapons to Ukraine. On the contrary, we urge you to do everything you can to help bring about a ceasefire as soon as possible; a compromise that both sides can accept.

We share the judgment of the Russian aggression as a breach of the basic norm of international law. We also share the conviction that there is a principled political and moral duty not to retreat from aggressive force without a fight back. But anything that can be derived from this has limits in other precepts of political ethics.

We are convinced that two such boundary lines have now been reached: First, the categorical prohibition of accepting a manifest risk of escalation of this war into a nuclear conflict. The delivery of large quantities of heavy weapons, however, could make Germany itself a party to the war. And a Russian counterattack could thus then trigger the mutual assistance case under the NATO treaty and thus the immediate danger of a world war. The second borderline is the level of destruction and human suffering among the Ukrainian civilian population. Even justified resistance to an aggressor is at some point unbearably disproportionate to this.

We warn against a twofold error: Firstly, that the responsibility for the danger of an escalation to a nuclear conflict concerns only the original aggressor and not also those who, with their eyes open, provide him with a motive to act in a possibly criminal manner. And secondly, that the decision on the moral responsibility of the further "cost" in human lives among the Ukrainian civilian population falls exclusively within the competence of their government. Morally binding norms are universal in nature.

The escalating arms buildup taking place under pressure could be the beginning of a global arms spiral with catastrophic consequences, not least for global health and climate change. It is necessary, despite all differences, to strive for a global peace. The European approach of common diversity is a model for this.

We are convinced, Chancellor, that the head of Germany's government in particular can make a decisive contribution to a solution that will stand up in the eyes of history. Not only in view of our present (economic) power, but also in view of our historical responsibility - and in the hope of a common peaceful future.

We count on you!

Yours sincerely


Andreas Dresen, Filmemacher
Lars Eidinger, Schauspieler
Dr. Svenja Flaßpöhler, Philosophin
Prof. Dr. Elisa Hoven, Strafrechtlerin
Alexander Kluge, Intellektueller
Heinz Mack, Bildhauer
Gisela Marx, Filmproduzentin
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Merkel, Strafrechtler und Rechtsphilosoph
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Merkel, Politikwissenschaftler
Reinhard Mey, Musiker
Dieter Nuhr, Kabarettist
Gerhard Polt, Kabarettist
Helke Sander, Filmemacherin
HA Schult, Künstler
Alice Schwarzer, Journalistin
Robert Seethaler, Schriftsteller
Edgar Selge, Schauspieler
Antje Vollmer, Theologin und grüne Politikerin
Franziska Walser, Schauspielerin
Martin Walser, Schriftsteller
Prof. Dr. Peter Weibel, Kunst- und Medientheoretiker
Christoph, Karl und Michael Well, Musiker
Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer, Sozialpsychologe
Ranga Yogeshwar, Wissenschaftsjournalist
Juli Zeh, Schriftstellerin
Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski, Medientheoretiker

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