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This is the front page of our current issue. You can read all the main articles from the print edition on the website, or download a free PDF version of the paper. You can also search our archives for articles from previous issues.

In this issue


Beyond Crimea

What is Putin up to next?

Russia and the West need to think carefully about their next moves

By Theo Sommer

April 4, 2014

Is the West on the cusp of a new Cold War? Was Putin’s seizure of the Crimea a defining moment that requires a fundamental change in our mindset? Does the reset of Western policy vis-à-vis Russia need to be reset, engagement with Moscow curbed, yesterday’s “strategic partner” relabeled as today’s adversary? Should we rehang the Iron Curtain along NATO’s new eastern borders?

In the agitated atmosphere after the Crimean poll and the ensuing annexation of the peninsula by Russia, such questions dominated headlines and editorials all over the West. As always, the hawks demanded military measures – at the very least the deployment of NATO forces in the eastern member states or, for good measure, the widespread reintroduction of conscription. The doves, ruling out any military response action but realizing that something had to be done, called for harsh economic sanctions in the event that Putin would push farther into Ukraine. Some feeble sanctions were imposed on the inner Kremlin circle, a series of meetings and conferences called off, and Russia found itself abruptly disinvited from the G8. Isolating Putin’s regime was the order of the day.

Read more: Beyond Crimea


Nothing exceeds like success

The US, IMF and EU urge Germany to cut its trade surplus

By Wolfgang Mulke

April 4, 2014

Germany is aiming to become world champion in soccer this year; but in another discipline, it already is. No other country on earth has such a high current account surplus. Last year, Germany exported far more products and services than the country imported, leading to a record trade surplus of nearly €200 billion ($275 billion).

This is a cause of concern internationally, because the imbalance is hurtful to other economies – German export success means continuing debt among customers for two reasons. Firstly, the success of German goods means that other countries sell less of their own – less competitive – products on the international market. And secondly, despite importing German goods, they sell too little of their own products to Germany – where businesses and private households are reluctant to spend money.

Read more: Nothing exceeds like success


Hitler’s hold over Hollywood

Charlie Chaplin mocked Hitler in the 1940 satirical comedy The Great Dictator. But up until the late 1930s, Hollwood’s attitude to Nazi Germany was more one of compliance.

Author Ben Urwald describes how US film studios took directions from Nazi Germany

By Arndt Peltner

April 4, 2014

In the summer of 1939 – just a few weeks before the German Wehrmacht invaded Poland on Sept. 1 – a group of newspaper editors traveled from Germany to Hollywood. The editors, including Carl Cranz of the “Völkischer Beobachter,” were from ten prominent Nazi newspapers. A major film studio treated them to a “good will tour”. Although similar tours had been organized in previous years, this one caught the attention of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, which had become deeply concerned about the close ties between Hollywood and Hitler’s Germany.

Ben Urwand describes this as “collaboration,” and this is also the title of his book about Hollywood’s pact with Hitler. The author spent almost a decade researching the little-known working relations between studio bosses and the Nazi leadership, a story that he came across by accident. “I was writing a completely different story. I was at the Bundesarchiv (Federal Archive) in Berlin exploring Hitler’s daily agenda, his opinions on movies at the end of every day. Systematically, every night before going to bed he watched a movie, many of them Hollywood movies, and his adjutants wrote down what he thought of each film.” Adolf Hitler liked King Kong, and he watched it several times. On the other hand, for Hitler, Tarzan was “bad”. The Führer laughed about Laurel and Hardy, applauding the slapstick and jokes. The Gary Cooper vehicle “Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife,” directed by Ernst Lubitsch, was “turned off,” as the assistant’s note mentions. Hitler liked American movies and believed that German filmmakers could learn a lot from their American counterparts.

Read more: Hitler’s hold over Hollywood