© Stocksak. The door to an emergency kitchen can be seen in an ex-ciliv defence shelter. This shelter provided protection for people for up to two weeks following a nuclear attack. It is now used as a Cold War documentation center, located in Cologne, Germany.
By Tom Sims
COLOGNE (Stocksak), Germany – Tour guide Robert Schwienbacher said that he is receiving a lot of inquiries from Germans looking for space in an emergency.
After decades of peace, the Germans are regaining their concerns that were dissipated by the fall of Berlin Wall. It is a flashback to a nation that was at the political and geographic centre of the Cold War.
In recent months, President Vladimir Putin has escalated his “specially military operation” in Ukraine, calling up the reservists, and threatening to use nuclear weaponry to defend Russian land. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has spoken of “Armageddon”.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier this month warned that “no one should use nuclear arms.”
A survey conducted by R+V found that 42% now fear a war in which Germany is involved. This is a significant increase from the 16% recorded last year.
While war seems uncomfortably close to many Berlinans, the border with Ukraine is less than nine hours drive away. However, there is no immediate threat on domestic soil.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict prompted a rethink in a country that was a primary beneficiary after the fall Communism over 30 years ago.
Schwienbacher said that requests for bunker spaces, whether by email or oral, have been made since the war and are giving him a reason for reflection.
Schwienbacher stated, “I am only human and I also worry that it could become worse.”
“Germany is an important flashpoint in Europe,” he declared under the dimming lights of the bunker.
(GRAPHIC: War fears in Germany – https://graphics.reuters.com/UKRAINE-CRISIS/znvnbdzqqvl/chart.png)
Lars Pohlmeier (a German medical doctor) said that he was relieved that his 15 year-old son, who was once detained behind Iron Curtain as a teenager, is now heading to Canada for education.
“If ever I had the feeling that we were on the brink, it would be now,” he said.
From the mid-1960s onwards, the former West Germany had built 2,000 public “protection areas” that resembled a bunker. In 2007, the government unified Germany decided that they should be dismantled.
However, the conflict in Ukraine has forced Germany not to give up the remaining 599. The Federal Real Estate Agency of Germany is currently surveying the properties for potential upgrades.
In parallel, the demand for private bunkers has risen.
The orders for such units have increased by at least 300% this year, according to BSSD spokesperson Mark Schmiechen.
“An important change has occurred. Schmiechen stated, “Before we were seen as freaky outrs.” “Today we’re hip.”
The Chancellor Helmut Kohl thanked Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev on the eve German reunification in 1990. He said that the era that preceded it should not be repeated or forgotten.
Felix Ludwig, who was born in that year curates a museum located at an East-West motorway stoppoint in Marienborn. There, some people died while trying to flee East Germany.
Ludwig stated, “One gets the impression that there is increasing fear of a World War Three.”
Some Germans are anxious, but not all of them fear another Cold War.
Frank Nopper, Stuttgart mayor, grew up near his Spanish neighbors who purchased a vacation home in Spain during the Cold War to escape any hostilities in Germany. His city is closer than many German cities to the Ukraine war, because it is home to two U.S. Military Command Centres.
He said that although many people are anxious and uneasy these days, they don’t feel any immediate threat – at the least not yet.
Double-digit inflation and fears about energy scarcity after years of heavy dependence upon Russia for fossilfuels have heightened anxiety in Europe’s biggest economy.
Eva Weber is the mayor of Augsburg, a Bavarian city. She said this month that she was preparing for various crises, including heating and electricity cuts. This is an exercise that is taking place in many towns across Germany.
All German sirens will sound at 11 a.m. on December 8th. First text messages will be sent out to all mobile phones.
The U.S. military bases are close to many towns.
The mayor of Kaiserslautern said that Russia’s nuclear rhetoric was designed to incite fear in the West and erode support for Ukraine.
Klaus Weichel, the mayor, stated that it was only natural that fears are making a comeback.
Peter Degenhardt (mayor of Landstuhl), said he and his constituents feared a “hybrid warfare”.
Cologne was destroyed by hundreds of air raids during World War Two, but its cathedral survived.
1979 saw the construction of the Kalk Post Metro Station’s bunker. Above is a vibrant neighborhood of Turkish travel agencies and barbers. Below is a space that can support 2,366 people for 14 days.
Schwienbacher stated that temperatures would quickly rise to 37° Celsius in close quarters, with no showers or small boxes of provisions that should last for two days.
Schwienbacher stated that “it was built more to calm people than to protect them.”
One of the emails to Schwienbacher was seen by Stocksak. A person asked: “Are these still operational for us in case of a possible conflict?”
After 14 days, diesel, water, and other supplies would run dry and, Schwienbacher stated, people would have to leave, “no matter how it looks outside”.