European armed forces are not prepared for a war with Russia and are in danger of being “washed away” by Putin's power, a top military historian has warned.
Professor of military history at Potsdam University Sönke Neitzel said it could take over a decade before Germany was ready for war.
It comes as several German generals suggested that Nato might be unable to win the "first battle" in a defensive war on its eastern flank.
They said would struggle to ship sufficient numbers of troops and equipment to the front line quickly enough.
WATCH NOW: Nato general secretary Jens Stoltenberg on Ukraine and Nato
Professor Neitzel told the Berlin Security Conference: "We need more money. We need more personnel. And there are limits in politics.
"We can’t exclude that the Bundeswehr [German armed forces] will have to fight. We are going to stand by the coffins at the soldiers’ graves and we are going to be asked: ‘What have you done?’
"We will have to explain to the mothers and the fathers why the soldiers could not fulfil their jobs. And at the moment we can only die gallantly if there’s a war.
"It’s very clear: if our armed forces are going to fight, they will die without drones, air defences, without enough supplies. Are we now clear enough on our message [to Germany’s leaders]? They are going to die and it’s your responsibility."