Four days after Russian forces rolled into Ukraine, Olaf Scholz, the new German chancellor whose robotic style had earned him the nickname "Scholz-o-mat,” did something out of character: He surprised people.

In a Feb. 27 speech, Scholz proclaimed a "Zeitenwende,” or turning point, and announced German plans to play a more ambitious role in military defense in response to the first land invasion of Europe since World War II.

Not only Germans were caught off guard. Europe, too, took note of the chancellor’s pronouncements.