A Nuclear Armed Germany Would Be a Mistake
In German post-war mythology, the Federal Republicâs first chancellor Konrad Adenauer is synonymous with Western Integration and unshakeable trust in America. Yet, if push came to shove, he did not want to have to trust in U.S. nuclear protection. Thus, in a cabinet meeting in December 1956, he called for the Bundeswehr to equip with nuclear weaponsâ"either through own efforts, ideally with the French and Italians , if necessary, in secret by deliberately leaving America in the dark. The â Paris Agreements of 1954â , where Germany agreed not to manufacture atomic weapons wouldnât be much of an obstacle, French Defence Minister Jacque Chaban-Delmas declared. The prohibition of atomic weapons would only concern German state territory. Therefore, why not jointly produce them in France?
During the 1950s, Adenauer and his Minister of Defence Franz Josef Strauss noticed rapid changes in the security environment. In the Summer of 1956, rumors emerged that the British planned to shift much of its military capability from Germany to the Middle East. Also, it was reported that the United States would soon announce an 800,000-men cut in its forces, making Europe an easy target for Soviet aggression. Why not use atomic weapons to halt the Red Army rather than drench the battlefield of Central Europe with American blood? According to U.S. Admiral Radford , this would not only be less costly but pretty much make up for the loss of conventional deterrence capabilities. If this wasnât enough for Germans to bear, there was the Sputnik-Crisis of October 1957. Now the U.S. homeland was within reach of Russian nuclear missilesâ" Americaâs age of invulnerability was coming to an end.
Would Americans defend Western Europe at the price of nuclear extermination? Did decision-makers in Washington value Bonn and Berlin as much as New York or Boston? Where would the defense be d eployed â"on the inner-German border, the Rhine riverside, in North Africa? Wouldnât the United States try to limit a nuclear war to Germany to protect American soil, try to win a scaled-down nuclear exchange with the Soviets at the expense of the federal republic, not least to save a great amount of blood and treasure? Understandably, Adenauer didnât want to go down that road. A âBonn bomb,â therefore would be the avenue of escape. And the window of opportunity seemed to be there. After all, Paris felt humiliated by Washington during the Suez Canal Crisis, was short of money andâ"at that period of historyâ"did not possess the bomb. Though, why not join hands with the old hereditary enemy on the other side of the Rhine?
The idea never transformed into reality. The Algerian War and De Gaulle got in the way. France became a nuclear power on its own. Germany was âcompensatedâ with the ânuclear sharing agreement,â was from now on involved in the North Atla ntic Treaty Organizationâs nuclear planning and in âwarhead deliveryâ in the event of their use. Straussâ option about this is recorded in his memoirs : âThe little puppet was allowed to run alongside the military band with his toy trumpet, believing he was the drum major.â The German Foreign Office, however, breathed a sigh of reliefâ"catastrophic political consequences had been averted, for the moment.
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Now, almost six decades later, Brookingâs Constanze Stelzenmueller , claims that Germany is facing âits worst security dilemma since the 1950sâ. In the West, Donald Trump insists on âpeace (only) through strength,â on âunmatched American power,â including a pre-eminence in nuclear capabilities. In the East, Vladimir Putin has announced ârevolutionary weapons systemsâ capable of out-maneuvering any defense and delivering nuclear warheads to every corner of the globe. And Germany lies in-between.
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Today as then, Western solidarity is under considerable strain. This time, nuclear Great Britain is not only ordering its troops home but leaving the European Union, while France continues to think of the âForce de frappeâ as a national tool first. And on top of everything, the steadiness of NATOâs Article 5 guarantee is called into question, again. The country to be blamed for this, if voices out of the Trump administration are to be believed, is first and foremost mine: Germany , who is said to spend way too little on defense and to occasionally make common cause with Moscowâ"on Nord Stream 2 and beyond. Additionally, arms control and (nuclear) non-proliferation regime(s) are in severe trouble while nuclear weapons states are modernizing their arsenals. Similar to â Atomic Annie â of 1953, an artillery cannon capable of delivering nuclear grenades up to twenty miles into enemy territory, today low-yield, high-precision nuclear weapons are planned to lower the deployment threshold, thus hardening â soft spots â in defense and deterrence.
To make matters worse, the United States, China, and Russia are developing â hypersonic gliders â of such speed (Mach 5 or more) that any effective response becomes next to impossible. As a result, in the future, most of the worldâs nuclear arsenals might be rendered highly vulnerab le to attack. When Trump then further announces a âspace forceâ and it becomes clear that early warning systems are constantly hackable via cyberspace, the Cold War doctrine of âmutually assured destruction,â the belief âwhoever shoots first dies secondâ almost sounds reassuring and stabilizing.
View the discussion thread.Source: Google News Germany | Netizen 24 Germany