West German nuclear armament in 1958. What exactly happened?




 
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April 12th, 2005  
Mohmar Deathstrike
 
 

Topic: West German nuclear armament in 1958. What exactly happened?


On 03/25/1958 the Bundestag (the West German congress) decided to arm the Federal Republic with nuclear weapons. How come Germany is not a nuclear power then? The way I see it, there are three main things that may have happened:

1) The government decided not to carry this out in the end because they feared that the extra-congressional opposition, i.e. the majority of the population would vehemently oppose this and call for reelections.

2) Some secret diplomatic events involving mainly the United States and perhaps the Soviet Union forced the German government to abandon this project.

3) The Bundeswehr ("Federal Defense") was actually armed with nukes in utmost secrecy and Germany is today the "most secret" nuclear power.

I know that American nuclear missiles were (are still?) stationed in Germany but that hardly counts since they're exclusively under American command.

If you know more than me on this matter, your imput is highly appreciated peoiple! (If you don't it'll still be appreciated to some extend 8) )
April 12th, 2005  
Zucchini
 
I would put my poker chips on #1.
April 12th, 2005  
redcoat
 
 
Until recently it had been thought that #1, the opposition of the German population to the idea, was the cause of the West German government quietly dropping its plans to build nuclear weapons.
However, secret documents have come to light which showed that the USA did apply strong, but discreet pressure on the West German government to abandon the project.
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April 12th, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
I'd imagine #2, though I haven't heard of any secret documents (not to say that there aren't).

I think it's obvious to all that Germany could *very* easily be a nuclear power if there was the political will and climate for it to happen. Germany is still after all one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world.

I suspect that, had Soviet forces attacked West Germany during the Cold War, West German units would have had tactical nuclear missiles made available to them, as most observers were of the opinion that NATO would have to have deployed those in order to blunt the Soviet advance until NATO reserves arrived in theatre.
April 12th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
Quote:
I think it's obvious to all that Germany could *very* easily be a nuclear power if there was the political will and climate for it to happen. Germany is still after all one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world.
Germany's non-participation in nuclear proliferation is a model for the rest of the world. It's was too late for America and Russia to have put the genie back in the bottle but the countries that have gained nukes since need not have done so and those who wish to have it now must be stopped. Germany's example of a highly technological nation not reaching for nuclear power is to be highly commended.

Quote:
I suspect that, had Soviet forces attacked West Germany during the Cold War, West German units would have had tactical nuclear missiles made available to them, as most observers were of the opinion that NATO would have to have deployed those in order to blunt the Soviet advance until NATO reserves arrived in theatre.
As someone who was there at the time and knows something about this, I can tell you that there were units assigned to this function.
April 12th, 2005  
behemoth79
 
 
Id also guess number 2. America and Russia have been campaigning to the world to abandon any research into nuclear weaponry. The two nations are even discouraging any nuclear research. Besides i highly doubt Germany has massive stockpiles of warheads and delivery devices in some hidden bunker.
April 13th, 2005  
godofthunder9010
 
 
South Africa developed the technology to make nuclear weapons, but gave they up under International Pressure. There are several other nations that developed and subsequently scrapped a nuclear weapons program.

Iran and North Korea are most certainly not the first nations to be sternly asked to discontinue their nuclear weapons programs.
April 13th, 2005  
Zucchini
 
In 1958 the Russians and the USA weren't agreeing on anything.

A photograph of an anti-nukes rally in Hamburg, 1958:

April 13th, 2005  
A Can of Man
 
 
It was probably 1 and 2.
April 13th, 2005  
rOk
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_13th_redneck
It was probably 1 and 2.
Yeah that...though if I'm a bit anti American I'd have to say it was 60:40 in favour of the US pressure...
If anyone recalls lampyridae you'll know what I mean.