Will West Germany try to get nuclear arms--somehow?

by Horst Mendershausen

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An analysis of the Federal Republic of Germany's nuclear ambitions. The domestic political scene is inhibited from nuclear-arms-oriented R&D activities. Although Allied nuclear armament is accepted, German-owned nuclear weapons are rejected; the FRG is the only country bound by an international commitment not to produce them. No important FRG foreign-policy objective can be achieved by nuclear arms acquisition. Changing FRG policy toward nuclear acquisition would require drastic and, on the whole, unlikely changes in the government and in the international situation: a collective European nuclear force, the dissolution of NATO, military alliance with Communist China, the encouragement of the United States or the Soviet Union, or the fusion of East and West Germany without counteraction by the superpowers. There is no pressing need for America to spend resources to detect or forestall an FRG weapon-testing program, or to prevent FRG industrial developments of possible usefulness to a national acquisition program.

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