Status: Open

Berlin Gave Green Light To U.S. Nuclear Bombs

November 26, 2021

On Wednesday 24 November, an agreement was announced between the three German parties to form a new coalition government. It included the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the Free Democrats, whereby the coalition was called a “traffic light”. At the same time, it was announced that Germany will remain part of NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement – a strategy for the joint use of NATO’s nuclear arsenal. 

The news will undoubtedly bring relief to Berlin’s allies within NATO. In mid-November, with coalition negotiations underway in Berlin, the Biden administration sent Senator Chris Coons (D) to Berlin as its confidant; the domestic political situation in Germany was closely followed from Paris and London as well. Allies’ fears stemmed from the fact that the election manifests of the Social Democrats and the Greens contained calls for the removal of American nuclear weapons from German territory, as well as for Germany to join the NPT as an observer, the latter potentially causing a rift within the alliance. But the fears were not confirmed: Berlin will remain part of the NATO agreement on the joint use of NATO’s nuclear arsenal.

Germany does not possess nuclear weapons but hosts U.S. nuclear bombs that German Tornado fighter jets are meant to carry to target during a conflict. As part of NATO’s deterrence, the United States has deployed nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey – all NATO allies that do not have their own nuclear weapons. In the case of a conflict, the air forces of these countries are meant to carry the American nuclear bombs.

What to read on this topic from PIR Center:

  • The paper of Security Index No. 8 (12), which analyzes NATO’s joint nuclear missions, examines the history of the concept of joint nuclear missions, and also makes recommendations for Russia in working on this issue.
  • Article about NATO’s multilateral nuclear forces from the PIR Center’s encyclopedia “Nuclear Nonproliferation” (in Russian).
  • Nikita Degtyarev’s article “Germany does not want, Poland will want”, which analyzes the problem of the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from German territory (in Russian).
  • Dmitry Danilov in the article “The Treaty on European Security within the framework of the EU–USA–NATO triangle” (in Russian).
  • Julia Fetisova’s article «Great power syndrome or “Recalcitrant Russia”».
  • Artem Lomakin’s article “Views of the German Political Elites on nuclear weapons: Hostages of US nuclear planning” (in Russian).