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Adenauer and the West German Nuclear Problem


  • Yoko Iwama

    (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies)


Konrad Adenauer, the first West German Chancellor who was in office from 1949 to 1963, is said to have sought nuclear weapons for his country. But the truth is not that simple. Adenauer had renounced production of ABC weapons at the time of the signing of the Paris Treaties in 1954, and he never stepped out of this pledge. Instead, he adjusted his country to the nuclear age within that limit. First he allowed the American troops in West Germany to bring in nuclear weapons almost without any system of prior consultation. Next he put his country into the NATO nuclear stockpile system, by equipping the West German Bundeswehr with nuclear capable weapons. The nuclear weapons(warheads) to these weapons were usually under the control of American troops, and were passed onto the Bundeswehr at wartime. He also responded positively to the NATO multilateral force (MLF) plans, but also never ceased to look for an eEuropean option. f The reason for this was that he thought in a world in which only the US and USSR possessed nuclear weapons, Europe will no longer possess the ability to decide its own fate, and may become an object of deals between the two superpowers. But the American reaction to the Franco-German Elysee Treaty showed how difficult such an option was.

Suggested Citation

  • Yoko Iwama, 2016. "Adenauer and the West German Nuclear Problem," GRIPS Discussion Papers 16-19, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ngi:dpaper:16-19

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