Germany

Nuclear-weapon host state

Hosts 10–15 US nuclear weapons

Has not yet joined the TPNW

Status

Germany has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

 

National position

The German foreign ministry said in June 2022 that it supports “disarmament initiatives like the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”.

However, Germany has consistently voted against an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the TPNW and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

Germany supports the retention and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, as indicated by its endorsement of various alliance statements of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), of which it is a member.

 

Nuclear weapons in Germany

Germany is one of five NATO members to host US nuclear weapons on its territory as part of a nuclear-sharing agreement. The German air force is assigned approximately 10–15 B61 nuclear bombs, which are deployed at Büchel Air Base.

ICAN campaigners hold a protest at the Büchel Air Base in Germany in 2020, where US nuclear weapons are stationed. Photo: IPPNW

 

Meetings of states parties

Germany attended as an observer the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW, held in Vienna in June 2022. This was in line with the terms of the agreement struck by three political parties in November 2021 for the formation of a coalition government.

“Without any doubt, the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW is seen as a major event in nuclear disarmament diplomacy,” Germany said at the Vienna meeting.

“Germany is committed to engaging in constructive dialogue and exploring opportunities for practical cooperation,” it added, noting that “supporters and sceptics of the TPNW can work shoulder to shoulder” to ensure that progress is made in reducing global nuclear stockpiles and preventing proliferation.

However, it said that as a NATO member – and “confronted with an openly aggressive Russia” – Germany could not accede to the TPNW, as this “would collide with our membership in NATO including [the policy of] nuclear deterrence”.

According to the minister of foreign affairs, Annalena Baerbock, Germany participated in the meeting of states parties because it wants “to improve dialogue and cooperate in addressing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons – in the field of victim assistance or the remediation of areas contaminated by nuclear testing”.

 

Political developments

More than 150 federal parliamentarians, including Annalena Baerbock, have pledged to work for Germany’s signature and ratification of the TPNW. A cross-party working group was established in 2019 with this objective.

In 2020, the German Greens – which is now a member of the coalition government – formalised their position in support of joining the TPNW and withdrawing US nuclear weapons from German territory.

Dozens of German cities, including Berlin, Munich, and all other state capitals, have called on the German government to sign and ratify the TPNW.

The former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer and former defence minister Rudolf Scharping signed an open letter in September 2020 calling on current leaders to “show courage and boldness – and join the [TPNW]”.

Ahead of the TPNW’s entry into force in 2021, the research services division of the German federal parliament, or Bundestag, published a paper affirming that the new treaty reinforces, and does not undermine, the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968.

At a protest action in Berlin in 2017, more than 700 people call on the then-chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, to sign the TPNW. Photo: ICAN

 

Public opinion

A public opinion poll conducted by YouGov in 2019 found that 68 per cent of Germans believe that their government should join the TPNW, with just 12 per cent opposed. Furthermore, a poll by Kantar in 2020 found that 83 per cent of Germans want US nuclear weapons to be removed from German territory – a requirement of the TPNW.

More than 100,000 Germans have signed a petition calling on the government to sign and ratify the TPNW.

Germans wave flags on 22 January 2021 in celebration of the TPNW’s entry into force. More than a hundred such actions took place nationwide. Photo: ICAN

 

TPNW negotiations

Germany did not participate in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not vote on its adoption. 

In 2016, Germany voted against the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

In a document sent to NATO members ahead of the vote, the United States “strongly encourage[d]” members, including Germany, to vote against the resolution, “not to merely abstain”. In addition, it said that, if the treaty negotiations do commence, allies and partners should “refrain from joining them”.

ICAN campaigners meet in Berlin in 2014 to discuss progress towards negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. Photo: ICAN

Nuclear-weapon host state

Hosts 10–15 US nuclear weapons

Has not yet joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

Status

Germany has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

 

National position

The German foreign ministry said in June 2022 that it supports “disarmament initiatives like the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”.

However, Germany has consistently voted against an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the TPNW and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

Germany supports the retention and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, as indicated by its endorsement of various alliance statements of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), of which it is a member.

 

Nuclear weapons in Germany

Germany is one of five NATO members to host US nuclear weapons on its territory as part of a nuclear-sharing agreement. The German air force is assigned approximately 10–15 B61 nuclear bombs, which are deployed at Büchel Air Base.

ICAN campaigners hold a protest at the Büchel Air Base in Germany in 2020, where US nuclear weapons are stationed. Photo: IPPNW

 

Meetings of states parties

Germany attended as an observer the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW, held in Vienna in June 2022. This was in line with the terms of the agreement struck by three political parties in November 2021 for the formation of a coalition government.

“Without any doubt, the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW is seen as a major event in nuclear disarmament diplomacy,” Germany said at the Vienna meeting.

“Germany is committed to engaging in constructive dialogue and exploring opportunities for practical cooperation,” it added, noting that “supporters and sceptics of the TPNW can work shoulder to shoulder” to ensure that progress is made in reducing global nuclear stockpiles and preventing proliferation.

However, it said that as a NATO member – and “confronted with an openly aggressive Russia” – Germany could not accede to the TPNW, as this “would collide with our membership in NATO including [the policy of] nuclear deterrence”.

According to the minister of foreign affairs, Annalena Baerbock, Germany participated in the meeting of states parties because it wants “to improve dialogue and cooperate in addressing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons – in the field of victim assistance or the remediation of areas contaminated by nuclear testing”.

 

Political developments

More than 150 federal parliamentarians, including Annalena Baerbock, have pledged to work for Germany’s signature and ratification of the TPNW. A cross-party working group was established in 2019 with this objective.

In 2020, the German Greens – which is now a member of the coalition government – formalised their position in support of joining the TPNW and withdrawing US nuclear weapons from German territory.

Dozens of German cities, including Berlin, Munich, and all other state capitals, have called on the German government to sign and ratify the TPNW.

The former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer and former defence minister Rudolf Scharping signed an open letter in September 2020 calling on current leaders to “show courage and boldness – and join the [TPNW]”.

Ahead of the TPNW’s entry into force in 2021, the research services division of the German federal parliament, or Bundestag, published a paper affirming that the new treaty reinforces, and does not undermine, the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968.

At a protest action in Berlin in 2017, more than 700 people call on the then-chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, to sign the TPNW. Photo: ICAN

 

Public opinion

A public opinion poll conducted by YouGov in 2019 found that 68 per cent of Germans believe that their government should join the TPNW, with just 12 per cent opposed. Furthermore, a poll by Kantar in 2020 found that 83 per cent of Germans want US nuclear weapons to be removed from German territory – a requirement of the TPNW.

More than 100,000 Germans have signed a petition calling on the government to sign and ratify the TPNW.

Germans wave flags on 22 January 2021 in celebration of the TPNW’s entry into force. More than a hundred such actions took place nationwide. Photo: ICAN

 

TPNW negotiations

Germany did not participate in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not vote on its adoption. 

In 2016, Germany voted against the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

In a document sent to NATO members ahead of the vote, the United States “strongly encourage[d]” members, including Germany, to vote against the resolution, “not to merely abstain”. In addition, it said that, if the treaty negotiations do commence, allies and partners should “refrain from joining them”.

ICAN campaigners meet in Berlin in 2014 to discuss progress towards negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. Photo: ICAN

[PARTNERS]

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Frieden Trier (AGF Trier)

website


RüstungsInformationsBüro

website 


Büchel ist überall! 

website


Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen

website


Facing Finance

website


Forum Friedensethik (FFE) in der Evangelischen Landeskirche in Baden

website


Friedensmuseum Nürnberg e.V. (= Nuremberg Peace Museum) 

website


ICAN Germany 

website


International Ärtze für die Verhütung des Atomkrieges (IPPNW Germany)

website


Lebenshaus Schwäbische Alb - Gemeinschaft für soziale Gerechtigkeit, Frieden und Ökologie e.V.

website


Network of the German Peace Movement (Netzwerk Friedenskooperative)

website


Pazifik-Netzwerk e.V.

website


Ohne Rüstung Leben

website


Unintended nuclear war -  Atomkrieg aus Versehen

website


Förderkreis Darmstädter Signal

website


Stiftung Überlebensrecht

website


Internationale Frauenliga für Frieden und Freiheit IFFF (WILPF Germany)

website


Friedenswerkstatt Mutlangen e.V

website


Frauennetzwerk für Frieden e.V. / Women's Network for Peace

website


ICBUW International coalition for a ban on (depleted) uranium weapons

website

[LOCALSUPPORT]

Local support Get involved with ICAN in Germany ›

Support in Germany for the ICAN Cities Appeal >

Support in Germany for the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge >

No events yet

Related news View all news ›

Local support Get involved with ICAN in Germany ›

Support in Germany for the ICAN Cities Appeal >

Support in Germany for the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge >

Find a local ICAN partner to get active Become an ICAN Partner Organization ›

  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft Frieden Trier (AGF Trier)

    website

  • RüstungsInformationsBüro

    website 

  • Büchel ist überall! 

    website

  • Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen

    website

  • Facing Finance

    website

  • Forum Friedensethik (FFE) in der Evangelischen Landeskirche in Baden

    website

  • Friedensmuseum Nürnberg e.V. (= Nuremberg Peace Museum) 

    website

  • ICAN Germany 

    website

  • International Ärtze für die Verhütung des Atomkrieges (IPPNW Germany)

    website

  • Lebenshaus Schwäbische Alb - Gemeinschaft für soziale Gerechtigkeit, Frieden und Ökologie e.V.

    website

  • Network of the German Peace Movement (Netzwerk Friedenskooperative)

    website

  • Pazifik-Netzwerk e.V.

    website

  • Ohne Rüstung Leben

    website

  • Unintended nuclear war -  Atomkrieg aus Versehen

    website

  • Förderkreis Darmstädter Signal

    website

  • Stiftung Überlebensrecht

    website

  • Internationale Frauenliga für Frieden und Freiheit IFFF (WILPF Germany)

    website

  • Friedenswerkstatt Mutlangen e.V

    website

  • Frauennetzwerk für Frieden e.V. / Women's Network for Peace

    website

  • ICBUW International coalition for a ban on (depleted) uranium weapons

    website