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Europe and Nuclear Disarmament

Debates and Political Attitudes in 16 European Countries


Harald Müller

During the Cold War, Europe - at both sides of the Iron Curtain - was the area with the highest concentration of nuclear weapons in the world. These weapons were integrated into the security policies and military strategies of either side and would have probably used early in a military confrontation. The revolution of 1989/1991 has changed the parameters of European security completely. The huge conventional forces of the Warsaw Treaty Organization have disappeared, the Soviet Union dissolved, as did the WTO. The rationale for keeping thousands of tactical nuclear weapons in Western Europe did thus no longer exist, and NATO reduced the number of these deployed weapons drastically.
Yet, nuclear weapons play still a role in Western as well as in Russian military strategy, and they have a major impact on the way NATO enlargement is viewed in Moscow in the ways Russia reacts to this process, even though NATO has declared not to station muclear arms in any of the new member states.
This is the framework within which the authors of this book inquire the thinking in European countries about nuclear weapons, security, arms control and disarmament. Their findings point to a considerable inertia of thinking. While in the United States, a major debate is under way to question the utility of nuclear weapons altogether and to explore possible pathes towards complete nuclear disarmament, such a debate is not discernible in Europe. Political elites are rather cautious; while they support the disarmament process in principle, and have clear ideas what the next steps might be, they are the more cautious the more far-reaching measures are proposed, and display considerable skepticism towards the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear arms.
Contents: Harald Müller: Preface - Harald Müller: Introduction - Camille Grand: France - Darryl Howlett/John Simpson: The United Kingdom - Alexander Kelle: Germany - Quentin Michel: Belgium - Marianne van Leeuwen: The Netherlands - Vicente Garrido Rebolledo: Spain - Thanos Dokos/Panayotis Tsakonas: Greece - Mustafa Kibaroglu: Turkey - M. Cristina Zadra: Italy - Stephan Klement: Austria - Erzsébet N. Rózsa: Hungary - Genowefa Smagala: Poland - Jirí Sedivy: The Czech Republic - Radoslava Stefanova: Bulgaria - Lars van Dassen: Sweden - Rolf Tamnes/Astrid Forland: Norway.