Practice Relating to Nuclear Weapons
Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (2006) states:
German service men or service women are prohibited from using in particular the following means of combat in armed conflicts:
- nuclear weapons.
In 1996, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the representative of Germany stated:
Though we have opposed the draft resolution as it was introduced, my delegation attaches great importance to stressing that the German Government welcomes the thorough and balanced content of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, and in particular – as is reflected in our vote on operative paragraph 3 – the German Government fully shares the conclusion of the Court quoted in operative paragraph 3 of the draft resolution. Therefore, despite our negative vote on the draft resolution as a whole, there can be no doubt about the high esteem in which Germany holds the International Court of Justice and, in particular, this advisory opinion.
In a white paper on “German Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr” published in 2006, the German Federal Ministry of Defence noted:
A debate on the role of deterrence in the security environment of the 21st century has been initiated in the Alliance, the results of which will be incorporated in a new NATO Strategic Concept at the appropriate point in time. Besides conventional means, the Alliance will continue to need nuclear assets in the foreseeable future as a credible deterrence capability.
The Alliance members’ nuclear forces have a fundamentally political purpose, this being to preserve peace, prevent coercion and war of any kind. The allies’ common commitment to preventing war and the credible demonstration of Alliance solidarity, as well as the fair sharing of burdens, require Germany to make a contribution towards nuclear participation commensurate with its role in the Alliance and the principles laid down in the Strategic Concept of 1999.
At the same time, the Federal Government continues to pursue the goal of worldwide abolition of all weapons of mass destruction. Germany itself has entered into a binding obligation under international law to renounce possession of such weapons.