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The Bielefeld Appeal (December 1980)

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Even the economically strong and highly industrialized Federal Republic cannot afford unlimited cannons and butter.

Especially at a time when security policies urgently need a new direction (with the objective of guaranteeing social security and domestic stability), the policies of [Minister of Defense] Hans Apel – with military demonstrations, parades, the conferring of medals and public swearing-in ceremonies for soldiers – evoke the demons of militarism and create a psychological climate that also subjects Bundeswehr soldiers to irresponsible pressure.

For all of these reasons, it seems urgently necessary to return to the original intention of the détente policies of ten years ago and to set a signal for a turnaround. Through the history of our party and our people, we Social Democrats are especially obligated to do everything in our power to assure that a war will never again emanate from German soil.

We therefore call upon the federal executive committee of the SPD, the SPD party caucus in the Bundestag, and the Social Democrat chancellor to assure:

• that talks are commenced, without further delay or extensive adjournments, to limit the strategic weapons systems in Europe (talking with one another instead of arming against one another);
• that the deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in western Europe will still be prevented by retracting the NATO decision;
• that the Vienna talks* on the reduction of troops in Europe will be accelerated and intensified • that no neutron bombs will be deployed in the Federal Republic;
• that the defense budget will be lowered in favor of social investments (social safety instead of military expenditures);
• that a European conference on disarmament will be convened and carried out as soon as possible.

Helmut Schmidt developed his government program under the motto “Courage for the Future.” Perhaps he hopes this will help him win the voluntary approval of party members and jobholders with social democratic leanings for a strategy that should more fittingly be called a program of sweat and tears.

* Mutual and Balanced Forced Reductions, MBFR – trans.

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