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East-West German Initiative (1983)

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3. In the meantime, the federal government has put forth the necessity of loyalty as the decisive argument for the deployment. But should a member of parliament confirm and decide in favor of something he recognizes as wrong, indeed, something he knows can lead to collective suicide, simply in order to prove the Federal Republic's reliability and loyalty to the alliance?

Has the world not become too complex and dangerous in the atomic age for us still to view as a virtue the inability to revise a preliminary decision under changed circumstances? There are now even broad sections of the American people and important American politicians who hope that at least the Europeans will act reasonably.

4. A decisive return to a policy of détente and a great deal of imagination in reshaping it is necessary. In view of the immense nuclear and conventional weapons potential accumulated on German soil, it is the special obligation of German politicians to initiate a real disarmament. We appeal to the Bundestag to resist the policy of confrontation and unconditional bloc attachment, which threatens to deepen the division of Europe and, especially, Germany. The current federal government's expressed interest in better relations with the GDR is incompatible with carrying out this "closing of the armaments gap." Whoever is interested in better relations between the two German states and the welfare of the German people cannot approve of this deployment. It would also be a blow against the forces for peace in the GDR, especially against the independent peace initiatives.

The great majority of the population – as is clearly evident from public opinion polls – rejects the deployment and in every instance prefers the open-ended continuation of negotiations and the delay of deployment.

Together with millions of fellow citizens and many citizens from the GDR, we appeal to your conscience to reject a new step towards the continuation of the arms race, and we implore you: Say no!

Heinrich Albertz, Astrid Albrecht-Heide, Ulrich Albrecht, Peter Brandt, Andreas Buro, Ingeborg Drewitz, Oskar Lafontaine, Jo Leinen, Alfred Mechtersheimer, Horst Eberhard Richter, Rudolf Steinke, Ernst Tugendhat, Michael Theunissen, Werner Vitt, Jörg Zink et. al.

Source: Appeal by citizens from the FRG and GDR: "SAY NO" (Autumn 1983); original German text reprinted in Bernhard Pollmann, ed., Lesebuch zur deutschen Geschichte [German History Reader], vol. 3, Vom deutschen Reich bis zur Gegenwart [From the German Reich to the Present]. Dortmund, 1984, pp. 265-67.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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