SPD Election Poster: "Make Treaties, not Arms" (1983)
In the Bundestag election campaign preceding the snap election of March 6, 1983, the SPD chose the motto “In Germany’s Interest,” which they supplemented with “In the Interest of Peace.” Under pressure from the peace movement, the SPD spoke out in favor of the ongoing American-Soviet negotiations on intermediate-range missiles. (The talks had started on November 30, 1981, and were being held in Geneva.) This campaign poster features a stylized missile that has been made to look like a dead-end street sign; the slogan, “Make Treaties, Not Arms,” takes aim at NATO's Dual-Track Decision, which had the support of Social Democratic chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Although the Dual-Track Decision did offer the Soviet Union the possibility of negotiations, it foresaw the deployment of new arms in case these talks failed. By emphasizing a pacifist approach, however, the SPD ran into problems, since the Greens, a genuinely pacifist party, already represented a political alternative for voters on the left.