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Berlin Appeal: "Make Peace without Weapons" (January 25, 1982)

Following the example of the Krefeld Appeal, about eighty members of the East German opposition signed the Berlin Appeal, which portrayed the dangers of nuclear war, demanded disarmament, and called on the GDR leadership to begin a constructive dialogue on issues such as military service and military instruction in schools.

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Only one kind of war can be waged in Europe: nuclear war. The stockpiles of weapons in East and West will not protect but annihilate us. We will all have long since died when the soldiers in their tanks and missile bases and the generals and politicians in their air raid shelters – those in whose protection we trusted – are still alive and proceed to destroy whatever remains.

That is why: If we want to live, then away with the weapons! First and foremost: Away with the nuclear weapons. All of Europe must become a nuclear-free zone. We propose: negotiations between the governments of the two German states on the removal of all nuclear weapons from Germany.

Divided Germany has become the deployment base for the two nuclear superpowers. We propose ending this life-threatening confrontation. The victorious powers of the Second World War must finally conclude peace treaties with the two German states, as was resolved in the Potsdam Declaration of 1945. Subsequently, the former Allies should withdraw all occupation troops from Germany and negotiate guarantees of nonintervention into the internal affairs of the two German states.

We propose leading a major debate on peace issues in an atmosphere of tolerance and of recognition as regards the right to free expression, and [we propose] approving and promoting every spontaneous public expression of the desire for peace. We turn to the public and to our government to consult on the following questions and to decide:

a) Shouldn’t we refrain from producing, selling, and importing so-called war toys?
b) Shouldn’t we introduce a course on peace issues in place of courses on military training in our schools?
c) Shouldn’t we permit public-spirited peace service instead of the present alternative civilian service for conscientious objectors?
d) Shouldn’t we refrain from all public demonstrations of military strength and instead use our state celebrations to proclaim the people’s desire for peace?
e) Shouldn’t we refrain from all so-called civilian defense exercises? Since a nuclear war affords no options for meaningful civil defense, these exercises serve only to make light of nuclear war. Might they not be a method of psychological preparation for war?

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