Activists aim to oust US nuclear weapons from Germany

By Mary Hladky and Spencer Graves

Marion Küpker, of Hamburg, Germany, spoke to PeaceWorks members recently about her work to oust US nuclear weapons from her country.

After the Cold War, said Küpker, the German people believed all US nuclear weapons in Germany had been removed. In 1997 it was discovered that 20 B61 nuclear bombs were still deployed at Germany’s Büchel Air Base. B61 bombs, each 10 times stronger than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are also deployed in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Turkey, said Küpker, for a total of about 180 such bombs in Europe. Küpker spoke to 27 persons Oct. 18 at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in KC, MO.

Marion Küpker
—Photo by Mark Semet

If President Trump, through NATO, ordered a nuclear attack from German soil, Küpker explained, the bombs would need to be flown by German pilots using German planes.

According to a March 2016 poll of the German chapter of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, 93 percent of Germans want nuclear weapons banned, and 85 percent agree that the US weapons should be withdrawn from Germany. Currently the US intends to spend $12 billion to “modernize” these bombs, added Küpker. The US would build new B61 bombs that are “intelligent”—with more accuracy—making them more likely to be used. Unfortunately, part of the work to make the new B61-12 weapons is expected to be done at the Honeywell plant, the National Security Campus in KC, MO.

In 2016, Küpker helped launch an annual 20-week-long series of nonviolent protests at Büchel Air Base, demanding withdrawal of these 20 weapons of mass destruction. Several Americans attended this year’s events, and Küpker invited us to participate next year.

Küpker and the German Peace Society of United War Resisters, committed to a world free of nuclear weapons, has these goals:

  • removing B61 nuclear bombs from Germany and elsewhere in Europe,
  • halting modernization of the bombs, and
  • applying pressure on Germany to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

—Mary Hladky and Spencer Graves serve on the PeaceWorks-KC board.

Photo above by Mark Semet.

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