Declassified Docs Uncover West Germany’s Plans to Acquire Chem Weapons in 1960s

Europe

The freshly disclosed US and German military files from 1963 attest that West Germany secretly planned to possess and even deploy chemical weapons while it was forbidden from using any.

According to Deutsche Welle (DW), in 1961, West Germany had plans to ask the United States to share chemical agents, with the inspector general of Germany’s military, Friedrich Foertsch, saying that they “couldn’t do without” such a deterrent.

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DW’s report is based on the newly released documents, indicating that in 1963 Defense Minister Kai-Uwe von Hasse requested that the US provide West Germany with chemical weapons, and the Pentagon initially sought to cooperate.

“The surprising part is that the United States military did not appreciate that it was a sensitive issue. They approached it as simply just another weapon system,” said Reid Kirby, an American military historian.

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The US Department of State, however, perceived it as “very serious business,” that would create an “immense political problem.”

“This was a really hot potato and only the president could decide that,” DW cited Matthew Meselson, a chemical weapons expert, who appeared to be an adviser to the US government at the time.

While at first the US pondered over the proposal, three years later Washington ultimately…

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