In our dialogue with the spd do their members accept that such phenomena as the arms race, the dire impoverishment of half mankind and the global ecological crisis, all of which are linked by a multiplicity of factors that may well have their roots in a common source, are likely to spell the end of human evolution unless we can put a stop to them? If so, as I would assume, do they go on to draw the conclusion that our top priority must be to call a halt to the pursuit of self-destruction that finds its starkest expression in the military sphere? If this too is agreed, the question arises of a policy which could achieve that end. Is it not the case that the entire battery of methods that have been deployed hitherto have been powerless even to prevent the further growth and intensification of the problems and that consequently they are all ripe for replacement? Willy Brandt does at least allow the question, though without committing himself to any answer, ‘whether we ought not to attempt to secure a lasting peace by quite different methods from those employed up to now’. But everything that follows, from Willy Brandt’s own evasive assertions to the resolution of the Party Executive on 27 March 1981footnote1 tends to suppress the issue again, obscuring it with a plethora of ‘complex special problems’ and diverting attention to other matters. What they have put together represents the systematic rejection of any fundamentally new approach. They merely reiterate the premisses of the logic of exterminism and, apart from some ineffectual caveats, they endorse its immediate consequence, namely the next phase of nato ‘arms modernization’ which will induce the Soviet Union to ‘modernize’ in its turn and thus give a new impetus to the vicious circle of the arms race.

The spd is trying to master the difficult feat of harmonizing its faith in a deterrent with its own credibility as a party of peace, even though deterrence stands exposed as the recipe for the organized disruption of peace and the latest technological developments have robbed it of the last spark of a rationality gone berserk. Such a policy is bound to fail. The peace movement rejects all the assumptions underpinning the Executive’s resolution. The entire chain of argument justifying the spd’s continued adherence to nato’s insane armaments policy is riddled with fallacies from start to finish.

It is untrue that we are threatened by an unprovoked attack from the East, an attack not preceded by aggressive acts on the part of nato forces; and yet the entire logic of deterrence is based on this hypothesis. But for the weapons which tie us into the superpowers’ mutual ritual of confrontation, the Federal Republic would face no threat of any kind. As far as Germany is concerned, the obsession with a conventional Soviet attack on Western Europe, quite apart from its political impossibility at the present time, can only be a projection of our past crimes as a nation. We must refuse to threaten any potential aggressor with retaliation because such a course of action is incompatible with the survival of mankind, to say nothing of the inhumanity of the threat itself. If we persist with such policies, then all the problems of the present will be insoluble and every conceivable catastrophe and atrocity will turn out to be inevitable.

It is untrue that security can be purchased by armaments, however massive. Arms bring insecurity, and the greater the technical progress, the greater the insecurity. Nuclear defence means defence to the death. The latest missiles invite us to commit suicide in the name of security.

It is untrue that the entire calculus of arms equilibrium can ever work out, since in reality it will never achieve anything but mutual self-justification and further escalation. We must therefore advocate an escalation of the process of disarmament by means of major unilateral arms reductions which would force the opposing bloc to follow suit in order to placate its own public opinion.

It is untrue that disarmament can be achieved by the demand that the military alliances and their members should negotiate arms control and arms limitation. Such a policy is based on illusion. What is needed instead is pressure from autonomous grass-roots movements for specific arms reductions. These must make a start in their own country, independently both of agreement with their allies and of negotiations with ostensible enemies, although such initiatives could and should be accompanied or succeeded by either or both. There is no other way of bringing about an actual process of disarmament.

It is untrue that the security of the Federal Republic and of Europe as a whole can only be achieved on the basis of the Atlantic Alliance. On the contrary, at present this alliance represents a growing threat to that security since it converts our territories into a potential theatre of war for the superpowers. Instead, the security we seek must be found in the context of an independence from the opposing blocs which represents something more than a passive neutrality. The whole of Europe, with our country in the lead, must cease to be one of the bases from which the Americans enact their global trial of strength with the Soviet Union. Once that is achieved, including the withdrawal of American troops, we shall find that, after a certain interval, the nations of Eastern Europe will liberate themselves from the Soviet embrace. Intimidation has never yet forced the Soviet Union to make concessions. The best hope of removing the threat of the ss-20s from those nations of Western Europe that are still free of theatre nuclear weapons lies in their unconditional refusal to accept missiles on their territory. The expectations this raised would exert a significant political and psychological pressure. Moscow’s proposals to the Scandinavian countries constitute an additional pointer in this direction.