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.
‘US Would Be Setting a Precedent’
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.