Civil Society

In June 2022 a survey done by infratest-dimap for the first time showed a majority of German citizens agreeing that US-American nuclear weapons should remain in Germany for the time being.

While a parliamentary majority and the German government have been supporting Germany’s role in nuclear sharing continuously, the German population had been disagreeing with this viewpoint for years. Up until the outbreak of the war against Ukraine, surveys by various organizations showed a clear majority in favor of the withdrawal of nuclear weapons. This includes surveys commissioned by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Greenpeace Germany, and the Munich Security Conference.

In the following, we present the ICAN survey results in greater detail. In the 2019 survey, 67% of the participants favored withdrawing nuclear weapons. 16% were in favor of them remaining. There is a clear gender-specific difference: 71% of all women favor the withdrawal, and only 11% favor keeping the weapons in Germany.

When compared with party preferences, it is noticeable that more than 80% of the supporters of the leftist Linke party and the Greens prefer withdrawal. The proportion is lower for the other parties, as shown in the graphic. Support for a withdrawal is lowest among supporters of the conservative Bavarian CSU – but even there a clear majority of 56% is in favor.

These numbers also explain the constant protests outside Büchel Air Base. Blockades and demonstrations have been taking place for many years in front of the airbase, which currently hosts up to 15 US nuclear weapons. In the process, activists also practice civil disobedience, for example by climbing over the fence of the air base. Even though the size of individual protests often just ranges from a handful to a few hundred people, the consistency of the activities over many years shows the importance of this issue is to individuals.

Survey on the withdrawal or retention of nuclear weapons stationed in Germany. Survey period: April 1-4, 2019
Survey on Germany’s accession to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Survey period: April 1-4, 2019