"The United States is ready to stop the development of Pershing II and ground-based missiles when the Soviets dismantle their SS-20, SS-4, and SS-5 missiles," announced US President Ronald Reagan on Jan. November. This so-called "zero option" is primarily a concession to the Europeans. At the same time he is reacting to peace offers from Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev.
The US government believes it is forced to act, as research institutes have calculated that the West is inferior in the field of nuclear weapons. Defense Minister Casper Weinberger even calls for the neutron bomb to be stationed in Europe. He and Foreign Minister Alexander Haig agree that only a balanced threat can keep the peace.
Foreign ministers meeting in Geneva
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the end of September, the Federal Government insists on a US-Soviet Foreign Ministers meeting. Haig and his Soviet counterpart Andrei Gromyko agree to negotiate on the restriction of medium-range missiles in Europe. Nothing of the negotiations in Geneva leaked to the public: the negotiators imposed a news blackout. But the US delegation speaks of serious problems that separate the partners. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt ties his political fate to the success of the negotiations.
Peace demonstration in Bonn
All over Europe people are demonstrating against nuclear weapons in Europe and around the world. The largest demonstration will take place in Bonn on October 10th. Around 300,000 people responded to the call of Action Reconciliation / Peace Services and the Action Group for Peace. Hundreds of other organizations join the evangelical organizations. Contrary to the fears of many politicians, the protest is peaceful, Erhard Eppler from the SPD presidium and the writer Heinrich Boll speak at the rally.
Brezhnev in the Federal Republic
Even the visit of the Soviet head of state Leonid Brezhnev to the Federal Republic on November 15 cannot end the differences of opinion on the arms issue. The majority of NATO countries reject the Soviet proposal to freeze missile stocks to the current level.
Soviet submarine off Sweden
The peace band of the Soviets sound less credible after a Soviet submarine ran aground off the Swedish Karlskrona on October 28th. The captain explains that a compass mistake drove him into the fjord in front of the naval base. This explanation is not enough for the Swedish authorities.