des VDW-Pugwash Beauftragten Prof. Dr. Götz Neuneck

Hamburg, den 18. Januar 2018

Historically, the German Pugwash Group[1] is affiliated with the Federation of German Scientists FGS (Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler; VDW)[2] which was founded in 1959 as one of the consequences of the formation of a German Pugwash Group (first members interalia C.F. Weizsäcker, W. Heisenberg, O. Hahn and others) at the sidelines of a German Physical Society Meeting in 1957. The basis of the creation to build a German Pugwash Community was the “Göttingen Declaration” from April 12, 1957, in which 18 nuclear scientists argued successfully against a nuclear equipped German army and the development of European nuclear weapons with German assistance.[3] This was a wake-up call for the German society and the beginning of civilian resistance against nuclear weapons in Germany as well as fostering debates on the social responsibility of scientists. Since then, several German Pugwash representatives (such as H. Glubrecht, K. Gottstein, H.-P. Dürr, U. Albrecht) organized Pugwash activities in Germany by publications, public talks and annual meetings.

On July 9th 2015, precisely 60 years after the publication of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto in London, an expert discussion was held in Berlin to document the current situation regarding nuclear disarmament and to provide a platform to discuss the next disarmament steps. The event was organised by the VDW and the German Pugwash group in connection with IPPNW, IALANA, NatWiss and the German-Japanese Peace Forum. In a short video message, Prof. Harold Kroto, Nobel laureate for Chemistry of 1996, referred to his close relationship with Pugwash founder Joseph Rotblat, advocating the return to humanitarian values. “Remember your humanity and forget the money“, was his variation on the original Manifesto theme. Prof. Klaus Gottstein, who had been a long-term Pugwash delegate for VDW and a member of the Max-Planck Society, began his historical introduction with the first conference in 1957 which took place in the small Canadian fishing village of Pugwash and he described key activities of the following years. The keynote speaker of the evening was Egon Bahr, 93 years old and former minister of the Brandt government, and the conceptual thinker behind Brandt`s Detente Policy which included arms control and lead, at the end, to the unification of Germany. Further speakers were inter alia Susanne Baumann, Commissioner for Arms Control and Disarmament of the German Foreign Office, and Agnieszka Brugger, Member of the Bundestag, Spokesperson for security and disarmament and chairwoman of the Defence Committee and the sub-committee for disarmament, weapons control and non-proliferation in the German Parliament. The speeches and contributions have been edited and published by Ulrich Bartosch, Götz Neuneck and Ulrike Wunderle. The publication „60 years of the Russell-Einstein-Manifesto“ is available in German and in English and can be downloaded from the FRS website. [4]

An International Pugwash Workshop with the title “Cyberwar and Cyberpeace: Are new Regulations in Cyberspace possible?” was organized by the German Pugwash Group (esp. by Ulrike Wunderle) in connection with the FGS and sponsored by the German Peace Foundation from October 23-24, 2016. For two days experts from the Foreign Office, the Armed Forces, The European Commission, computer science, Italy, Russia, Britain and Germany gave 14 presentations. 70 participants gathered in the traditional Magnus-Haus of the German Physical Society in the center of Berlin. The complex emerging subject was discussed in three working groups. After this gathering, the German Pugwash Group also organized a European Pugwash Meeting in Berlin on Sunday, 25 October 2015 with 16 participants from Britain, France, Russia, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Italy and Germany including the Secretary General. The chair of the German group, Götz Neuneck, participated in the Amaldi-Conference in Rome and was a member of the German delegation at the 9th NPT Review Conference in April/May 2015 in New York. Together with his colleagues he also coordinates the trilateral (US, Russian, German) Deep Cuts Commission.[5] This Commission was established in 2013 to address the key challenges to significantly lowering nuclear weapon arsenals and to discuss and analyze a cross section of interests of the three countries. This includes technical as well as political questions of strategic and crisis stability, issues like tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, Ballistic Missile Defense and cruise missile proliferation. In June 2016, The FGS also released a Statement before NATO´s Warsaw Summit in June 2016. This statement which warned against the continuing build-up of conventional forces in the Baltic region and a new arms race in Europe was well received in the media. This was coordinated by the FGS and received decisive input from the German Pugwash Group. Members of the German Pugwash Group took part in several meetings with the German Government, gave presentations to public audiences and wrote articles in newspaper and magazines. The FGS meets regularly for annual conferences, workshops and special briefings on a wide subject of global issues such as disarmament, climate change, health, science policy, new technologies and human values and science.



[3] See about the circumstances and consequences of a nuclear-armed Germany the VDW Blog with a contribution by G. Neuneck:

[4] In German:

[5] See the reports and working papers under: