In the mid 1970s, the essence of European defence hinges upon the imposing US military presence in Europe. For German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Europeans seem to be saying 'For as long as you are there…' we have nothing to fear.
On 7 July 1981, US intelligence services prepare a study on the operational capabilities of the Warsaw Pact military forces in the event of a war with NATO, and outline the various possible scenarios for clashes in the European theatre of operations.
On 2 December 1985, the German cartoonist, Mayk, expresses concern at the compatibility of the European Eureka (European Research Coordination Agency) project with the US SDI (Strategic Defence Initiative) programme, more commonly known as ‘Star Wars’.
In 1985, the German cartoonist, Walter Hanel, takes an ironic look at the difficulties encountered by the Ten in establishing the EUREKA project for the coordination of research compared with the power of the US Strategic Defence Initiative, more commonly known as the ‘Star Wars’ project.
Map showing the details of the Euromissile crisis, a tense diplomatic battle over the installation by the United States of Pershing II cruise missiles and rockets in Europe as a counterbalance to the threat posed by the Soviet deployment of SS-20 nuclear missiles.
‘No to NATO nuclear missiles!’ On 20 November 1979, as the threat of the deployment of Soviet SS-20 nuclear missiles hangs over Western Europe, Fritz Behrendt, a Dutch cartoonist originally from Berlin, paints an ironic picture of the position of West German pacifist movements during the Euromissile crisis.
On 7 May 1980, the United States conduct a test launch of a Pershing missile at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Pershing II missiles were designed to be deployed in the European theatre of operations. These intermediate-range nuclear ballistic missiles, an improved version of the Pershing I system from the 1960s, had a range of 1 800 km and an accuracy of a few dozen metres.
‘We will not tolerate any change in balance’. On 21 November 1980, against the backdrop of the Euromissile crisis, Fritz Behrendt, a Dutch cartoonist originally from Berlin, illustrates Moscow’s decision to deploy tactical SS-20 nuclear missiles on Soviet soil, thereby challenging the balance of forces in Europe. On the right: Leonid Brezhnev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from 1964 to 1982, whose decision has altered the strategic balance in Europe.
On 12 December 1982, in front of the entrance to the Rhein-Main US Air Base in Frankfurt, more than 300 people demonstrate against the installation of new nuclear weapons in Western Europe and particularly criticise the prospective deployment of Pershing II and cruise missiles.
On 12 December 1982, more than 300 opponents of the installation of Pershing II rockets and cruise missiles in Europe demonstrate peacefully around the Rhein-Main US Air Base in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The aim of deploying these atomic weapons is to counter the threat of the Soviet SS-20 nuclear missiles aimed at Western Europe.
This artist’s rendering from 1985 illustrates an SS-20 medium-range nuclear ballistic missile mobile launcher in firing position. At this time, no official photos of the Soviet SS-20 missile had been published by Moscow.
On 8 March 1985, US President Ronald Reagan gives instructions to the US delegation for the first round of negotiations with the Soviet Union on arms control, due to open in Geneva on 12 March. The US–Soviet negotiations will focus on three issues: strategic nuclear weapons, intermediate-range nuclear weapons, and defence and space systems.
On 8 December 1987, at the White House, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev (on the left), and US President Ronald Reagan (on the right) sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which provides for the destruction of all nuclear and conventional ground-launched missiles in Europe, including the famous SS-20s and Pershing IIs, within three years. This treaty, which comes into force on 1 June 1988, is seen as the first real nuclear disarmament agreement and signals the end of the arms race between the two superpowers.