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Eine deutsche Atombombe

Germans are debating getting their own nuclear weapon

Donald Trump’s questioning of NATO’s credibility has Berlin thinking the unthinkable

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The interesting thing is that we've hardly heard anything about this debate in Germany, including the Defence community. In fact the question being asked in German defence forums is "huh, where did they get this story from?" The foreign press seems to find the headline "Germany considers nukes" very appealing. As several comments here prove talking about Germany in WW2 terms, a threat to civilization, is still quite popular. Old stereotypes die very hard. Welcome to the 21st century gentlemen.

As at least one commentator here has said, this is a none-starter here in Germany. For Germany to go nuclear Putin would literally have to be marching towards Berlin. If not actually have to use a nuke first. There may be support for increased defence spending, but the nuclear question is a whole nother ball game.

emma.finney in reply to sdiehl

Does the word "nuclear blackmail" ring a bell?

The reason why the Butcher of Chechyna has never used nuclear blackmail is because Europe is protected by the US nuclear shield.

Putin's behavior was on display long before he annexed Crimea and waged hybrid warfare on Ukraine. Putin razed Grozny to the ground during the Chechyna rebellion and Grozny was classified by the United Nation as the "most destroyed city in the world".

After the brutal destruction of Grozny, the city of Dresden awarded Putin its highest honor and welcomed him warmly to Dresden. This was back in the days of Grazprom Schroder who declared Putin a "flawless democrat" while running a vicious anti-American campaign. The German media obediently followed government policy and made sure the German public did not hear one word about Grozny. Back in the days when the German media had a million articles about the Iraq war but nothing about the brutal war raging in their own neighborhood in Chechyna.

So, I am not surprised the German media is keeping silent about the topic of German nukes. They practice self censorship. Remember while the rest of the western world's media exposed the brutality of Putin's brutal razing of Grozny, the German media obediently followed Schroder's government friendliness towards Putin and censored Grozny.

Likewise, I am sure the German media is obediently following Merkel government's wishes to keep the topic of German nukes out of the public eye.

The rest of the world's media is only reporting the facts that German government officials have been discretely asking the French & British about providing a nuclear shield for Europe because of the possibility of Trump withdrawing America's nuclear shield.


Germany's finance minister says Russia is conducting a "propaganda war" through fake news to try to garner influence abroad, and it has to stop.

Wolfgang Schaeuble told a group of foreign correspondents in Berlin on Tuesday that Kremlin-funded Russia Today produces "false reports from morning to evening," which "is not acceptable and needs to end."

Schaeuble said there is a "constant and unbelievably deceitful" barrage of Russian propaganda.

kuzmich in reply to Didomyk

Didomyk, it’s like in the days of the USSR the more the Kremlin said to the Soviets not to listen to the VOICE of America the more we listened saying to everyone “we don’t listen and believe American propaganda”. (Remember short-wave Spidolas). Now people in the West watch RT including you my good friend Ukrainets. Even Wolfgang Schaeuble indirectly proves that he watches RT “from morning till night”.
According to French based company Ipsos, RT is on the list of top five most-viewed international news channels in Europe and the US, Seventy million individuals switch to RT TV channels weekly. Your favorite western ones from where you draw your information happened to be off-beam. Trump declared CNN, NYT, CBS, ABC And NBC are "The Enemy of The American People" bringing fake news and information.

Didomyk in reply to kuzmich

" Seventy million individuals switch to RT TV channels weekly. ..."

kuzmiichin, you have been indoctrinated by the RT propaganda ! By the way, surely 70 million ( even if true !) RT viewers is nothing to brag about. Its just another way of saying that billions of people world wide don't see RT as a credible news source. Not just fake news, old Goebbels style propaganda.


"France, moreover, has so far been unwilling to cede any sovereignty over its nuclear arms and has always been sceptical about shared deterrence."

In his book "The Gathering Storm," Winston Churchill shares the story of the French government approaching the British government in about 1937 regarding a joint attack on HItler's Germany before Hitler could rearm. The British were horrified as such an "illegal" act. Well, we know how that turned-out . . . The French were correct, and the British were wrong.

Eventually, it makes strategic sense for Germany to obtain its own nuclear weapons. Putin and his strong-man successors will be much less likely to invade if they know that Germany is nuclear and has the guts to use them. Personally, I see Putin as an opportunistic bully who will take advantage whenever he can, so if you make the cost of an "adventure" too high, he will simply look elsewhere. Russia is too weak for a real confrontation but Putin may someday be tempted by perceived weakness in others. So remove the temptation.

Kotakis in reply to MySetDancer

"... I see Putin as an opportunistic bully who will take advantage whenever he can,"
You are 100% right. And Vladimir has shown he will take significant risks in his 'ventures' testing the rest of the world. Just think of Vlad's challenge to the West in occupying Crimea, in planning and executing his rather costly terrorist campaign In Donbas and Luhansk, in committing Russian forces and his own ego to "winning" his Syrian campaign. (Not sure how Putin will eventually define his 'winning' status ? ) Now Putin is bullying The Donald who obviously has underrated Putin's bullying skills.

Didomyk in reply to Kotakis

Here is what the Russians say :
"The new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile is designed to replace a weapons system NATO dubbed the SS-18 Satan, which was slated to be phased out under the terms of an arms control treaty that President George H.W. Bush's administration signed with the fading Soviet Union. With Russia looking to emerge once again as a great power, state-run media offered a preview of a new ICBM called the SS-X-30, which carries at least 15 nuclear warheads each.
"We have no intention of being the first to deliver a nuclear strike," Viktor Yesin, a military advisor to Russia's strategic missile force commander, told TASS news agency. "We will be able to launch them while enemy missiles are still on the way. We are building Voronezh-class missile attack warning radars along the borders capable of identifying any approaching missiles. Hypothetical enemies are aware of that. The SS-X-30 will guarantee our security...."

Didomyk in reply to kuzmich

kuzmichin, your glorious 'vozd' (leader) has been bragging about his success in increasing Russian birth rate. To quote: " "In recent years, we have managed to reverse a decline in the demographic situation. No-one believed that our programs to boost birth rates would work," Putin said"
Could you explain why Putin is trying to take personal credit for increased Russian birth rates ?


The strongest nation on the earth, the United States is failing to lead the world. This process started with Bush and Trump's mission to complete that. Now, it is necessary for the world that Europe step up. However, I believe the solution to the world's problems are more than just boosting military power, and my sense is that Merkel has recognized that.

"What makes you think that the world actually wants to be led?"

I never said the world "wants" to be led.

"Is the the world some breed of cattle?
And what does it mean anyway, to lead the world?"

I'm afraid you have to find out the answers to those questions by yourself.

Kotakis in reply to guest-ajoiajsn

You should know that there is no such concept as a "unified world" that can be 'led' by any one country. While Putin want to lead his fictional Eurasia, huge countries like China and India have their own historic experience and visions. All that political trash about BRICs (however defined) turned out to be useless fiction.
Some 100 million Russians cannot and will not set the agenda for some 5,900 million humans on this planet.

Piotr Pastor

I think that the idea of a German A-bomb would face serious reluctance in Europe. Germany caused two world wars in the last century. The current modus vivendi has prevented history from repeating itself, so why take chances ?

scott0962 in reply to Piotr Pastor

No doubt the idea of a nuclear armed Germany would cause some angst in other European countries but Germany learned the lessons of WWII and can probably be trusted more with such weapons than some other European countries including some of it's EU brethren. Of all the nations in NATO or the EU there are those whose possession of nuclear weapons would be more alarming than Germany either because of the instability of their government or endemic corruption within their society.

The problem for Germany is that possessing nuclear weapons won't necessarily guarantee it's security. While they may deter attacks using WMDs from nation states they cannot guarantee security from unconventional attack nor from terrorist groups which operate outside the control of nation states. Among potential nation state opponents Russia has shown itself increasingly able and willing to use unconventional methods to secure it's goals. Nor would German nuclear weapons necessarily deter a conventional attack since the moral and political consequences of using them would be as much a deterrent to their use as the opposition's nuclear arsenal. Even with it's own nuclear weapons Germany's best security is and will continue to be a collective defense with it's friends and allies.

scott0962 in reply to Piotr Pastor

The idea that Germany caused the First World War all by itself is an astonishing bit of historical revisionism. What caused WWI was the international system of diplomacy and treaty entanglements based on mutual distrust and the seeking of advantage, perceived or real, over rival European states. Britain and France were players of this game and just as much to blame as Austria or Germany when the events in Sarajevo caused the whole balance of power system to blow up in everyone's faces.


It is interesting to see how reasonable The Economist's arguments are for Germany getting its own nukes. There is no hyperventilation at the Germans openly discussing getting their nukes, unlike in the case of those irresponsible, untrustworthy, adolescent third worlders and rogue states. Those guys are a danger to the civilized world and can't be trusted with instruments of destruction beyond their capabilities to handle them, but the people who have actually destroyed the "civilized" world, twice, are fine.

Just shows that when the threat is to people like yourself, you are a lot for more understanding of their need to respond. But when the same happens to people you consider less than equal, you find unreasonable reasons to deny them their legitimate protections

Dasvit in reply to guest-ajownsan

I guess you are referring to a comparison between Germany and Iran. You cannot possibly argue that the two cases are similar. If Iran were to have a nuclear arsenal, it would trigger an arm race in the whole Middle East region due to the complex and difficult political relations between the neighbour countries. This does not apply to Europe. France and Britain are already nuclear powers. Germany joining the club would not trigger, say, Bulgaria to join as well. The context is completely different. Add to that the differences in governance, stability between Germany and Iran and it is clear to see why this has nothing to do with what you think it is.

guest-ajoiajsn in reply to Dasvit

I was referring to every country on the continents of Asia, Africa and South America that is a signatory to the NPT. There would be howls of disapproval and threats of retaliation if one of them was openly contemplating building a nuke in violation to the NPT's obligations. Argentina, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia.. They are all capable. You might remember sanctions being imposed on India and Pakistan when they tested their nukes, even though neither has signed the NPT.

And your point about Iran, is it serious? The arms race wont start because of Iran's nukes. It already started because of US warships in the Gulf, and the "civilized" world's non-acknowledgement, let alone condemnation, of Israel's nukes.

scott0962 in reply to guest-ajoiajsn

I don't recall any sanctions imposed on Israel for building nuclear weapons whose existence are an open secret it officially denies. What's to stop Germany from going the same route? All it requires is that the US turn a blind eye and run interference at the UN Security Council like it did for Israel.

Mark and Volha

Take a page out of Ukraine's lesson book. Give up your nukes and the Russians will take what they want. In the face of international "guarantees" of Ukraine's borders, the response the annexation of Crimea three lashes with a wet noodle and a "brave" Canadian PM publicly refusing to shake hands with Putin.

scott0962 in reply to Mark and Volha

If you think Ukrainian nuclear weapons would have prevented Russia from infiltrating it's little green men and stealing what it wanted you need to think again. First, Russia's nuclear arsenal dwarfed the one Ukraine gave up so Ukraine would lose in any nuclear exchange. Second, Russia has used proxies bolstered by non-uniformed "volunteers" to make sure that the fighting takes place on Ukrainian soil where the use of nuclear weapons by Ukraine would be an own goal. Possession of nuclear weapons does not in itself guarantee any nation's security, not even that of the USA.

Didomyk in reply to scott0962

So called "guarantees" by western nuclear powers don't guarantee security from Moscow's aggression. Think what Moscow has been doing in Ukraine. It would take only one nuclear device to teach Kremlin a lesson.


The conversation makes sense. As the Cold War proved, MAD appears to be the most foolproof deterrence to armed conflict. Russia would never threaten Germany with armed conflict if the assured result would include the total and permanent civilizational extinction of Russia. With the threat of war eliminated, the nation could focus entirely on science and progress to advance humanity to new heights

scott0962 in reply to dcog9065

MAD only worked because both sides were sane and rational. Now imagine how the Cold War would have ended if one of the nuclear armed players had been ruled by someone not entirely rational or less than sane...

Foolproof deterrence? There is no such thing.

5 Whys...

You don't need nuclear weapons.
Just drop a "Heat bomb" AKA in Antarctic ice sheets. You'll drown the world.

guest-ajjsjemi in reply to 5 Whys...

Drown the world? If that worked, you'd kill 10s or hundreds of millions of innocent people in non-involved countries, so you can attempt to "drown Russia" Not to mention you'd drown most of Western Europe, some of which might not be directly involved in a putative Germany (with maybe help from other Western powers) vs. Russia WMD confrontation.


What this article should have mentioned is that for most of the cold war Germany had full independent access to American nuclear weaponry as part of a NATO weapons sharing agreement.


It is a good point and naturally in the present geopolitical context an option that Germany can not avoid contemplating. But the reason is not just the stupidities of Mr Trump and its lack of commitment to one of the basic tenets of US hegemony since the end of WWII, that is NATO. But most likely the driver of such an eventuality, Germany becoming an nuclear power, relates more to the depart of Britain (one of the two nuclear powers of the EU) from the EU) from the EU and its drift towards populism and trumpism and more so to the risks of Marina le Pen becoming President of France and hence having her finger on the nuclear button of the second nuclear power of the EU (which in such a case would probably suffer an existential crisis). These trends or menaces would make any rational german statemen or statewomen consider very carefully the nuclear option. Other European countries may likely follow this trend (Italy or Spain, which have certainly the technological capabilities for going nuclear).

emma.finney in reply to manuevel

Stupidities of Trump?

Where did you get the bizarre idea that USA is responsible for Europe?

Here is a novel idea - Europeans are responsible for Europe. Not Americans, Trump is only pointing out the obvious.

Over 70 years of American protection has bred generations of spoiled Europeans who think America exists for the benefit of Europe and it is their birthright that the US taxpayer fund a free nuclear shield for Europe.

Now the Europeans are shocked shocked to discover that it is the European taxpayer that is responsible for funding Europe's defense bill.

Faziomba76 in reply to emma.finney

Ignorance is an ugly, ugly beast: two European countries (France and the UK) have nuclear deterrents of their own.
The security guarantees that the USA has provided to Europe were the results of the events of 1939-45 (second world war) and a desire to contain the resurgence of Germany and Soviet expansionism. The transatlantic alliance has a very long history and is rooted on a fight on the same side against Nazi-Fascism during the second world war. But it goes back way longer than that. Maybe you have heard of the USA's oldest ally? France, that in the 1770s and 1780s came to the rescue during the American war of independence (look up Lafayette, you might learn something). Luckily the Euro-American relationship is much older than you and I am convinced it will also last much longer.

Alex Tunbridge Wells

A better idea might be to reduce reliance on Russian energy imports. Instead, Germany prefers to phase out nuclear power. Not much chance of accepting nuclear weapons.


This is a non-issue in Germany. No chance the people would agree to a nuclear deterrent.

Besides, nobody here considers the Russians a threat no matter what some of the media is trying to tell us, despite the Crimean adventure. Most consider a USA under Trump to be a far greater threat to world peace.

Best USA walks away and takes all the nukes with it and lets Russia and Europe work out a lasting peace treaty based on trade and cultural exchanges. Russia needs to sell its oil and gas to survive. If it destroyed Europe it would destroy its markets. Nobody believes that Russia would want to invade Europe like under Stalin. Civilization has advanced since these dark times.

sanmartinian in reply to Pumpernickel__

to Pumpernickel__ on German nukes

"Civilization has advanced since these dark times."

True, the world has changed a lot but a number of people are not noticing it.

In the 1950s, an intelligent French writer, despite being a communist in the fashion of the times, said that France and Britain were becoming decadent because they had "Portugalised" themselves. As Portugal had done in the 17th century, they were becoming smug and isolating themselves from the rest of the world not noticing it was changing fast.

60 years later it is still true. The difference is that in France it is only around 25% of the voters who haven't noticed the world outside is changing fast whilst in Britain, mostly in England, it's more than 50%.

Britons won't notice it until a shock hits them as the first month of Trump's government is shocking Americans.

When you enter decadence you don't mend your ways for quite some time. Spain took a century to learn, Portugal took two.

With the acceleration of History, maybe things will go faster for Britain.

Pumpernickel__ in reply to sanmartinian

Howdy, Sanmartinian, it has been a while.

Yes, sadly, the Brits believe their future lies facing the Atlantic with the back to Europe, as Winston Churchill once said but when he said it, Britain was still Great Britain, not yet emasculated by the USA with debt accumulated to fight Hitler. Today, with a debt accumulating through deficit after deficit it is difficult to see what Britain hopes to gain by Brexit?

Perhaps junior or Maher can enlighten us ;-)

Michael Dunne in reply to Pumpernickel__

May want to work on your chronology there with Winston. Like starting with World War 1, which placed Great Britain in difficult financial straights.
And maybe two years of not so great conduct of war (like being forced to retreat from France in 1940) didn't help either. Maybe? The country wasn't emasculated by the US.
And don't think its a media concoction about your Russian friends there. Think a good number of people take Putin's invasions, posturing and authoritarianism seriously. Not everyone is on the take, like with Schroder, or some crooks in a bank or two...

ashbird in reply to sanmartinian

to sanmartinian on History,
I have Qs again.
Why did it take Portugal "2 centuries" to learn the hard lesson of the consequence decadence? I mean what were the factors or forces that would explain the tardiness?
Also, you allude to History seems to be accelerating. Is it really? My own thought on this point is History ultimaely is the outcome of human nature. Human nature both of the ruling class and the ruled class. That democracy has done away with a ruling class in fact has proven, from my perspective, to be an illusion. The only clear difference that has evidenced is we have assigned the classes different names. It's all the same musical chair. The bottom line is the more things change, the more they remain the same. Would you agree with this thought?

sanmartinian in reply to Pumpernickel__

to Pumpernikel_ on Brexit benefits for Britain
I have no idea, only guesses, of what Junoir and Maher think about eventual Brexit benefits for Britain.
I can only state my thoughts.
I was right in predicting well before the referendum that Brexit would not change much the economy. Brexit is an administrative matter and economic agents are far more competent at circumventing administrative arrangements than bureaucracies at implementing them.
I was very wrong at imagining that the British would manage Brexit reasonably well. In my 85 years of close connections with England (I started playing with English toddlers before any others) I never saw such an incompetent government.
Whereas beforeTheresa May became PM, I was mildly in favour of Brexit as it would avoid the huge anti-EU English majority from becoming a fifth column with benefits for both Britain and the EU, I now am not so sure.
The mentioned political benefits of Brexit are still there but the lack of unimportant economic consequences for Britain are beginning to look doubtful.
Mrs May has never read an introductory book on the modern science of successful negotiations and with a little help from the three Stooges, she's doing every possible thing wrong. The disguised mirth of EU negotiators is becoming hard to hide.
While I'm still hopeful that realities will keep the political benefits of Brexit for both the UK and the EU without severe economic consequences for the UK, I'm beginning to fear Mrs May's mismanagement will damage Britain's economy seriously.
No need to repeat that although I don't care much for party politics, I am a centre right voter and my condemnation of Mrs May and the three Brexiteers comical incompetence has nothing to do with political preferences. In fact, what worries me more in Britain these days is the utter incompetence of her politicians. The few honourable exceptions are just that: very few and totally unpopular. It's a problem of voters, not elites.
Many other countries have suffered from the same at different times in their History.

sanmartinian in reply to ashbird

to ashbird on History

You are too kind to assume I have answers for your pertinent questions.
Let me try not to give too silly answers. Portugal's two centuries tardiness in addressing her second decadence was probably a consequence of several coincidences and a serious cause.
Let me start with the coincidences.
-Lisbon's 1755 earthquake that shocked the world so much that it produced literature masterpieces all over the world, Candide by Voltaire being the best known. It also so severely destroyed the Portuguese economy and concentrated so much the national attention to the rebuilding that Portugal completely missed the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
-The three Napoleonic invasions, the only time that Portugal suffered a foreign occupation.
-The capital of the Kingdom being transferred to Rio de Janeiro to keep the country independent from the occupying country (Napoleonic France)
- The independence of Brazil promoted by the Portuguese king who was for a time Emperor of Brazil, for another time King of Portugal.
-The civil war between liberals and absolute monarchists in the early 1830s. All these coincidences account for a century of turmoil in a country that tended to shun wars and violence during all its previous History.
Now for what in my opinion is the main reason:
- As Arnold Toynbee has expressed in so many volumes, civilisations are born, grow, attain a pinnacle, get tired, withdraw from the world and enter decadence. So far there aren't any exceptions
- I, rightly or wrongly, believe that the national fatigue that causes decadence is deeper or longer lived if the effort to become great is more pronounced.
- Portugal had about half a million people when she started her worldwide navigations. Less than a century later Portugal controlled the vast majority of coastlines outside Europe: from Japan, China, Oceania, all of Africa, most of the Americas from Newfoundland (the name is the translation of Terra Nova in Portuguese) to Chile.
- More important, starting with a population of only half a million, Portugal produced a cultural empire that today counts about 220 million Portuguese native speakers, the fifth or sixth most spoken language in the world. It's a ratio of 1 initial native speaker to 440 today.
-To compare, English has a guessed ratio of 1 to 66. Spanish, the second most natively spoken language in the world, has a ratio estimated at 1 to 100. French, maybe 1 to 20. Russian perhaps 1 to 10.
-This shows the tremendous effort of expansion by a small nation. No wonder the national fatigue and decadence lasted so long and was so deep. In my opinion, it's no coincidence that Spain with the second higher effort had the second longer and deeper decadence.
Well, right or wrong, this is my opinion. Professional Historians that I am not, will certainly have a better one.
And I fully agree with you that ever since the Athenian democracy and the Roman Republic were invented, rule by the people has always been an artifice invented by alpha males (today alpha females too) to persuade other humans to feel happy with their rule.
But Churchill was right: democracy is a bad political system but all others are worse...
At least, we believe we choose our destiny. Not that with the Trumps and Theresa Mays of this world this leads us anywhere but at least we believe it was who chose them...

Pumpernickel__ in reply to sanmartinian

Comical incompetence, yes. I refer to them as Theresa in Wonderland and The Three Amigos. Comical.

To me it looks like Theresa is more concerned about her job, to which she came not through an election but through Cameron being silly. Whereas her main concern should be the well-being of the country she supports Brexit in order to hang on to her job against her better conviction. As you know she was a remainer before the referendum. This is a mercenay attitude. If she had had character, she would have declined the honour and pass the poisoned chalice to BoJo. Yet she does have a sense of humour for appointing BoJo of Erdogan and goat related poem fame to the job of Foreign Secretary. Sadly the media never covered the moment BoJo faced Erdogan and had to explain that goat poem.

It will all end in tears.

emma.finney in reply to Pumpernickel__

Poor pumpy, your authoritarian mentality will never understand that it is Theresa May's respect for democracy that made her follow through on the referendum verdict.
In a free and democratic referendum the British public voted for Brexit. Ms. May has an obligation to respect the democratic rights of the British people to get out of the EU. Britain is not like the authoritarian EU where one keeps on voting in referendums till the EU gets the results it wants.
You will never understand democracy. In fact you are unaware of your staggering ignorance of democracy, whose main essence is "demos", the will of the people.
The will of the people was expressed in the Brexit vote, got it?
It is not Ms.May's responsibility to thwart the will of the people like EU autocrats do on a regular basis.

ashbird in reply to sanmartinian

to sanmartinian re answer(s),
Thank you for taking the time to write out such a detailed answer. You are most kind and generous.
Please forgive me if I put you "on the spot". That was certainly not the intent. I know very little about this part of European history, in particular about Portugal. Hence the Q's. Had no idea, for instance, there was such an earthquake in 1755! I guess there are man-made earthquakes and there are Nature-made earthquakes. Neither is something to pray for. :)
Yes! We believe we choose our destiny. Keywords there are "we believe". Perhaps that's good enough. :)

Pumpernickel__ in reply to emma.finney

Of course, Emma, sweet heart. I will never understand democracy. How could I being German with my authoritarian mentality?
As to protection of Europe by the USA: Why don't you up sticks and take all your nukes with you and leave us to the fangs of the Russian bear. That will teach us. If Trump, in a fit, presses the nuclear button one of these days, the Russians will not need to take out all the nukes placed in ramps in Germany, because they have all been taken away. Savvy?

sanmartinian in reply to ashbird

to ashbird on the Great Lisbon Earthquake (1755)

The Great Lisbon Earthquake, as it is normally referred to by seismologists and Historians, was the most important non-political event of the 1700's .
Curiously, it had important and unusual political consequences.
It happened on November 1st, 1755, All Saints Day, a very important holiday in 18th Century Portugal. The crowds thronging the streets contributed to the death toll. It has been estimated at between 10,000 and 1000, 000, by the not too efficient disaster relief agencies of the time. A figure around 30,000 seems to be consensual among most modern historians.
The disaster was a composite one. An earthquake followed by a tsunami and a fire lasting a few days. It hit the city East of the Alcantara fault, destroying completely one of the largest cities in the world then corresponding to today's inner core of the city. Its damaging effects were felt along the country, in Spain and in Morocco, but the human disaster was practically confined to Lisbon proper. It was claimed that it was felt in Finland at one extreme, Brazil and Canada at the other.
If possible, its psychological consequences were far greater. As an item of news, it spread all over the cultivated world from Russia to France, to Southern Asia through the Portuguese possessions of India, Indochina and Macao, to the Americas via the Portuguese and Spanish colonies there. At the time, Hong Kong had practically no connections with Europe. It was certainly the most important worldwide non-political event for over a century.
In a few months, it replaced the almost universal optimism of the Enlightenment with the pessimism of the great French philosophers who created the atmosphere for the French Revolution and, up to a point, for the American Revolution.
From the Court of Catherine the Great in Russia, to France's Roi Soleil and Louis XVI, the prevailing mode that mankind "lived in the best possible of all possible worlds" was replaced by Voltaire's attacks on the theory starting with Candide, the poor fellow that suffered the Great Lisbon earthquake, and his poem on the event. JJ Rousseau and all the other "philosophes" followed and a little later the French Revolution burst. For non-literary buffs, Voltaire's "Candide" was the best seller of the decade.
The English court never enjoyed the over-optimism of the Enlightenment. Bonnie Prince Charlie and other little local dynastic troubles upset them. So they never believed, as all other elites believed, that the Great Lisbon earthquake was the divine retribution for the rich elite's sins and no intellectual revolution ensued there. Nor even Kant's founding of seismology as a science from the Lisbon earthquake data had any echo there.
The Great Lisbon earthquake, although large, is not by any means the worst in History either in scale nor even in the number of victims. But the destruction of one of the largest and more prosperous cities then, the capital of a still great power and one of the largest Empires ever built, deeply shook the educated classes and it was the earthquake with the highest psychological effect ever.
I am not a professional historian. So, facts described and opinions expressed above may be inexact or, at least, polemic.
I'll be grateful for corrections from people more knowledgeable than I, a mere amateur of History analytics.

sanmartinian in reply to sanmartinian

My post above on the Great Lisbon earthquake.
I am such a bad typist that I always make a point of rereading my posts a few hours after I've posted them.
I always find lots of small mistakes. The majority are typos, misplaced words and similar. Add for had, know for now, hear for ear are common. Must have had a Cockney ancestor who dropped all "hhh" or put them where they didn't belong. The misplaced words result generally from my changing my mind half way down a sentence and forgetting to delete the superfluous or misplaced word.
All of them innocuous and easy to understand although sometimes "it strangely sounds"...
But this time I did exaggerate. I wrote the death toll has been estimated at between 10,000 and 1000,000.
Not really. A nought too many. One hundred thousand, not one million. One million must have been close to the total population of Portugal in 1755.
I should apologise for the mistake, but honestly, it made me laugh and an apology would be insincere...

edwudwudwud in reply to emma.finney

Yes, but there are plenty more like that in his neck of the woods stuck in the 19th century who should be quarantined. “Saint Martin Schulz”…a LOL indeed…one of his “Europe’s” favourites…..and probably one of the most hated men in the real Europe.
They haven’t many friends in this “Europe” of theirs, it’s true.

Meanwhile there’s always still more chaos barrelling onto “Europe” from Germany’s Greek meddling, resulting in a Greek tragedy all because the French and German banks saw a killing to be made out of the political project, so did German industry. If they had written off their debt the EU experiment would have lost face and pissed off the German industrialists that the latter depends on. Far easier to kill Greece instead apparently.

It seems that Merkel is now lunging at the idea of her own €MF to replace the “European Stability Mechanism”. Perhaps Merkel is aware of the global unpopularity of Germany’s constant running to the IMF as it highlights EU (particularly the original German and French manipulators) responsibility for and consequent exposure to Greece and the whole collapsing €-Zone.
More obviously it may be intended for domestic electioneering. Germany has been badly stung by its experience of having to bail out Athens twice already, which has opened up rifts with its European neighbours and is deeply unpopular with Bild-Welt-reading German voters such as your pen friend who still have not realised that it is a problem of their (France-Germany-EU) making.
Apparently Berlin first proposed the idea of the fund as a European equivalent to the IMF in 2010 and has been working around the clock to get their “ally” France on board ever since.
It now looks set to succeed according to yet another fanatical German MEP Mr Giegold, who is urging EU Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker to step in and put a stop to the plans.
Strident MEP Giegold: "The German government is planning a strike against European democracy (a stentorian LOL). What initially sounds like *more Europe* is really a weakening of the EU institutions.”
Kettle-pot-hilarious: two democratically cro-magnon forces collide head-on, the German industrialist string-puller and the deluded ‘eu’ “visionaries”.
This is hugely embarrassing for German €-bots Schulz and Merkel---:-)
Nothing like a vicious bout of kraut in-fighting to bring about the end of “Europe" especially if the maniac €uronazi Schulz and mad €urozombie Merkel destroy each other's careers.
What happens with the €urocreep MEP “more Europe” Giegold is of no consequence, but he may get credit for triggering a lot more than he wished for...with luck…for the future of the continent--:-)))
Only the krauts refer to the EU as 'Europe' as if it were their 'nation' would be only fitting if they are the ones to bugger it up spectacularly---:-]
Most Germans don’t see it, but they are still in love with a pre-democratic empire that belongs in the 19th century, one that has not made them popular in Europe. When will they wake up?

ashbird in reply to Michael Dunne

Hi Michael,
I didn't mean to bypass your post at all. I had not realize it was you before with your last name changed into "Dunnein" (I think the new TE format is missing a space after everybody's name).
Just wanted to acknowledge reading your comment in the thread. Nothing else.


ashbird in reply to Pumpernickel__

Yes, indeed sanmartinian is always a good read and indeed one of the kindest commenters around. I enjoy reading his posts very much and learn from him frequently. I think he is a very erudite commenter. Even when he disagrees, he continues to be polite. I have not read you much before. Look forward to following your posts. I am not much of a politician myself. I mostly read to learn and find out about commenters' very diverse opinions. I comment only on things I think I know a little about, which mostly are mundane stuff about how/why people get along or not get along. I try to keep quiet when I don't know anything. Thank you for your replies. :)

ashbird in reply to sanmartinian

Dear sanmartinian,
Thank you so much for your replies to me re the Lisbon Earthquake in 1755. Quite an unbelievable event wrought by Nature, and the aftermath economically, politically and socially. Man was responsible for those consequences. I often wonder when the "next one" will be. Quite scary just thinking about it. There is a lot to say if one wants to philosophize about it. But perhaps doing so will unnecessarily extend the length of this thread. I just wanted to say a heart-felt thanks for the time you took to answer my Q's.
Re typos, you are junior league! My average post has at least 5 typos in it. Sometimes many more. I have given up correcting my typos; sometimes I still correct a couple of key ones by way of a reply to myself for fear the writing would otherwise be unintelligible. I assume most readers will forgive if they read my posts. :)


Dear Sirs
There is a huge mistake on this strategical thinking here ,in my humble opinion .In the utmost madness of Russian-China military use tactical nuclear weapons on few spots on Germany , and being answered by others nuclear weapons -even in the same proportion , in next hours after such Germany counter nuclear localized strike , a salvo of nearly 100-300 nuclear ogives will make all the NATO military installations radioactive debris (including London and Tokyo cities -The Nuclear Jungle more aggressive and powerful law is expected to take place !!.) .And all the strategical alarm of Russian China nuclear rocket forces against USA cities an advanced military bases will be ready to use in five minutes launches from submarines submerse in the thick Artic ice cape and at the same time Presidential conversations with USA President will take place for survival of USA-Russia Federation -China and the Human Kind .That is a credible scenario in XXI century "Armagedon " war scenario .Not any more the old MAD doctrine of NATO of XX Century .As a result , in XXI Century is better peace , a Europe unified ,total curbing of weapons of massive destruction for others countries and slashing by half of all military budgets (specially those of USA-US600 bn nd China US250bn ) .Believe me !! .


"Even the leader of Poland’s governing party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a habitual Germanophobe, called in February for a European nuclear deterrent, presumably financed largely by Germany."

-- Ahh, what could go wrong? Germanophobes protected by Germany-funded nuclear deterrents...


Seems more logical to have antimissile defense weapons than maintaining actual nuclear attack missiles. The worse today has been the Crimea incident, and the eastern Ukraine uproar. Sanctions have done more harm to Russia than any bomb. Germany would do better using their economic power that having nuclear weapons.

Michael Dunne in reply to Lost-It

I don't think the technology is there for comprehensive defense. Seems more geared for handling threats from rogue states. And even that is a difficult proposition I suspect.
Then there was ABM older technology that used nuclear devices.
Sanctions haven't compelled the Russians to leave eastern Ukraine alone, or to evacuate Crimea.


Just in time to present a draw for researchers fleeing the U.K.

I hope Puti wants an arms race because now more playas will be on the field.


It might sound mad, but we could always ask Russia if they wish to join NATO. After considerable debate they might just say yes.


Whatever the circumstances the possibilities of Germany having a nuclear weapon due to the existence of pacifist, green, social democrats, and many similar lefties is 0.0000000000001%.
They even have nuclear reactors.
But they will be able to make the EU create EU nuclear weapons paid by the German. But as an EU act it will beyond useless.