WEST GERMANY: Sharing the Burden

When the Western allies restored West German sovereignty in 1955, an implicit part of the bargain in allied eyes was German responsibility to help support the NATO defense troops on its soil until West Germany could provide a full-sized force of its own. Since then the German buildup has lagged; the allied troops have had to stay on but the Germans have begrudged every pfennig the allies asked for their support. When Britain presented its bill for the current year, Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss flatly refused to pay, and was backed by the Cabinet. Germany needed the money...

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