German Perspectives on the Defence of Europe: An Analysis of Alternative Approaches to NATO Strategy


173 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-919827-54-3




Reviewed by E.T. Sharp

E.T. Sharp specialized in military history and disarmament and lived in Toronto.


German Perspectives on the Defence of Europe is an attempt to weigh the alternatives available to the Federal Republic of Germany. Taking his cue from the intense and often bitter debate presently taking place in Germany, Colonel Sperling analyzes the strategic realities that underlie that debate and examines alternatives to the present strategy. He uses the submissions of recognized experts invited to appear before the Defence Committee of the German Bundestag to provide the range and details of the alternatives being considered by Germany. Sperling compares these ideas to current doctrine and determines whether they would provide a viable alternative.

Sperling perceives the Soviet Union as being able and willing to initiate an unprovoked attack on Western Europe if the perceived strategic was not too great; as in a situation where Germany was no longer protected by American nuclear weapons, or if NATO conventional forces were too weak. This basic assumption leads Sperling to reject all alternatives that attempt to reduce the German armed forces or to weaken the link with the United States. He also rejects any attempt to raise the nuclear threshold through “no first use” on similar doctrines because they make war more likely rather than less. He sees the status quo on something similar as the ideal solution. This book is an informed and interesting discussion of modern strategy.


Sperling, Goetz, “German Perspectives on the Defence of Europe: An Analysis of Alternative Approaches to NATO Strategy,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,