Public event

Germany and nuclear weapons in the 21st century: Atomic Zeitenwende?

Explore German nuclear weapons policy in times of change with Ulrich Kühn (IFSH), Barbara Kunz (SIPRI), and Katrin Shimizu (Auswärtiges Amt), moderated by Tobias Bunde (Hertie School). This event is hosted by the Centre for International Security.

For decades, Germany has safeguarded its security through a combination of U.S. extended nuclear deterrence and advocacy for arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation. With Donald Trump’s threats to NATO and Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, both lines of policies face mounting challenges. As a result, Germans are again discussing nuclear weapons against the background of a pivotal turning point—Zeitenwende—in German foreign and security policy. A new edited volume Germany and Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century: Atomic Zeitenwende? brings together internationally renowned nuclear scholars and policy analysts from Germany and abroad to discuss Germany’s changing nuclear policies.

In this panel discussion with the editor and some of the authors of the book, we take stock of Germany’s nuclear policies, highlighting the challenges Germany is facing in times of profound change.

This event is hosted by the Centre for International Security and moderated by Tobias Bunde


  • Ulrich Kühn is head of the research area “Arms Control and Emerging Technologies” at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH). He is also a Non-Resident Scholar of the Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a Co-Convener of the Research Network on Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence, hosted by the Harvard Belfer Center. He previously worked for the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Helmut Schmidt University and the Federal Foreign Office. From 2016 to 2017, he was a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Ulrich Kühn is an alumnus of the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.

  • Barbara Kunz is a Senior Researcher and Director of the SIPRI European Security Programme. Prior to joining SIPRI in October 2023, she inter alia worked for the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH) in Hamburg and the Institut français des relations internationales (Ifri) in Paris. In 2023, Barbara Kunz spent five months in Washington, D.C. as a Helmut Schmidt Fellow with the German Marshall Fund. In 2021-22, she was seconded to the German Federal Foreign Office’s policy planning unit as an external expert. Her research focuses on European security, both within the framework of relevant organizations such as NATO, the EU and the OSCE, and in the wider Euro-Atlantic context.

  • Katrin Shimizu is the Deputy Head of the Division for Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation at the Auswärtiges Amt. She joined the German Foreign Service in 2012 and held positions in the Directorate-General for Culture and Communication (2013-2015), the German Delegation to NATO (2016-2019), the Division for Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation (2019-2022) and the Division for Ukraine, Moldova and Black Sea Cooperation (2022-2023). She studied Japanese Studies, German Linguistics, and English Language and Literature at Humboldt University Berlin and Kobe University in Japan. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from Humboldt University Berlin.


  • Tobias Bunde is a senior researcher at the Hertie School's Centre for International Security as well as Director of Research and Policy at the Munich Security Conference. He is also a member of the Executive Board of the Munich Security Conference Foundation. Tobias studied international relations at various institutions in Germany, France, and the United States and received his PhD in Political Science from Freie Universität Berlin.