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WINTEX ( Winter EXercise , Winter exercise) was a command post exercise of NATO , which was conducted from 1968 to 1989 every two years and a military confrontation with the Warsaw Pact had on the subject.

The series of exercises emerged from older FALLEX exercises that played out an escalation to the nuclear war in Europe. The first maneuver of this type was Fallex 62 . The magazine Der Spiegel made it known in 1962 and thus triggered the Spiegel affair .

The WINTEX exercises followed the change in NATO's strategy to flexible response . They served the better cooperation between military defense, civil defense and disaster control in the event of a nuclear war on German soil and the training of the personnel involved. The legal basis for this was the emergency laws of 1968. On the West German side, the maneuvers were prepared militarily by the Office for Studies and Exercises of the Bundeswehr , and civilly by the Academy for Civil Defense (AKZV). NATO working groups wrote scripts for the exercises according to various political guidelines of the NATO countries. The West German exercise staffs were supposed to practice, examine and evaluate the interaction of the national procedures with those of NATO and develop it further based on the results. The functioning of the emergency ordinances was also examined in order to identify possible legal loopholes.

Heads of department of the responsible ministries played the role of the federal ministers , the federal chancellor and the federal president in the exercises. Around 1,000 to 1,500 federal employees were involved in the Ahrweiler government bunker (Eifel) alone , and others in the state governments' nuclear bunkers .

During the preparations for the "Wintex 73" exercise, the Soviet embassy in Bonn was leaked secret papers for the exercise at the Foreign Office . The embassy returned these papers to the German authorities.

The greatest disadvantage of the exercises was the lack of consideration of the actual effects of atomic explosions. The last exercise in 1989 was canceled after Waldemar Schreckenberger , who played the role of Federal Chancellor during the maneuver (“Federal Chancellor for the sake of exercise”, “BK-Üb” for short), in agreement with the actual Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the NATO high command in the maneuver scenario approval for the simulation of nuclear weapons operations near major German cities was denied. In previous exercises, the SPD state governments ended their participation in Wintex as soon as nuclear weapons were used in the exercise area.


  • Jörg Diester, Michaela Karle: Plan B. Bonn, Berlin and their government bunkers: An East-West Dialogue on the Cold War. Handicraft publishing house, 2013, ISBN 978-3-86950-164-2 .
  • Axel F. Gablik: A strategy cannot be timeless. Flexible response and WINTEX. In: Frank Nägler (Ed.): The Bundeswehr 1955 to 2005: Flashbacks, Insights, Perspectives. Oldenbourg, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-486-57958-1 , pp. 313-328.
  • Horst Jungmann: Wintex - Cimex: the end of politics. Research Institute for Peace Policy V., 1989.
  • Wiljem Meinberg: Wintex, Cimex: NATO's secret war games. Classified information - for official use only. Contact Point for Nonviolent Action, 1986.

Web links

  • A fraction of the nuclear weapons is enough . In: Der Spiegel . No. 30 , 1989, pp. 20-23 ( online - 24 July 1989 ).

Individual evidence

  1. Affairs: Smells like jungle war . In: Der Spiegel . No. 9 , 1973, p. 30-32 ( Online - Feb. 26, 1973 ).
  2. Hit too much . In: Der Spiegel . No. 11 , 1989, pp. 15-16 ( Online - Mar. 13, 1989 ).
  3. Dietrich Läpke: From FALLEX to WINTEX to LÜKEX . In: Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid (Ed.): Festschrift "50 Years of Civil and Civil Protection in Germany" . 2008, p. 60–69 ( [PDF; 7.0 MB ; accessed on June 13, 2017]).