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The Nuclear Crisis: The Arms Race, Cold War Anxiety, and the German Peace Movement of the 1980s

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Volume 19

Protest, Culture & Society

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The Nuclear Crisis

The Arms Race, Cold War Anxiety, and the German Peace Movement of the 1980s

Edited by Christoph Becker-Schaum, Philipp Gassert, Wilfried Mausbach, Martin Klimke, and Marianne Zepp

392 pages, 42 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-267-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78920-509-1 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (November 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78533-268-5 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“[This volume consists] of nineteen erudite and informative contributions by an extraordinary series of contributors -- making it an unreservedly recommended publication for college and university library Nuclear Weapons & Warfare History, War & Peace, and Political Advocacy collections.” • Midwest Book Review

“This volume is a well-conceived collection of different approaches to the events of the “Nuclear Crisis” and the reactions of a large, broad and heterogeneous peace movement. It is especially through its multidimensional description also well suited as an introduction to this topic. With the help of this volume is seems possible to ‘learn from history,’ because who considers the arguments and discussion threads of the debates will recognize much in the contemporary themes of the peace movement.” • Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen

“This is an important volume on a key phase of the Cold War, one that will be of interest to scholars, but can also be assigned to undergraduate and graduate students. The various chapters build on each other beautifully, forming a coherent whole. Aside from a couple of rough spots, they are beautifully written, though they originally appeared in German. A list of abbreviations and annotated bibliographies at the end of each chapter make this volume highly reader-friendly.” • German History

“The breadth and balance of this collection make it an excellent introduction to the strategic challenges and nuclear anxieties of the Second Cold War. In giving such detailed coverage of the 1980s, it represents a kind of milestone in the historicization of peace movements.” • William Glenn Gray, Purdue University

“With great conceptual clarity, the contributions to this volume offer innovative perspectives on the connections between international and domestic politics, the renegotiation of ‘peace’ in the political arena, and questions of collective agency. One of its great strengths is its multi-dimensional approach, integrating traditional methods of studying policy and diplomacy with an astute and precise analysis of media, protest actions, grass-roots activism, and the gendering of peace and protest.” • Benjamin Ziemann, University of Sheffield


In 1983, more than one million Germans joined together to protest NATO’s deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe. International media overflowed with images of marches, rallies, and human chains as protesters blockaded depots and agitated for disarmament. Though they failed to halt the deployment, the episode was a decisive one for German society, revealing deep divisions in the nation’s political culture while continuing to mobilize activists. This volume provides a comprehensive reference work on the “Euromissiles” crisis as experienced by its various protagonists, analyzing NATO’s diplomatic and military maneuvering and tracing the political, cultural, and moral discourses that surrounded the missiles’ deployment in East and West Germany.

Christoph Becker-Schaum is the Director of the Green Memory Archive at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin.

Philipp Gassert is a Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Mannheim and a past deputy director of the German Historical Institute, Washington, DC. His publications include America’s Wars (co-written with Alexander Emmerich, 2015).

Martin Klimke is Associate Dean of Humanities and Associate Professor of History at New York University Abu Dhabi. He is the author of The Other Alliance: Global Protest and Student Unrest in West Germany and the US, 1962–1972 (2010) and co-author of A Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African‐American GIs, and Germany (2010).

Wilfried Mausbach is the Executive Director of the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) at Heidelberg University. He is the coeditor of The American Presidency: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2012) and of Changing the World, Changing Oneself: Political Protest and Collective Identities in West Germany and the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s (2010).

Marianne Zepp was Program Director for Contemporary History at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin. She is the coeditor of Politische Gewalt in Deutschland: Ursprünge – Ausprägungen – Konsequenzen (Göttingen: Wallstein 2014).

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Sociology
Area: Germany


Introduction: The Nuclear Crisis, NATO’s Double-Track Decision, and the Peace Movement of the 1980s: An Introduction
Christoph Becker-Schaum, Philipp Gassert, Martin Klimke, Wilfried Mausbach, and Marianne Zepp

Chapter 1. From Helsinki to Afghanistan:

 The CSCE Process and the Beginning of the Second Cold War

Anja Hanisch

Chapter 2. The NATO Double-Track Decision: Genesis and Implementation

Tim Geiger

Chapter 3. SS-20 and Pershing II: Weapon Systems and the Dynamization of East-West Relations

Oliver Bange

Chapter 4. NATO’s Double-Track Decision and East-West German Relations

Hermann Wentker

Chapter 5.Political Parties
Jan Hansen

Chapter 6. Eco-Pacifism: The Environmental Movement as a Source for the Peace Movement

Silke Mende and Birgit Metzger

Chapter 7. Rationality of Fear: The Intellectual Foundations of the Peace Movement

Marianne Zepp

Chapter 8. The Institutional Organization of the Peace Movement

Christoph Becker-Schaum

Chapter 9. The Spaces and Places of the Peace Movement

Susanne Schregel

Chapter 10. The Protagonists of the Peace Movement

Saskia Richter

Chapter 11. The Independent Peace Movement in East Germany

Rainer Eckert

Chapter 12. Visual and Media Strategies of the Peace Movement
Kathrin Fahlenbrach and Laura Stapane

Chapter 13. The Churches

Sebastian Kalden and Jan Ole Wiechmann

Chapter 14. Trade Unions
Dietmar Süß

Chapter 15. The Police
Michael Sturm

Chapter 16. “Men Build Rockets”: The Women's Peace Movement
Reinhild Kreis

Chapter 17. Civil Defense: Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario in Politics and Science

Claudia Kemper

Chapter 18. Nuclear Doomsday Scenarios in Film, Literature, and Music

Philipp Baur

Chapter 19. A Triumph of Disarmament? The 1980s and the International Political System

Florian Pressler


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