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date: 12 December 2017

Summary and Keywords

Spanning countries across the globe, the antinuclear movement was the combined effort of millions of people to challenge the superpowers’ reliance on nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Encompassing an array of tactics, from radical dissent to public protest to opposition within the government, this movement succeeded in constraining the arms race and helping to make the use of nuclear weapons politically unacceptable. Antinuclear activists were critical to the establishment of arms control treaties, although they failed to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, as anticommunists, national security officials, and proponents of nuclear deterrence within the United States and Soviet Union actively opposed the movement. Opposition to nuclear weapons evolved in tandem with the Cold War and the arms race, leading to a rapid decline in antinuclear activism after the Cold War ended.

Keywords: nuclear weapons, Cold War, arms race, arms control, disarmament, national security, deterrence, détente, Soviet Union, foreign policy, activism, Atomic Scientists’ Movement, fallout, downwinders, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy, Strategic Defense Initiative

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