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D.5.a. Theoretical and Moral Debates about Nuclear Weapons

Volume Two -> D. Peace Movements Since 1945 -> D.5. Opposition to Nuclear Weapons Since 1990 -> D.5.a. Theoretical and Moral Debates about Nuclear Weapons
XIVth Dalai Lama: Peace is more than the absence of war, In: Waging Peace Series, Booklet 28, Santa Barbara, CA, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1991, pp. 1-9

When receiving of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 1991 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award, the Dalai Lama advocated total nuclear disarmament as a pre-requisite for the goals of demilitarization and the ending of all national forms of military establishment.

Boylan, Jessie, Atomic amnesia: photographs and nuclear memory, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 28, issue 1, 2016, pp. 55-73

Addresses how photography (using photographs taken in the USA and Australia) can illuminate the unimaginable, namely nuclear catastrophe, in order to fuel the imagination in the search for alternatives that lead to a world free of nuclear weapons.

Boyle, Francis ; Rubin, Alfred P. ; Weston, Burns H. ; MacBride, Sean ; Falk, Richard A. ; Hodgkin, Dorothy ; Wilkins, Maurice ; Weiss, Peter, More Than 50,000 Nuclear Weapons, Northampton, MA, Aletheia Press, 1991, pp. 145

The contributors provide an analysis of the illegality of nuclear weapons under international criminal law. 

Braun, Reiner ; Krieger, David, Einstein – Peace Now! Visions and Ideas, Weinheim, Wiley-VCH, 2015, pp. 305

Collects tributes to Einstein as a man of science and Nobel Peace Laureate, and explores Einstein’s vision of peace and scientific responsibility, especially in relation to nuclear science.

Chomsky, Noam ; Polk, Laray, Nuclear War And Environmental Catastrophe, New York, Seven Stories Press, 2013, pp. 175

Noam Chomsky, an internationally renowned linguist, and Laray Polk, an artist and activist, discuss the two major problems humanity is facing: the use of nuclear weapons and climate change.

Daley, Ted, Apocalypse Never. Forging The Path To A Nuclear Weapon-Free World, New Brunswick, New Jersey and London, Rutgers University Press, 2010, pp. 296

Ted Daley argues that maintaining the nuclear double standard by which some countries permit themselves reliance on nuclear weapons, while denying them to others is military unnecessary, morally unjustifiable, and politically unsustainable. He insists on the necessity of considering nuclear abolition as an attainable political goal rather than a utopia.

Falk, Richard ; Krieger, David, The Path To Zero. Dialogues On Nuclear Dangers, Boulder, CO, Paradigms Publishers, 2012, pp. 221

The authors critique the theory of nuclear deterrence, and debate the role of civil society in leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons. They also discuss nuclear weapons from a moral and cultural perspective, and the interconnections between nuclear weapons and militarism, energy, international law, and democracy.

See also Richard Falk and David Krieger (2016) ‘A Dialogue on Nuclear Weapons’ in Peace Review, Vol. 28, issue 3, pp. 280-287, DOI: 10.1080/10402659.2016.1201936.

A dialogue on what steps are necessary to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

Forsyth, Robert, The case against UK Trident, Spokesman, issue 140, 2018

Retired Commander Robert Forsyth, Executive Officer of the Polaris Missile Submarine HMS Repulse in 1970s, makes a compelling case why the UK should dismantle its Trident.

Krieger, David, The Challenge Of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publisher, 2011, pp. 273

The contributors provide historical perspective on nuclear weapons policy; explore the role of international law in furthering the prospects of nuclear weapons abolition; consider the obstacles to nuclear abolition; to achieving a nuclear-weapons-free-world; and consider issues of sovereignty, and general and complete disarmament.

See also: Krieger, David (2003) Hope In A Dark Time, Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, pp. 255.

Includes essays on hope and nuclear weapons abolition by many leading figures, such as Adam Curle, Joseph Rotblat, and Elise Boulding. It also includes an exchange on global citizenship and global democracy.

Krieger, David, Zero. The Case for Nuclear Abolition, Santa Barbara, CA, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 2013, pp. 166

David Krieger, founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, proposes a counter argument to the widely held belief that nuclear weapons are necessary and provide protection to the countries that possess them. He argues that there is a ‘human responsibility’ to seek the elimination of these weapons.

Krieger, David ; Ikeda, Daisaku, Choose Hope. Your Role In Waging Peace In The Nuclear Age, Santa Monica, CA, Middle Way Press, 2001, pp. 202

A dialogue between two peace philosophers, one American and one Japanese, that provide a balance of Western and Eastern perspectives on the imperative of abolishing nuclear weapons.

Lifton, Robert ; Mitchell, Greg, Hiroshima In America. A Half Century Of Denial, New York, Avon Books, 1995, pp. 427

The authors examine President Truman’s motives for authorizing and then defending the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They also discuss the moral concern of many of the scientists that directed the Manhattan Project, and expose the official attempts by historians and the media to suppress or distort the information about it.

Maguire, Mairead, A nonviolent political agenda for a more humane world, In: Waging Peace Series, Booklet 31, Santa Barbara, CA, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1992, pp. 10

When receiving the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 1992 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award in June 1992, peace activist, Mairead Maguire’s spoke about the concept of Peace Community and its relevance to opposing weapons of mass destruction.

Mulas, Roberta, Strategies of Disarmament, Civil Society and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Vol. Doctoral Thesis, Rome, LUISS Guido Carli University, 2017, pp. 398

This thesis focuses on the (neglected) role of civil society in both maintaining the existing nuclear weapons system globally and in challenging it. Adopting Antonio Gramsci's theory of civil society, Mulas also draws on critical theoretical approaches to nuclear studies and security to challenge the dominant nuclear discourse. The thesis explores how civil society actors calling for forms of nuclear disarmament can either accept the dominant discourse of deterrence or pose a radical challenge to it. In Gramscian terms the former groups unwittingly act as part of the hegemonic apparatus, the latter constitute a 'counter-hegemonic' opposition.

Rotblat, Joseph ; Ikeda, Daisaku, A Quest For Global Peace: Rotblat And Ikeda on War, Ethics, And The Nuclear Threat, London and New York, I.B. Tauris, 2007, pp. 176

Nobel Peace Prize physicist Joseph Rotblat and Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda discuss how the application of 20th-century science and technology requires a 21st-century growth in newfound wisdom. Such wisdom must arise from basic human values that transcend the limitations of knowledge and state sovereignty alone.

Sagan, Carl, Nuclear War: the perspective of a planetary astronomer, In: Waging Peace Series - Booklet 36, 1994, pp. 12

Professor of Astronomy, Carl Sagan discusses the roots of the nuclear arms race in the context of receiving the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 1993 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award. His passionate speech was given at a time when the US and the Soviet Union possessed over 60,000 warheads all together, and calls for a shift from a mentality relying on mutual deterrence and ethnic hatred to one on mutual dependence, which are still very relevant in 2019.

Scarry, Elaine, Thermonuclear Monarchy. Choosing Between Democracy And Doom, New York and London, W. W. Norton, 2014, pp. 582

Social theorist Elaine Scarry recalls the threats to use nuclear weapons by successive US presidents and argues that the power of one leader to obliterate millions people with a nuclear weapon deeply violates the constitutional rights of the citizens in the US. She also argues that it undermines the social contract and is fundamentally at odds with the deliberative principle of democracy. She explores political and constitutional changes that she believes could make it possible to start dismantling the nuclear arsenals.

Schlosser, Eric, Together we shall save our planet: A Q&A with Beatrice Fihn, The Nation, 08/11/2018,

A wide-ranging interview to Beatrice Fihn, in which she discusses ICAN’s campaign, capitalism and patriarchy as obstacles to denuclearisation, the impact of nuclear testing on child births, the possible connection between nuclear war and climate change.

Tutu, Desmond, God’s Dream, [June 1990], In: Waging Peace Series - Booklet 24, Santa Barbara, CA, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1990

Archbishop Tutu discusses the arms race and the concept of world order in light of the Gaia Peace Atlas, a collection published in the year of the U.N. special sessions on disarmament, that provides a study of the prospects for peace and survival into the twenty-first century.

Wallis, Timmon, Disarming The Nuclear Argument, Glasgow, Viewpoints, 2017, pp. 212

Critically explores key arguments for nuclear weapons: as an instrument of security; and as safe, affordable, and legal defensive tools. Wallis also queries the claim by nuclear-weapon states to be seeking multilateral disarmament, and examines the moral dimension of nuclear weapons.

Wilson, Ward, Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons, New York, HMH, 2013, pp. 187

A study that challenges five central arguments that shape nuclear weapons policies: nuclear weapons necessarily shock and awe the opponents, as indicated by Japan at the end of WWII; nuclear deterrence is reliable in times of crisis; destruction wins wars; nuclear weapons have kept peace for more than sixty-five years; and nuclear weapons cannot be eliminated altogether.

Wittner, Lawrence, The power of protest, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 2, issue 7, 2004, pp. 1-6

A reflection on how the anti-nuclear weapons movements worldwide have prevented a nuclear war after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the lessons that can be drawn for the future.