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The Nuclear Freeze

Transnational pursuit of positive peace

Authored by: Dario Fazzi

The Routledge History of World Peace Since 1750

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138069138
eBook ISBN: 9781315157344
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315157344-18

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Abstract

From the late 1970s and into the early 1980s, Cold War relations deteriorated sharply. The two superpowers became confrontational on many fronts, including a mutual boycott of the Olympics, and the nuclear arms race suddenly ramped up. The rise of international tensions not only signaled a crisis of détente, but it also revamped old fears of nuclear holocaust. 1 Public anxiety swept large portions of western societies and, in response, people turned to their local communities and relied on grassroots organizing as a way to express their uneasiness. 2 In the United States, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign (NWFC, or simply the Freeze) epitomized this widespread discontent. In just a few years, the Freeze gathered broad popular support and stimulated a vibrant political debate. More interestingly, the Freeze was also part of a transnational wave of anti-nuclear protests that shook the Western hemisphere and challenged militarism, rearmament, nuclear deterrence, and the seemingly unstoppable institutionalization of violence. 3

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