NPIHP Partners Host Intensive Program on European Nuclear Issues

The Erasmus Intensive Program "Atoms for EUrope" takes places in Vienna, Austria

Mar 01, 2013

NPIHP Partners the Department of Contemporary History/University of Vienna and the Machiavelli Center for Cold War Studies (CIMA) hosted the first Erasmus Intensive Program "Atoms for EUrope," together with a number of other European academic institutions including Eoetvoes Lorand University, Budapest; the University of Augsburg; Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris III; and LUISS Roma.

Against the background of current debates on nuclear weapons proliferation and the safety of nuclear power the Intensive Program "Atoms for EUrope" (ATEU) set out to revisit Europe’s nuclear history. Both the belief in nuclear progress and the fear of nuclear warfare have shaped the European integration process from its very beginnings. The further development of the peaceful applications of nuclear technologies in Europe, as envisaged in the foundation of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) in 1957, corresponded to President Eisenhower’s famous “Atoms for Peace” speech of 1953. But notwithstanding this optimistic vision of nuclear energy the Europeans in East and West also faced the threat of atomic warfare between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 showed that the danger of radiation cut across national borders. Nuclear hopes and atomic fears alike were something that united the divided European continent.

The IP’s objective is to develop a fresh perspective on the nuclear aspects of European history between the early post-war years and the fall of the Iron Curtain. It aims to bring together graduate students, doctoral candidates, and teaching staff from different national origins. The participants of the IP will come from three founding states of Euratom (Italy, Germany, France), from a neutral state (Austria), and from a former Warsaw pact state (Hungary). This multinational composition of the IP will enable the students and the teaching staff to go beyond national narratives. Moreover, the IP will facilitate a better understanding of the variety of nuclear programs, protest cultures, and environmental measures in Europe. Thus developments on the local, the national, and the European level will be within the scope of the IP “Atoms for EUrope.”

To dismantle national and thematic boundaries in researching Europe’s nuclear history lies at the heart of the IP. Its target is to facilitate a fruitful exchange among and an institutional cooperation of young scholars and established teachers from different research backgrounds, including research subjects such as nuclear weapons proliferation, atomic culture, disarmament movements, and the rise of environmentalism. Methodological inputs from political science, international relations, and cultural studies contribute to the interdisciplinary design of the IP. Since there is still a crucial lack of research activities that bridge the gaps between these various approaches, the IP allows for an innovative look at the nuclear age in Europe.

The IP’s two-week agenda will include lectures of the involved teachers, workshops, group work with a final academic poster presentation, and field trips to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its archives as well as to the research reactor in Vienna—the only nuclear facility in Austria. This agenda provides for a manifold and interdisciplinary approach to the subject. Due to the design of the IP the teachers involved can develop a new and multifaceted approach to teaching nuclear history in Europe. For the students the IP offers the opportunity to learn from their fellow scholars from other European countries, to gain insight into other theoretical and methodological approaches to the nuclear age, and to develop a multinational research network.

During the two weeks of the IP the students will work towards the presentation of an academic poster. Albeit this kind of dissemination of research results has become widespread in conferences, in university courses students only rarely get acquainted with the production of academic posters. A team of noted researchers in the field of nuclear and European history will review the students’ posters. This reviewing process also facilitates the assessment of the IP and its results. The posters will be presented to other researchers as well as the public in an exhibition in the library of the Department of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna. A touring exhibition to the partner institutions is also intended.

2/17/2013 Sunday
Arrival day: students arrive in Vienna
17.00-18:00 Evening: Get-together at the hotel lobby (afterwards optional dinner)

2/18/2013 Monday
9:30 Welcome and Introduction
10:00-13:00 Lectures and Discussions
Oliver Rathkolb: Atomic Hopes and Nuclear Fears, 1945-2012
Philipp Gassert: Nuclear Crisis: Cold War Cultures and the Politics of Peace and Security, 1975-1990
Giovanni Orsina: Positive-sum Games in a Zero-sum World: the Liberal International, the Cold War, and European Integration, 1945-1989
13:00-15:00 Break
15:00-16:00 Workshop
Eugen Pfister: The Art of Creating Academic Posters

2/19/2013 Tuesday
9:00-13:00 Lectures and Discussions
Frédéric Gloriant: The Nuclear Franco-British (Mis)understanding during the de Gaulle-Macmillan Era
Leopoldo Nuti: Negotiating with the Enemy and Having Problems with the Allies: The US, Euratom, and the NPT Negotiations
Marilena Gala:  In Search of Reassurance: the Challenges of Being a US Ally in the Context of the Superpowers' Strategic Talks of the 1970s and 1980s
13:00-14:00 Break
14:00-17:00 Group Work

2/20/2013 Wednesday
9:00-12:00 Lectures and Discussions
Zoltan Maruzsa: Nuclear Modernization and Nuclear Armament in (Western-) Europe and the Reactions and Propaganda in Eastern-European-States
Federico Niglia: ‘Nuclear Diplomats:’ Nuclear Weapons and their Impact on the Vision and Action of European Diplomatic Elites (1945-1990)
12:00-13:00 Break
13:00-16:00 Group Work

2/21/2013 Thursday
9:00 Lectures and Discussions
Elisabeth Röhrlich: The History of the International Atomic Energy Agency
11:00-16:00 Field Trip to the IAEA / Visit of the IAEA Archives

2/22/2013 Friday
14:00-18:00 Group Work
18:00 Lectures and Discussions
Eugen Pfister: “La domestication de l’atome c’est le steak grillé avec l’énergie nucléaire” – Nuclear Optimism in European Newsreels

2/25/2013 Monday
9:00-12:30 Lecture and Discussions
Philipp Baur: Battlefield Europe: Nuclear Armageddons in Pop Culture
12:30-14:00 Break
14:00-17:00 Group Work

2/26/2013 Tuesday
9:00-12:30 Lecture and Discussions
Florian Pressler: How the Cold War Ended …
13:00-14:00 Break
14:00-16:00 Group Work
16:30-18:30 Discussion
Andreas Kuchler:  The Chernobyl disaster in a historical context. On the timeline from Hiroshima to Fukushima, followed by Movie Presentation: Im Kreis der Katatstrophe (15 min)

2/27/2013 Wednesday
Field trip to the research reactor

2/28/2013 Thursday
12:00-14:00 Group Work
14:00-15:00 Break
15:00-18:00 Group Work
18:00 Movie Presentation: Dr. Strangelove (US 1964, 90 min)

3/1/2013 Friday
14:00-19:00 Concluding Session
19:30 Dinner at a traditional Viennese “Heurigen”(TBA)

3/2/2013 Saturday
Departure

 

 

 

 

 

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Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Leopoldo Nuti // Co-Director, Nuclear Proliferation International History Project; Public Policy Scholar
  • Evan Pikulski // Program Assistant