About

This website documents the activities and results of the “Atoms for Europe” Erasmus Intensive Programme (IP) which took place at the University of Augsburg in Feburary 2014. In addition, it serves as a platform to connect the participating teachers and students beyond the duration of the IP. We’ll keep blogging about nuclear history. You can also follow us on Twitter.

“Atoms for Europe” brought together 27 students and 16 teachers from 5 European countries (Italy, France, Austria, Hungrary, Germany) to discuss and evaluate Europe’s nuclear history.  Against the background of current debates on nuclear weapons proliferation and the safety of nuclear power, the IP set out to revisit Europe’s nuclear history between the early postwar years and the fall of the Iron Curtain. The two-week agenda included lectures, group work with a final presentation on this blog, and a field trip to the Garching Research Reactor in Munich.

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The goal of the IP was to facilitate a better understanding of the variety of nuclear programs, protest cultures, and environmental measures in Europe. Dismantling national and thematic boundaries in researching Europe’s nuclear history lay at the heart of the IP. 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.

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