Environmental Histories of the Cold War

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Overview

Environmental Histories of the Cold War explores the links between the Cold War and the global environment, ranging from the environmental impacts of nuclear weapons to the political repercussions of environmentalism. Environmental change accelerated sharply during the Cold War years, and so did environmentalism as both a popular movement and a scientific preoccupation. Most Cold War history entirely overlooks this rise of environmentalism and the crescendo of environmental change. These historical subjects were not only simultaneous but also linked together in ways both straightforward and surprising. The contributors to this book present these connected issues as a global phenomenon, with chapters concerning China, the USSR, Europe, North America, Oceania, and elsewhere. The role of experts as agents and advocates of using the environment as a weapon in the Cold War or, contrastingly, of preventing environmental damage resulting from Cold War politics is also given broad attention.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The volume is in itself an admirable initiative, as these aspects of the cold war are often neglected." -Technology and Culture, Maja Fjaestad

"One of the most important lessons to come out of this book is that we are still sorting out the political, diplomatic, and military legacies of the era, the Environmental consequences of the Cold War are still unraveling. This book is a good place to start any such investigation." -Frederic Krome, Canadian Journal of History

"...provides and excellent initial offering of Cold War-environment narratives with valuable vistas into a rich and still fertile field of research." -Roger Eardley-Pryor, Journal of World History

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Product Details

Meet the Author

J. R. McNeill has taught at Georgetown University since 1985 as Professor of History, as well as being holder of the Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environmental and International Affairs and University Professor. His books include The Mountains of the Mediterranean World (Cambridge University Press, 1992), Something New under the Sun (2000), The Human Web (2003), and Mosquito Empires (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Corinna R. Unger received her PhD in History from the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 2005 and joined the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, as a research Fellow the same year. She is currently working on a study titled Modernization in Theory and Practice: American and German Aid to India, 1947-1980. Her books include Ostforschung in Westdeutschland (2007) and Reise ohne Wiederkehr (2009).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: the big picture John R. McNeill and Corinna R. Unger; Part I. Science and Planning: 1. War on nature as part of the Cold War: the strategic and ideological roots of environmental degradation in the USSR Paul Josephson; 2. Creating Cold War climates: the laboratories of American globalism Matthew Farish; 3. A global contamination zone: early Cold War planning for environmental warfare Jacob Darwin Hamblin; 4. Environmental diplomacy in the Cold War: weather control, the United States, and India, 1966-7 Kristine Harper and Ronald E. Doel; 5. Containing communism by impounding rivers: American strategic interests and the global spread of high dams in the early Cold War Richard Tucker; Part II. Geopolitics and the Environment: 6. Environmental impacts of nuclear testing in remote Oceania: 1946-96 Mark D. Merlin and Ricardo M. Gonzalez; 7. A curtain of silence: Asia's fauna in the Cold War Greg Bankoff; 8. Against protocol: ecocide, détente, and the question of chemical warfare in Vietnam, 1969-75 David Zierler; 9. Environmental crisis and soft politics: détente and the global environment, 1968-75 Kai Hünemörder; Part III. Environmentalisms: 10. The new ecology of power: Julian and Aldous Huxley in the Cold War era R. Samuel Deese; 11. Atmospheric nuclear weapons testing and the debate on risk knowledge in Cold War America, 1945-63 Toshihiro Higuchi; 12. The evolution of environmental problems and environmental policy in China: interaction of internalization and externalization Bao Maohong; Part IV. Epilogue: 13. The end of the Cold War: a turning point in environmental history? Frank Uekoetter.

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