Nuclear Crisis

Transatlantic Peace Politics, Rearmament, and the Second Cold War

Joschka Fischer during a blockade of a U.S. military base for Pershing-missiles in Frankfurt, October 25, 1983 (ullstein bild/The Granger Collection NY).
Joschka Fischer during a blockade of a U.S. military base for Pershing-missiles in Frankfurt, October 25, 1983 (ullstein bild/The Granger Collection NY).

The Nuclear Crisis is a digital archive and research platform devoted to the history of the controversies about nuclear weapons in the 1970s and 1980s.

It is a joint venture of the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, of the University of Augsburg, and the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA).

It is directed by Philipp Gassert (Transatlantic Cultural History, Augsburg), Martin Klimke (German Historical Institute, Washington, DC) and Wilfried Mausbach (HCA). 

Digital Archive

The digital archive has three main goals: 

  • It gathers and preserves materials on this most important chapter of transatlantic and European history.
  • It makes these materials available worldwide and free of charge to scholars and teachers.
  • It fosters the growth of a community of scholars, teachers, and students engaged in teaching and learning about the debates nuclear crisis of the 1980s.

Research Project

The digital archive is accompanied by a research project that seeks to establish a transnational cultural history of this “Nuclear Crisis” by analyzing it from five angles: 

  • It explores the diplomatic, political, and strategic debates surrounding the nuclear armament issue.
  • It merges an “establishment” perspective with an analysis of protest cultures. The project thus transcends the narrow boundaries of traditional diplomatic history.
  • It looks at manifestations of “nuclear” death in popular culture, as well as in “high art,” including—but not limited to—music, film, and novels.
  • It transcends the traditional East/West divide in postwar European history by exploring the “nuclear crisis” on both sides of the Iron Curtain
  • It asks how and to what extent people envisioned themselves as part of larger transnational communities and spaces. 

For further information please visit our website or contact the project coordinator Laura Stapane.