Repository | Book | Chapter


(2011) European identity and the second world war, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Atoms for Europe

Menno Spiering

pp. 171-185

Mankind entered the "atomic age" in August 1945 when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by atomic bombs, finally bringing an end to Japanese belligerence. At that time the theory of atomic power, and the effects of radiation, had been known for years, but the massive energy release of the first bombs inspired many to believe that life would never be the same. A new, atomic age was upon us. Judging by the texts that first employed the phrase, the future was viewed with trepidation. The Oxford English Dictionary reports: "1946. It is already clear that the arrival of the "atomic age" has brought in its train the possibility of outbursts of destruction on an incomparably greater scale." It was widely expected that the future would bring more nuclear explosions, more fallout, more death and destruction, threatening the very existence of man and even planet earth. Nevil Shute's On the Beach (1957) was only one of the many dystopian novels that predicted complete, nuclear annihilation.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9780230306943_11

Full citation:

Spiering, M. (2011)., Atoms for Europe, in M. Spiering & M. Wintle (eds.), European identity and the second world war, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 171-185.

This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.