Monday, 9 February 2015; 6.00pm
University of Reading (Henley Business School, G11)
In 2011, the University of Reading received a remarkable and moving gift from the University of Hiroshima in Japan: a roof tile collected from the riverbed near the hypocentre of the atomic bomb attack of 6 August 1945. The gift was made in recognition of the fact that the University of Reading had sent books in response to an appeal by their Japanese counterparts in 1951, as part of a project to establish an international peace library. The University of Hiroshima also donated the original ten volumes Japanese manga series, now part of the University of Reading Special Collections. The tile and the volumes will be on display on the day of the event.
The atomic weapons that demolished Hiroshima not only had devastating effects on its population at the time of the bombings and throughout the lives of those who survived, but also began an arms race between the US and the Soviet Union that shaped the entire history of the Cold War. Was there a degree of rationality and reason behind the colossal build up? Did nuclear weapons cause the Cold War? Did they contribute to its escalation? Did they help to keep the Cold War cold? Was the nuclear arms race a product of Cold War tension rather than its cause?
At a time of global economic and political uncertainty and the emergent threat of international terrorism and nuclear proliferation, these are important questions that still need further investigation. The purpose of this symposium therefore is to explore new academic research on the history of nuclear weapons during the Cold War.