Today the Fish, Tomorrow Us: Anti-Nuclear Activism in the Rhine Valley and Beyond, 1970-1979 Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Milder, Stephen
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • My dissertation analyzes the growth and development of the anti-nuclear movement in Western Europe during the 1970s. The primary focus of my research is a series of anti-reactor protests that spanned the Rhine River, connecting rural villages in German Baden, the French Alsace, and Northwest Switzerland. I seek to explain how these grassroots protests influenced public opinion about nuclear energy far from the Rhine Valley and spawned national anti-nuclear movements. I argue that democracy matters played a key role in grassroots protesters' coalescence around the issue of nuclear energy and the growth of their movement beyond the local level. After politicians repeatedly dismissed their constituents' concerns about the proposed nuclearization of the Rhine, local people created a trans-national imagined community as an alternative to the state, and national governments that they considered dysfunctional. Thus the association of nuclear energy with democracy matters achieved by local protesters in the Rhine Valley, many of whom were conservative farmers, was a key step towards the rise of mass anti-nuclear movements and the emergence of environmental values in Western Europe during the 1970s.
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  • In Copyright
  • Jarausch, Konrad Hugo
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2012

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