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Overkill: Why universities modelling the impact of nuclear war in the 1980s could not change the views of the security state

Preston, John (2019) 'Overkill: Why universities modelling the impact of nuclear war in the 1980s could not change the views of the security state.' In: Gearon, Liam, (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Universities, Security and Intelligence Studies. Routledge, 394 - 402. ISBN 978-1138572416

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Abstract

In the Cold War of the 1980s, Stan Openshaw (University of Leeds) and his academic colleagues produced original and sophisticated computer models which concluded that the UK government had vastly underestimated casualties and property damage in the event of a nuclear attack. The academics believed that these models would lead to policy acceptance that any military move which might provoke a nuclear attack would be unacceptable as casualties could be in the order of eighty percent. However, Openshaw was unaware that the UK government had already considered that a lower threshold of destruction would be an existential threat to the nation and were already developing authoritarian plans for national reconstruction. In conclusion, governments in crisis operate in the ‘state of exception’, considering state logics and brutally pragmatic forms of response that academics often misjudge in their conceptions of policy impact.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2020 11:53
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2020 12:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23930

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