The nuclear disarmament movement: Politics, potential, and strategy

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Nuclear disarmament is a global ambition and requires collaboration, but who is collaborating, and what are their roles? This paper discusses the role of the American people in the path towards zero. Scholars have discussed at length the historical lessons of the global disarmament movement, and activists have worked to rekindle the movement after its doldrums in the 1990s. But the movement's forward-looking strategy, in terms of its overarching role, deserves - and perhaps needs - more analytical clarity than it has received. My aim is to provide an overview that sheds light on the disarmament movement's function and direction. More specifically, I argue that the disarmament movement can have a significant impact on nuclear-weapons policy in the USA, and to that end, I provide strategic recommendations for anti-nuclear-weapon organizations to help activate the public. My analysis is both predictive (about the potential success of the disarmament movement in affecting policy) and prescriptive (about the movement's strategy). The question I want to explore is not whether nuclear disarmament is desirable, but whether, and how, a social movement can move the US government towards disarmament.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-247
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Peace Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • college/university
  • disarmament
  • historical movements
  • leadership
  • peace movements


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