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Wirth, H. (2013). From Hiroshima and Chernobyl to Fukushima: What does the “militant” use of nuclear power mean for our mental state, and how about its “peaceful” use?. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 22(4):217-227.

(2013). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 22(4):217-227

From Hiroshima and Chernobyl to Fukushima: What does the “militant” use of nuclear power mean for our mental state, and how about its “peaceful” use?

Hans-Jürgen Wirth

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki represent a historical break that can be understood from a social psychological position as a collective trauma of the “generic identity”. The “peaceful use of nuclear power” served as an “integration ideology of the 1950s” and corroborated the worldwide denial of nuclear danger. Not until the ecology and peace movement of the 1970s and 80s did a fundamental criticism of both the peaceful and the military use of nuclear power take shape. These initiatives, which were critical for growth, had a particularly strong, influential, and lasting effect in West Germany as the movements that were critical for expansion received here additional impetus from the confrontation with National Socialism and with the Holocaust's “breach of civilization.” The author described these psychohistorical processes as early as 1986 in an article in an issue of psychosozial on the topic of “Nach Tschernobyl – regiert wieder das Vergessen?” (“After Chernobyl – does oblivion rule again?”). The considerations outlined back then are taken up again under the shadow of Fukushima, and pursued from the social psychological perspective.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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