Pugwash and the two Germanies, 1955-1967: Trust between Scientists as Political Resource? Vortrag von Alison Kraft (Berliner Kolleg Kalter Krieg)

Ringvorlesung: Vertrauen als Ressource internationaler Politik

Do, 8.2.2018, 18:00
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Hörsaal 1072
Unter den Linden 6
10117 Berlin


Der Vortrag findet in englischer Sprache statt. 

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Logo: Siegel der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU)


This lecture in English is part of the series "Vertrauen als Ressource internationaler Politik | Trust as a Resource of International Politics".
Chair: Prof. Dr. Elke Seefried, Institute of Contemporary History Munich – Berlin.

Arising from the Russell-Einstein Manifesto of July 1955, the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (Pugwash) sought to bring together elite scientists from across ideological and geopolitical divides to confront the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. Emphasizing its political neutrality, and the suspension of national allegiances and ideological affinities, Pugwash sought to develop an approach to disarmament based on the principle of scientific objectivity. Setting out its agenda for overcoming political antagonisms in the 1958 Vienna Declaration, Pugwash was gradually established as a forum for "soft" diplomacy. In 1995 it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work towards nuclear disarmament. "Trust" was central to the identity of Pugwash. Bound up with notions of personal and moral integrity, trust between Pugwash scientists derived from a common language and a shared commitment to social responsibility. This had powerful effects, holding relationships in place across national borders and the blocs, enabling Pugwash to develop as a transnational network or "epistemic community".

This lecture explores both the vital importance and the fragility of "trust" as a resource for Pugwash. In exploring this paradox, it focuses on Pugwash in East and West Germany, and the relationship(s) between them during the 1960s. How was trust established and deployed across this sharpest of Cold War divides? And what did it mean in the context of the East-West German encounter? Did the German case(s) pose particular advantages or difficulties as a site for building and deploying trust?

Dr Alison Kraft holds a fellowship from the Berlin Center for Cold War Studies in 2017/2018. Her current project builds on earlier work on the history of Pugwash in Britain. Together with Carola Sachse (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin), she is currently co-editing a book on the history of Pugwash entitled Science, Peace, Communism. 

The lecture series is hosted by the Berlin Center for Cold War Studies and the Humboldt University Berlin. 

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