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Zachmann, Karin (2016): Peaceful atoms in agriculture and food: how the politics of the Cold War shaped agricultural research using isotopes and radiation in post war divided Germany. In: Dynamis, Vol. 35, No. 2: pp. 307-331
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Abstract

During the Cold War, the super powers advanced nuclear literacy and access to nuclear resources and technology to a first-class power factor. Both national governments and international organizations developed nuclear programs in a variety of areas and promoted the development of nuclear applications in new environments. Research into the use of isotopes and radiation in agriculture, food production, and storage gained major importance as governments tried to promote the possibility of a peaceful use of atomic energy. This study is situated in divided Germany as the intersection of the competing socio-political systems and focuses on the period of the late 1940s and 1950s. It is argued that political interests and international power relations decisively shaped the development of "nuclear agriculture". The aim is to explore whether and how politicians in both parts of the divided country fostered the new field and exerted authority over the scientists. Finally, it examines the ways in which researchers adapted to the altered political conditions and expectations within the two political structures, by now fundamentally different.