A Discussion with historians Lawrence Wittner & Blanche Wiesen Cook

Thursday, April 11, 2024 @ 7:00 PM
Online Event (ZOOM)

Join us for an online discussion on the past and future of resistance to nuclear weapons!


Leading the discussion will be Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History Emeritus at SUNY Albany and author of numerous books and hundreds of articles on peace and foreign policy issues including Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement (Stanford University Press). Professor Wittner is a longtime peace activist who has participated since 1961 in the racial equality, labor, and peace movements. He was an early civil rights and anti-apartheid activist and has participated in the many social justice ventures of the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District. Over the years, Wittner has served as president of the Peace History Society and as convener of the Peace History Commission of the International Peace Research Association. He recently completed a term as co-chair of the National Board of Peace Action and currently serves as a member of the executive committee of the Albany County Central Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO). He currently serves on the Board of Peace Action Fund of New York State.

Moderating the discussion will be Blanche Wiesen Cook, a Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s Studies at John Jay College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Professor Cook is the author of numerous books and has edited and contributed to many anthologies. Her definitive three-volume biography of Eleanor RooseveltVol I The Early Years 1884 – 1933Vol II The Defining Years 1933- 1938Vol III The War Years and After 1939 -1962, published by Viking, was called “monumental and inspirational…[a] grand biography” by the New York Times Book Review. Other books include Crystal Eastman: On Women and Revolution (Oxford University Press) and The Declassified Eisenhower (Doubleday). She is a longtime peace activist and was a co-founder and officer of the Conference on Peace Research in History (CPRH) and a senior editor of the Garland Library on War and Peace, a 328-volume reprint collection (1971). She currently serves on the Board of Peace Action Fund of New York State.

Two new popular films — Oppheimer and Einstein and the Bomb — have brought nuclear weapons and the scientists who developed them to the forefront of the public consciousness in recent months. However, these films have stopped short of exploring the public warnings by Oppenheimer and Einstein about the grave dangers to human survival in the nuclear age and about their efforts to create a nuclear weapons-free world. Furthermore, it’s important to give appropriate credit to the vast public nuclear disarmament campaign that, in the years after 1945, succeeded in curbing the nuclear arms race and preventing nuclear war. Faced today with a revival of the nuclear arms race and new threats of nuclear annihilation, it’s time to examine the struggles of the past and consider what might be done to end the nuclear menace in the future.