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Summary 2000(1)


Italian public opinion and the atom in the 1950s (Massimo De Giuseppe)

This article examines how the Italian public opinion confronted, throughout the I950s, the problem of nuclear energy. The author describes how the International military race aimed at building nuclear arsenals, and several dramatic events linked to scientific experimentation fostered in Italy a slowly but steadily growing consciousness of the problems posed by the atom. He considers how Italian scientists, following the lead of movements born abroad, participated in the debate about the use of nuclear energy, both peaceful and military. He also analyses how this debate was received into Italian political institutions, and interacted with wider argument about Italy's position in the world and its rote in International organisations. Different and changing opinions on the prospects of a nuclear war which grew within the catholic world, both in the Church, in the Christian Democratic Party and in the religious consciousness at large, are also taken into account. Throughout the article, the author describes how difficult it was in Italy in the l950s far the debate on nuclear energy to transcend the limits of party warfare, and charts the slow and painful growth of an independent, non-political pacifist movement.

Sito internet dell’Associazione a cura di Salvatore Botta

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