AUTHORLefever, Ernest W. / Hunt, E. Stephen, Eds.
TITLEThe Apocalyptic Premise: Nuclear Arms Debated
PUBLISHEREthics and Public Policy Center
CITYWashington, D.C.

This collection of essays from “statesmen, scholars, religious leaders, and journalists” (title page) presents the nuclear debate of the early 1980s. That time period coincided with a build-up of the nuclear and conventional arsenal, a renewed emphasis on the role of nuclear deterrence, and abandonment of the long-standing policy of détente. The book is organized in sections on five topics: arms control issues, including essays arguing either for or against arms control, conventional arms build-up, and a nuclear option for Western Europe; the peace movement, asserting that Western peace movements are primarily a result of Soviet infiltration and are, ultimately, doomed to fail because of their nebulosity; the apocalyptic premise, in which three writers contest Jonathan Schell’s argument that nuclear weapons inevitably lead to the self-extermination of the human race; the churches and nuclear arms, in which the essayists argue the churches' support for nuclear deterrence strategy and just war; and five official views, from President Ronald Reagan, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, the U.S Department of State, Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The book is significantly biased in its selection of essays in favor of nuclear build-up and nuclear deterrence policies and against peace movements in general. Of the thirty-one essays, only nine explicitly support anti-nuclear, pro-peace views, and several of the remaining essays are provided in direct refutation to those views (in particular in the peace movement and apocalyptic premise sections).

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