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Euromissiles: The Nuclear Weapons that Nearly Destroyed NATO

Date & Time

Jan. 30, 2023
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET


Online Only


In Euromissiles, Susan Colbourn follows the rise and fall of an arms race in Cold War Europe, that over the theater-range nuclear forces or intermediate-range nuclear forces so often known simply as the Euromissiles. At the center of the story Colbourn tells is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance regularly divided and in disarray over the missiles. Colbourn illustrates the diverse and far-reaching consequences of the Euromissiles, touching on everything from nuclear strategy and international politics to grassroots activism and popular culture. In so doing, Colbourn offers a reminder of just how fragile NATO remained even in the final days of the Cold War.

Susan Colbourn is Associate Director of the Program in American Grand Strategy at Duke University. A diplomatic and international historian, she received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Toronto and has held fellowships at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Yale University’s International Security Studies program. She is the author of Euromissiles: The Nuclear Weapons That Nearly Destroyed NATO (2022) and is the editor, along with Timothy Andrews Sayle, of The Nuclear North: Histories of Canada in the Atomic Age (2020).

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partner (the George Washington University History Department) for their continued support.


Giordana Pulcini

Giordana Pulcini

Global Fellow;
Roma Tre University 
Aaron Bateman

Aaron Bateman

Assistant Professor of History and International Affairs, George Washington University

Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War. Through an award winning Digital Archive, the Project allows scholars, journalists, students, and the interested public to reassess the Cold War and its many contemporary legacies. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

Nuclear Proliferation International History Project

The Nuclear Proliferation International History Project is a global network of individuals and institutions engaged in the study of international nuclear history through archival documents, oral history interviews, and other empirical sources. At the Wilson Center, it is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program addresses vital issues affecting the European continent, U.S.-European relations, and Europe’s ties with the rest of the world. We investigate European approaches to critical global issues: digital transformation, climate, migration, global governance. We also examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our program activities cover a wide range of topics, from the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE to European energy security, trade disputes, challenges to democracy, and counter-terrorism. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more

Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange.  Read more

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