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Dreams for a Decade: International Nuclear Abolitionism and the End of the Cold War

November 20, 2023

The 1980s was a unique decade during which the radical goal of nuclear abolition enjoyed support from both grassroots movements across the globe and the leaders of the two superpowers, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. In Dreams for a Decade, Stephanie L. Freeman draws on newly declassified material to reveal the significant yet unappreciated role that nuclear abolitionism played in ending the Cold War. Together, grassroots and government nuclear abolitionists reshaped U.S. and Soviet approaches to nuclear arms control and Europe in a way that brought the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion.

Stephanie L. Freeman is a Historian in the Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State. She earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia and previously spent four years as Assistant Professor of History at Mississippi State University. She is the author of Dreams for a Decade: International Nuclear Abolitionism and the End of the Cold War (2023). Her work has also appeared in Diplomacy & Statecraft and The Reagan Moment: America and the World in the 1980s (2021).

With comments from Susan Colbourn, Luc-André Brunet, and Svetlana Savranskaya.

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.

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