Revisiting Hiroshima in Iran: Real American Attitudes about Nuclear Weapons and Non-Combatant Immunity

Scott D. Sagan
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Blavatnik School of Government
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
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Lecture Theatre 1

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Lectures and seminars
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Numerous polls demonstrate that U.S. public approval of President Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has declined significantly since 1945, with less that 50% support now compared to 85% support in 1945. Many scholars and political figures have suggested that this is evidence of the emergence of a “nuclear taboo” and a “non-combatant immunity norm.” New survey experiments, however, demonstrate that a majority of Americans would approve of nuclear weapons attacks against Iran to avoid U.S. military casualties in the future, suggesting that a “nuclear taboo” has not taken hold among the U.S. public and that support for non-combatant immunity is shallow.

Join Scott D. Sagan of Stanford University as he discusses these issues, and the findings of a three-year project - undertaken by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences - titled New Dilemmas in Ethics, Technology and War.

This talk is free and open to all.