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Honest Brokers: Pugwash in Cold War Austria

Silke Fengler

Austria was a peripheral country in terms of nuclear politics, yet it was situated at the heart of Cold War confrontation in Europe. Becoming a neutral state in 1955, the country’s nuclear armament was out of the question. Nevertheless, several Austrian scientists organised and took part in international Pugwash conferences early on. As consultants to the government, they played a considerable part in national Austrian politics. At the same time, they acted as active multipliers of Pugwash ideas in public.

The project focuses on Austrian scientists’ Pughwash-related activities in the 1950s and early 1960s. It begins by examining Austria’s status as a platform for the international scientific-political dialogue during the early Cold War. It then investigates into the relationship between Pugwash and domestic Austrian politics: Did their international cross-linking qualify Austrian Pugwashites as political consultants at home? And how did they introduce domestic positions on the international Pugwash agenda? It finally addresses the relationship between science, politics and the Austrian public: Did Austrian Pugwashites manage to take their claims from the elitist circle of (nuclear) physics into the public, making it into a movement with mass impact?



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