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Preventing A Virological Hiroshima Cold War Press Coverage of Biological Weapons Disarmament.pdf (480.91 kB)

Preventing “a virological Hiroshima”: Cold War press coverage of biological weapons disarmament

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 01:59 authored by Brian Balmer, Alex Spelling, Caitriona McLeish
This article examines representations of biological weapons during a crucial period in the recent history of this form of warfare. The study draws on a corpus of newspaper articles from the US New York Times and the UK Times and Guardian written around the time of the negotiation period of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, the international treaty banning this form of warfare. We argue that a conventional discourse can be found wherein biological weapons are portrayed as morally offensive, yet highly effective and militarily attractive. Interwoven with this discourse, however, is a secondary register which depicts biological weapons as ineffective, unpredictable and of questionable value for the military. We finish with a somewhat more speculative consideration of the significance of these discourses by asking what might have been at stake when journalists and other writers deployed such differing representations of biological warfare.

Funding

Understanding Biological Disarmament: The Historical Context of the Origins of the Biological Weapon; G1301; AHRC-ARTS & HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL; AH/K003496/1

History

Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version

Journal

Journal of War and Culture Studies

ISSN

1752-6280

Publisher

Routledge

Issue

1

Volume

9

Page range

74-90

Department affiliated with

  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date

2016-06-30

First Open Access (FOA) Date

2016-06-30

First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date

2016-06-30

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