After Hiroshima
Günther Anders and the history of anti-nuclear critique
in Understanding the imaginary war
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Despite the lack of attention, he has received until recently in the Anglophone academic world, the German-Jewish technology critic and anti-nuclear militant Günther Anders (1902-1992) is a crucial figure for the history of modern apocalypticism. Between 1955 and 1985, Anders tirelessly wrote, lectured and marched for the cause of nuclear abolition. Drawing on his magnum opus, The Obsolescence of Human Beings and related works, this essay focuses on Anders’ role as a theorist in the Ban-the-Bomb movement, specifically his remarkable efforts to define the Atomic Age as a distinct, final epoch of human history and to imagine a history-ending nuclear war between the superpowers. The piece concludes with some thoughts about where to locate Anders in the history of attempts to imagine the “imaginary war.”

Understanding the imaginary war

Culture, thought and nuclear conflict, 1945–90

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