How We Learned to Love the Bomb (Pacific Standard)

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Daryl Press, an associate professor of government, talks with Pacific Standard magazine about the way Americans currently view the use of nuclear weapons.

Press and his colleagues conducted a study that found most Americans are less opposed to the use of nuclear weapons than one might think. They wrote about their findings in a paper published in the American Political Science Review.

“When people are faced with scenarios they consider high stakes, they end up supporting—or even preferring—actions that initially seem hard to imagine,” Press tells the magazine.

“We think of ourselves as being different people, ethically, than our grandparents and great-grandparents who supported the destruction of Hamburg and Dresden and Tokyo during World War II,” Press says. “But the data suggest that, when push comes to shove and the stakes are high, we—like those who came before us—are willing to countenance and support even devastating military actions.”

Read the full story, published 3/18/13 by Pacific Standard.