The get-to-know: Claudia Kemper

Claudia Kemper is historian and researcher at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. She is Deputy Spokeswoman of the German Association for Historical Peace- and Conflict Studies and member of the Berlin Center for Cold War Studies’ working group. Her second book is about the NGO “International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War” during the 1980s. Her research mainly focuses on Contemporary European and Transatlantic History especially issues of peace and conflict and the history of experts, social movements and organizations.

Selected articles of interest with regards to workshop theme:

”The Nuclear Arms Race is Psychological at its Roots“. Physicians and their therapies for the Cold War, in: Matthew Grant/Benjamin Ziemann (Ed.), Understanding the imaginary war: Culture, thought and nuclear conflict, 1945-90, Manchester 2016. (

Book description:
This collection offers a fresh interpretation of the Cold War as an imaginary war, a conflict that had imaginations of nuclear devastation as one of its main battlegrounds. The book includes survey chapters and case studies on Western Europe, the USSR, Japan and the USA. Looking at various strands of intellectual debate and at different media, from documentary film to fiction, the chapters demonstrate the difficulties to make the unthinkable and unimaginable – nuclear apocalypse – imaginable. The book will be required reading for everyone who wants to understand the cultural dynamics of the Cold War through the angle of its core ingredient, nuclear weapons.

”Nuclear Attack and Civil Defense: Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario in Politics and Science”, in: The Nuclear Crisis: Arms Race, Atomic Anxiety, and the German Peace Movement of the 1980s, ed. by Christoph Becker-Schaum, Philipp Gassert, Martin Klimke, Wilfried Mausbach, Marianne Zepp, New York/Oxford 2016. (

Book description:
In 1983, more than one million Germans joined together to protest NATO’s deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe. International media overflowed with images of marches, rallies, and human chains as protesters blockaded depots and agitated for disarmament. Though they failed to halt the deployment, the episode was a decisive one for German society, revealing deep divisions in the nation’s political culture while continuing to mobilize activists. This volume provides a comprehensive reference work on the “Euromissiles” crisis as experienced by its various protagonists, analyzing NATO’s diplomatic and military maneuvering and tracing the political, cultural, and moral discourses that surrounded the missiles’ deployment in East and West Germany.