02.153TS A History of Nuclear Strategy, Design, Technology and Society

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Since 1945, the world has been living under the shadow of the atomic bomb. Although atomic fission was discovered in 1938, and several nations had undertaken efforts to produce an atomic bomb during World War II, it was only with the destruction of Hiroshima that nuclear weapons burst, fully formed, onto the world stage. Introduced in combat at a time when the world system was being reshaped, nuclear weapons and nuclear power have occupied a privileged place in modern history and culture. This elective explores episodes in nuclear world history, including the international development of nuclear weapons, the arms race, fallout, and nuclear culture.

Learning Objectives

1. Identify and describe key historical events and trends that have shaped Modern Nuclear history.
2. Evaluate different agencies that shape and mold events and the implications of their actions;
3. Synthesize competing explanations in secondary literature;
4. Use appropriate evidences to support an historical argument.

Course Requirement

Assessment Percentage
WEC – Class participation 10
WEC – Oral Presentation 20
WEC – Mid-term Essay 35
WEC – Final Essay 35

Course Map

Week 1: Hiroshima: Looking Forward \ Backward

Week 2: The Hell Bomb

Week 3: Nukespeak, Nukethink, and Nukeworld

Week 3 (Optional): Strategic thinking

Week 4: Atomic-Powered Communism

Week 5: China and the Bomb – Soviet aid, Chinese Design

Week 6: Fallout, Testing and Treaties

Week 8: The Genie Comes Out – Israel, India, Pakistan

Week 9: North Korea & Iran

Week 10: Taiwanese Ambition -Defection and fallout

Week 11: Doctors Frankenstein? (To AI and beyond)

Week 12: Extraordinary nuclear risks: reactor accidents Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima

Week 13: Anti‐nuclear movement

Week 14: Considering nuclear power in Singapore

Pang Yang Huei