The Reasons for the Scare

  • Philip A. G. Sabin


It is very difficult to objectively assess what has prompted the recent upsurge of anxiety about World War Three, for two principal reasons. In the first place, there has been such a wide variety of disturbing strategic developments over the past decade that it is hard to say which of them has played the greatest part in sparking the revival of alarm. In stark contrast to the ‘age of peace’ in the 1970s, when ‘doomwatchers’ from both sides of the political spectrum faced an uphill struggle in trying to convince people that all was not as tranquil as it seemed, the 1980s have witnessed so many frightening events that the burden of proof in debates about the risk of war has come to rest almost as heavily upon those who are not seriously alarmed.


Nuclear Weapon Defence Expert Poll Respondent Defence Establishment Nuclear Issue 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    See, for example, Joyce (1980) and V. Bukovsky, ‘Better red than dead is not good enough’, The Times, 4 December 1981.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    G. Smith, ‘Defence: Mr Foot’s double-think’, The Times, 24 April 1981.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    See, for example, Hackett (1978) and P. Rogers, ‘The Slide to War’, Sanity, December/January 1981/82.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    D. Watt, ‘The Historiography of Appeasement’, in Sked (1976) pp. 110–11.Google Scholar
  5. 18.
    See, for instance, J. Dimbleby, ‘Europe’s destiny — too precious to entrust any longer to Washington?’, The Listener, 1 October 1981.Google Scholar
  6. 41.
    See, for example, A. Barnett, ‘Surviving between the Superpowers’, New Statesman, 12 February 1982.Google Scholar
  7. 51.
    L. Freedman, ‘Shadow of the Superpowers’, in Bidwell (1978) p. 24.Google Scholar
  8. 64.
    I. Smart, ‘European Nuclear Options’, in Myers (1980) pp. 115–16.Google Scholar
  9. 99.
    See, for example, R. Thompson (1981) and ‘Old wars still leave you dead’, The Sunday Times, 21 March 1982.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip A. G. Sabin 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip A. G. Sabin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.King’s CollegeLondonUK
  2. 2.International Institute for StrategicLondonUK

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