Following World War II, the publication of accounts such as John Hersey’s Hiroshima (1946) documented the devastating effects of atomic weaponry on inhabitants of the two Japanese cities targeted by atomic bombs. Yet the American government presented a positive image of the atom, particularly in medicine. This chapter examines this apparent paradox. In the late 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) sought to harness atomic energy for humanitarian uses, including advancing cancer research, therapy, and diagnosis. Yet the growing concern about the hazards of low-level radiation exposure, particularly from atomic weapons fallout, changed the public perception of radioactivity. The fear of cancer, which in the 1940s could be exploited by the AEC to justify its status as a civilian agency bringing medical benefits to the citizenry, was by the 1960s a threat to viability of the agency’s other long-term benefit prospect, nuclear energy.
Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.