Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in western Europe over the 1970s. Observers feared Germany was becoming “ungovernable” and France was...

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in western Europe over the 1970s. Observers feared Germany was becoming “ungovernable” and France was moving toward “civil war.” The source of this discontent? Nuclear power. Not weapons. Electricity.

How did anti-nuclear protest become a debate about the future of society? What united farmers, housewives, hippies, and anarchists against the state? Find out in our conversation with Andrew S. Tompkins about his new book Better Active than Radioactive! Anti-Nuclear Protest in 1970s France and West Germany (Oxford University Press, 2016). By weaving government documents and police records with activist newspapers and oral history interviews, Andrew explains how a transnational network of activists emerged around the issue of nuclear power despite social divides and diverse interests inside the movement.

Andrew S. Tompkins is a historian specializing in modern Europe. He is a lecturer at University of Sheffield, a former Humbolt Fellow, and current research associate of the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin.


Ryan Stackhouse is a historian of Europe who specializes in modern Germany and political policing under dictatorship. His research exploring Gestapo enforcement practices toward different social groups is nearing completion under the working title Policing Hitler’s Critics. He also cohosts the Third Reich History Podcast and can be reached at john.ryan.s[email protected] or @Staxomatix.

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