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The Genocidal Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat Hardcover – 17 Jun 1990

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1st Edition edition (17 Jun 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465026621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465026623
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 15.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 730,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Examines the psychological problems arising from dependence on nuclear weapons.

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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Men Still Use Brute Force to Get Their Ways. 4 Sep 2005
By Betty Burks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mind-sets have histories, and the history of genocidal mentality includes struggles with the 20th century emergence of aviation technology, atomic weaponry, and the bomb. From the American side, that history can be traced in relation to attitudes and policies of the presidential administrations from the time of WWII to the present. The rhetoric and language of nuclear weapons and the men who use them include harshness and bitterness.

Carol Cohn has pointed out the prominence of male sexual imagery in that rhetoric. The stress on "hardness" parallels Nazi practice but has its own additional dimensions. It can include strategists' pride in "hanging tough" in the threatening situations, making "tough decisions" which may entail great human risk. But there is also the idea of the "hardened target," "hard data," and a parallel contempt for "soft data." It can be a mixture of the sexual, technical, and obscurantist, as in "optimizing penetration dynamics." The bomb was named "Little Boy." That imagery reached a kind of apotheosis in William Lawrence's equation of the explosion of a hydrogen bom with "the first cry of a newborn world." While this imagery can reflect male appropriateion of the female birth function, its fundamental significance may well lie in the nuclearistic impulse to associate the bomb with a crative capacity and general revitalization.

"You can get so good at manipulating words that it almsot feels like the whole thing is under control." She wrote, "the longer I stayed, the more conversations I participated in, the less frightened I was of nuclear war." Adopting that language, she found herself increasingly unable to express the humane concersn she originally brought with her. Typical woman in a man's world. "The better I got at engaging in this discourse, the more impossible it became for me to express my own ide3as, my own values." Men are good are dominating most women in all phases of life by using the sexual approach.

We have mentioned the relationship between brutalization and numbing, and the silent brutalization that can be associated with weapons of high technology. Men are good at using the brutalizing tongue-lashing even now. Concerning the atomic trauma, Edward R. Murrow spoke these words: "Seldom if ever has a war ended leaving the victors with such a sense of uncertainty and fear, with such a realization that the future is obsure and that survival is not assured." How true he was. With the weather threats all over the world today, no one is safe.

Concerning the early fear of the power of the first bomb, Ernest Rutherford wrote, "Some fool in a laboratory might blow up the universe unawares." That could have happened right here in Oak Ridge, just a few miles down the road from by hometown; if it had happened in Los Alamos, it would not have been such a great disaster. But to bring that Manhattan Project to a populated area as Knoxville put all of our lives in great harm and danger.
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