The Utility of Nuclear Weapons – No more than a Myth?

Gärtner, Themen

Veranstaltung, Summary 26.05.2014

Panel Discussion


In spite of the fact that a single nuclear weapon could cause unimaginable harm to society and nature and an all-out nuclear war would turn the earth into hell, weapons of mass destruction are still viewed by many as valuable multi-purpose instruments of great utility. Thus, a number of countries continue to cling to their arsenals, willing to bear all associated risks as well as the costs imposed on their economies, while others allegedly or factually work to acquire similar capabilities. In both cases, a strong belief in the utility of these weapons seems to be the driving force. As a consequence, a change in nuclear policies seems to be unlikely, if not impossible, as long as these beliefs persist and go unchallenged. This is exactly what Ward Wilson offers in his book titled “Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons” in which he questions and challenges conventional wisdom about the utility of nuclear weapons. During a panel discussion held at the Austrian Institute for Foreign Affairs, he presented his arguments and discussed them with the other panellists, Prof. Heinz Gärtner and Dr. Nikolai Sokov, as well as with the present audience.

For the complete summary of the panel discussion please click here.

Panel Speakers:

Ward Wilson
Senior Fellow and Director of the Rethinking Nuclear Weapons Project at the British American Security Information Council (BASIC)

Heinz Gärtner
Academic Director, oiip; Senior Scientist, University of Vienna

Nikolai Sokov
Senior Fellow, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP)

Hakan Akbulut
Research Fellow, oiip

Date & Time:
Monday, 26 May 2014
18:30 - 20:00

Austrian Institute for International Affairs – oiip
Berggasse 7, 1090 Vienna, 1st Floor


Event held within oiip’s research area of Global Security Governance.