Protect–Protest: Introducing the Nuclear 1980s

  • Daniel Cordle


The 1980s were characterised by fear of nuclear war and broad social divisions, erupting on both sides of the Atlantic. The introduction defines this late Cold War mindset, showing how it shaped the decade’s literature. Drawing on the terminology of the Protect and Survive civil defence campaign, which was countered by activists arguing people should Protest and Survive, the introduction theorises culture of the period through a protect–protest dynamic. It makes the case for reading the decade’s literature as “nuclear”. Not only are there many 1980s books directly about nuclear war, but the signature of the nuclear Cold War is there too in mainstream literature, from literary fiction to thrillers, graphic novels, family sagas, horror and children’s literature.


Nuclear Weapon Civil Defence Nuclear 1980s Cruise Missile Nuclear Disarmament 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Cordle
    • 1
  1. 1.Nottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUnited Kingdom

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