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Lawrence Wittner
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Lawrence Wittner received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 1967, and has taught since then at Hampton Institute, at Vassar College, at Japanese universities (under the Fulbright program), and at the State University of New York/Albany, where he is currently Professor of History emeritus. A former president of the Council on Peace Research in History (now the Peace History Society), he has written extensively on the history of peace movements and on the history of United States foreign policy. He has received major fellowships or grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the United States Institute of Peace.

His books include Rebels Against War (1969, rev. ed. 1984), Cold War America (1974, rev. ed. 1978), and American Intervention in Greece (1982). His most extensive project was a scholarly trilogy entitled The Struggle Against the Bomb (1993-2003). In 2009, he came out with an abbreviated version: Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, published by Stanford University Press. His autobiography recently appeared as Working for Peace and Justice: Memoirs of an Activist Intellectual (2012). He has also edited or co-edited four other books, served as co-editor of the scholarly journal Peace & Change, and written more than 250 published articles and book reviews.

Entries by Lawrence Wittner

The Superpowers Are Violent Powers

(1) Comments | Posted July 22, 2016 | 9:05 AM

If asked to identify the world's superpowers today, most people would name the United States, Russia and China. Although many citizens of these countries maintain that this status is based on the superiority of their national way of life, the reality is that it rests upon their nations' enormous capacity...

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Are We In For Another Increase In Military Spending?

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2016 | 1:05 PM

At the present time, an increase in U.S. military spending seems as superfluous as a third leg. The United States, armed with the latest in advanced weaponry, has more military might than any other nation in world history. Moreover, it has begun a $1 trillion program to refurbish...

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The Return of Democratic Socialism

(105) Comments | Posted May 24, 2016 | 3:59 PM

Democratic socialism used to be a vibrant force in American life. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Socialist Party of America, headed by the charismatic union leader, Eugene V. Debs, grew rapidly, much like its sister parties in Europe and elsewhere: the British Labour...

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Getting the Story Wrong: The Distortion of American Politics by the Press

(5) Comments | Posted May 6, 2016 | 3:22 PM

Ever since the founding of the American Republic, there has been both praise for and suspicion of the role the press plays in U.S. political life. Thomas Jefferson famously remarked that, if it were left to him "to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or...

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The Trillion Dollar Question

(1) Comments | Posted March 17, 2016 | 12:13 PM

Isn't it rather odd that America's largest single public expenditure scheduled for the coming decades has received no attention in the 2015-2016 presidential debates?

The expenditure is for a thirty-year program to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal and production facilities. Although President Obama began his administration with a

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My Short and Happy Life as a Baseball Fanatic

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 12:13 PM

As a child, I was a baseball fanatic.

This fanaticism did not reflect any athletic ability on my part. Far from it! Growing up, like Bernie Sanders, in a lower middle class area of Brooklyn during the 1940s, I was often pressed into joining baseball games with the other boys...

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Bernie Sanders: The 2016 Peace Candidate

(4) Comments | Posted February 12, 2016 | 3:59 PM

On February 10, 2016, Peace Action--the largest peace organization in the United States--announced its endorsement of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination for President.

Peace Action is the descendant of two other mass U.S. peace organizations: the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy...

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'Modernizing' the Opportunities for Nuclear War

(17) Comments | Posted January 18, 2016 | 10:30 AM

A fight now underway over newly-designed U.S. nuclear weapons highlights how far the Obama administration has strayed from its commitment to build a nuclear-free world.

The fight, as a recent New York Times article indicates, concerns a variety of nuclear weapons that the U.S. military is currently in...

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American Casualties of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Program

(17) Comments | Posted January 3, 2016 | 8:21 PM

When Americans think about nuclear weapons, they comfort themselves with the thought that the vast, nuclear destruction of human life has not taken place since 1945 -- at least not yet. But, in reality, nuclear weapon-related destruction has taken place, with shocking levels of U.S. casualties.

This point is borne...

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Has the Time Come for Democratization of the Economy?

(5) Comments | Posted December 20, 2015 | 1:04 PM

A study released at the beginning of December by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) reported that America's 20 wealthiest individuals own more wealth than roughly half the American population combined--152 million people. The startling level of economic inequality in the United States is also highlighted by Forbes,...

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Almost a Century Ago, Another Democratic Socialist Ran for President of the United States -- From His Prison Cell

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 3:25 PM

In the early twentieth century, roughly a century before Bernie Sanders's long-shot run for the White House, another prominent democratic socialist, Eugene V. Debs, waged his own campaigns for the presidency.

Debs began his political career as a labor leader. Growing up in Terre Haute, Indiana, he dropped...

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Democratic Socialism Has Deep Roots in American Life

(27) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 11:37 AM

The shock and disbelief with which many political pundits have responded to Bernie Sanders' description of himself as a "democratic socialist"--a supporter of democratic control of the economy--provide a clear indication of how little they know about the popularity and influence of democratic socialism over the course of American history.

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Why Tuition-Free College Makes Sense

(5) Comments | Posted October 28, 2015 | 5:10 PM

The issue of making college tuition free has recently come to the fore in American politics, largely because the two leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have each championed it.

Sanders has called for free undergraduate tuition at public colleges and...

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After the Iran Nuclear Agreement: Will the Nuclear Powers Also Play by the Rules?

(0) Comments | Posted September 21, 2015 | 1:51 PM

When all is said and done, what the recently-approved Iran nuclear agreement is all about is ensuring that Iran honors its commitment under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) not to develop nuclear weapons.

But the NPT--which was ratified in 1968 and which went into force in 1970--has two...

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Militarism Run Amok: Russians and Americans Get Their Kids Ready for War

(27) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 9:32 AM

In 1915, a mother's protest against funneling children into war provided the theme of a new American song, "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier." Although the ballad attained great popularity, not everyone liked it. Theodore Roosevelt, a leading militarist of the era, retorted that the...

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Are Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament Agreements of Any Value?

(5) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 3:45 PM

The recent announcement of a nuclear deal between the governments of Iran and other major nations, including the United States, naturally draws our attention to the history of international nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements. What accounts for their advent on the world scene and what have they...

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What Do Americans Think About Economic Inequality?

(33) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 1:52 PM

Are Americans disturbed about growing economic inequality in the United States?

Numerous opinion surveys in recent years indicate that substantial majorities of Americans not only recognize that the gap between the wealthy and everyone else has grown, but favor greater economic equality. A Gallup poll conducted...

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Guns and the Godly

(37) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 12:13 PM

Where do American Christians stand on guns and gun-related violence?

Christianity is a religion that professes love and peace. Admittedly, the Christian Bible's frequent depiction of Christ ("The Prince of Peace") as rejecting violence seems contradicted by his remark that he had come not to bring peace, but a...

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Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

(295) Comments | Posted June 7, 2015 | 9:58 PM

The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the idea of democratic...

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Corporate Welfare Fails to Deliver the Jobs: The Sad Case of Start-Up NY

(1) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 4:42 PM

For several decades, state and local governments have been showering private businesses with tax breaks and direct subsidies based on the theory that this practice fosters economic development and, therefore, job growth. But does it? New York State's experience indicates that, when it comes to producing jobs, corporate welfare programs...

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