Thom Yorke’s supergroup, Atoms for Peace, are releasing their first album on February 25th. Here’s a bit of information about the history behind the name.
In December 1953, then-President of the United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower, gave a speech of the same title: Atoms for Peace. The speech, what it represented, and the following program was a key indicator of Eisenhower’s personal belief in the effectiveness of psychological warfare as an integral tactic in the Cold War. It was catalysed by a change in propaganda tactics of the USSR following the death of Josef Stalin in March 1953. Whilst the Eisenhower administration had already been talking keenly of the need to step up the scale and seriousness of America’s propaganda offensive as part of the wider Cold War, the USSR’s actions after Stalin’s death prompted the implementation of these ideas. Overtures of peace from Georgy Malenkov on the part of the Soviet Union raised concerns in the USA that the Soviet image would be softened by this “peace offensive”. As America sought to prevail without resorting the full-blown nuclear warfare, and thus to coerce the peoples of the world to conform to the way of life they were propagating, peace-based rhetoric from the Soviet Union threatened the removal of the very demonic enemy they had set themselves up in opposition against. Thus began Eisenhower’s campaign of psychological warfare. Continue reading Atoms for Peace