Oceanographers and the Cold War
Disciples of Marine Science
- PUBLISHED: September 2022
- SUBJECT LISTING: Science and Technology Studies, Environmental Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 368 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 10 illus.
- ISBN: 9780295751276
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Oceanographers and the Cold War is about patronage, politics, and the community of scientists. It is the first book to examine the study of the oceans during the Cold War era and explore the international focus of American oceanographers, taking into account the roles of the US Navy, US foreign policy, and scientists throughout the world. Jacob Darwin Hamblin demonstrates that to understand the history of American oceanography, one must consider its role in both conflict and cooperation with other nations.
Paradoxically, American oceanography after World War II was enmeshed in the military-industrial complex while characterized by close international cooperation. The military dimension of marine science--with its involvement in submarine acoustics, fleet operations, and sea-launched nuclear missiles--coexisted with data exchange programs with the Soviet Union and global operations in seas without borders.
From an uneasy cooperation with the Soviet bloc in the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, to the NATO Science Committee in the late 1960s, which excluded the Soviet Union, to the US Marine Sciences Council, which served as an important national link between scientists and the government, Oceanographers and the Cold War reveals the military and foreign policy goals served by US government involvement in cooperative activities between scientists, such as joint cruises and expeditions. It demonstrates as well the extent to which oceanographers used international cooperation as a vehicle to pursue patronage from military, government, and commercial sponsors during the Cold War, as they sought support for their work by creating "disciples of marine science" wherever they could.
Authors & Contributors
Jacob Darwin Hamblin is professor of history at Oregon State University. He is the author of several books, including The Wretched Atom: America's Global Gamble with Peaceful Nuclear Technology and Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age.
List of Abbreviations
1. Beginnings of Postwar Marine Science and Cooperation
2. Oceanography's Greatest Patron
3. The International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958
4. The New Face of International Oceanography
5. Competition and Cooperation in the 1960s
6. Oceanography, East and West
7. Marine Science and Marine Affairs
Oceanographers and the Cold War is of tremendous value, as it challenges readers, and other historians, to take into account not just the national background of various marine scientific enterprises, but international issues and the overarching political themes of an era, which affect how science is done.- History of Philosophical and Life Sciences
[This] book is the first to provide a deeply researched, historically sound, insightful and provocative view of how military goals, scientific motivations and global political forces interacted in the growth of oceanography between the end of World War II and the 1970s.- The Journal of Military History
Jacob Hamblin’s study is a bombshell that shows the great extent to which U.S. military and diplomatic interests molded the attitudes and actions of American scientists.- Lawrence Badash, author of Scientists and the Development of Nuclear Weapons
In clear, frequently entertaining, prose, Jacob Hamblin expertly demonstrates how oceanographers maneuvered through the political minefields of the Cold War while working to define and develop their field.- Kurkpatrick Dorsey, author of The Dawn of Conservation Diplomacy
Hamblin covers a wider perspective than just that of the U.S., clarifying the importance, and distinctive perspective, of small, maritime-oriented nations such as Britain and Norway, and explaining distinctions between their interests, those of the superpowers, and those of developing nations.- Helen M. Rozwadowski, author of The Sea Knows No Boundaries
Hamblin has written about the decades just after WWII when American oceanography blossomed and new marine science institutions emerged. Read this to see how much our work today has been influenced by these events of the not-so-distant past.- Warren S. Wooster, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington School of Marine Affairs