The (Science Diplomacy) Origins of the Cold War

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

397 Downloads (Pure)


The US monopoly of information regarding nuclear weapons was one of the distinctive features of the early Cold War. It encouraged US officials to bolster their country’s hegemonic role in post-war affairs; something that scholars have previously referred to in terms of “atomic diplomacy”. This paper shows that Cold War atomic diplomacy originated in an ancestral form of what we call today “science diplomacy”, distinctive of wartime allied relations during WW2. It first explores how science became distinctive features of wartime diplomacy by looking at agreements regarding exchanges of information and collaboration that shaped the relations between wartime allies (US, UK and the Soviet Union). It then shows that their signing (and, at times, their rejection) eventually paved the way to conflicting views within allied administrations on what to share, making their officials less inclined to pool more knowledge towards the end of WW2. In conclusion, US monopolistic stances and atomic diplomacy originated in these disagreements, also marking the demise of wartime science diplomacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-432
Number of pages22
JournalHistorical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2020


  • WW2
  • atomic diplomacy
  • exchange of information
  • monopoly
  • science diplomacy


Dive into the research topics of 'The (Science Diplomacy) Origins of the Cold War'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this