The Euromissiles and the media 1979-1983

Many of the dramatic events in 1989 and following years were outcomes of events a decade earlier, when the battle of the NATO dual-track decision took place in many West European countries. There are two contrasting conclusions of the events one arguing that the dual-track decision of December 1979 lead to a new dangerous situation for Europe. The contrasting view is that the deployment of the missiles shifted the momentum to the west and subsequently to the defeat of Soviet policy. Similarly, the judgements of the situation at the time were diametrically opposite of one another: The NATO idea was to connect Western Europe closer to the US and so cancel any Sovjet ideas that a war could be limited to Europe. Such missiles would shift the ability from massive nuclear deterrence to ‘flexible response’ and deter Soviet from any aggression against Europe. The oppositional side argued that such a deployment, as a consequence of US pressure, would limit the ‘theatre’ of war to the European continent and Soviet Union. Such a stationing of American ‘first strike’ nuclear power in Europe would destroy any attempt of negotiations. How did the US react, opponents asked rhetorically, when the Soviet Union wished to deploy missiles at Cuba? The two sides thus located Europe into two very different military scenarios. The project considers as a fact that the major Labour parties in Western Europe did a complete turn in this important question. The Euromissile controversy 1979-1983 was a severe political challenge for the labour parties in Western Europe. Most of them developed a divide on the question of actual deployment if the negotiation were disrupted or failed. The Euromissile conflict was also a conflict where the press, the intellectuals and political leaders needed to make their position manifest and public. And as we know, the dual-track decision of 1979 quickly generated a Europe-wide anti nuclear movement that operated both democratically to influence the opinion, and strategically, to influence the Labour parties directly. One might say that this was the “dual-track” strategy that was carried out by the peace movement in Norway with success. This project examines the changing relationship between the press, the peace movement and the Norwegian labour party in a European context. The first project is published as:

Politics, Press and the Euro-missiles. The Take-off of the Euro-missile Conflict in Norway. in H.G. Bastiansen and R. Werenskjold (eds.) The Take-off of the Euro-missile Conflict in Norway. The Nordic Media and the Cold War. Nordicom 2015 s. 255-270