American Opinion on World Affairs in the Atomic Age

American Opinion on World Affairs in the Atomic Age

American Opinion on World Affairs in the Atomic Age

American Opinion on World Affairs in the Atomic Age

Excerpt

In recognition of the critical importance of more adequate knowledge of the thinking of the American public on matters relating to the development of the atomic bomb and its, effect on attitudes on international relations, the Committee on Social Aspects of Atomic Energy of the Social Science Research Council, under the chairmanship of Winfield Riefler, proposed early in 1946 that a study of public opinion and attitudes in these areas be undertaken. At the request of the above-named committee, a subcommittee composed of Hadley Cantril, Pendleton Herring, Rensis Likert, and Leonard S. Cottrell, Jr., Chairman, accepted responsibility for planning and supervising the proposed study.

Upon recommendation of the subcommittee, Cornell University applied for grants of $23,875 each from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Rockefeller Foundation for the conduct of the study. The chairman of the subcommittee was asked to assume general administrative direction of the project.

In view of the proposed atomic bomb experiment at Bikini, it was agreed that the project should include surveys of opinions and attitudes before and after the Bikini experiment. This plan made it possible to determine not only what the prevailing opinions and attitudes were among various segments of the American public but also the extent of the changes which might occur following the naval experiment. It was recognized, of course, that it would not be possible to attribute causal significance to that experiment alone since other events . . .

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