The Question of Civil Defense-A Debate
In the hope of contributing to a clarification of the whole question of civil defense by bringing into focus the precise points of disagreement between the two main contending positions, we invited HERMAN KAHN (perhaps the leading advocate of a more intensified civil defense effort) and ERICH FROMM (who has become one of America’s most influential spokesmen for disarmament and whose collaborator in the present debate, MICHAEL MACCOBY, has been a prominent participant in the peace movement) to argue their respective cases for the readers of COMMENTARY. The two articles that follow were written independently, though the authors of course had access to each other’s previously published statements.
HERMAN KAHN’S On Thermonuclear War has, since its appearance in 1960, earned itself a secure place among the most controversial books of our time. Formerly on the staff of the RAND Corporation, Mr. Kahn is now director of the Hudson Institute (a non-profit research organization concerned with problems of national security and international order). His new book, Thinking About the Unthinkable, is scheduled for publication in the spring by Horizon Press. ERICH FROMM, the distinguished psychoanalyst and social critic, has recently been devoting much of his time to the study of the current international crisis (which forms the subject of his latest book, May Man Prevail?). MICHAEL MACCOBY holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard and has taught both at Harvard and Chicago.
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