The Nuclear Club

All maps lie to varying degrees. “The Nuclear Club” by Michael Kidron and Ronald Segal pushes these limits. Issued in The State of the World Atlas in 1981, “The Nucelar Club” absolutely evokes certain interests and opinion. With tensions of the Cold War looming at the time, Kidron and Segal clearly intended to scare their audience as a warning against the rise of the nuclear age. Based on characteristics such as ambiguity and convolution, the map is considered an ideal example of radical geography. Radical geography attempts to represent political messages and is easily used to protest Government policies. Dr. Timothy Barney describes this type of mapping as “not your second grade social studies maps,” because of the lack of geographic accuracy with the direct insertion of a political message.
“The Nuclear Club,” was printed shortly after the elections of neo-liberals around the world including Ronald Reagan and Margret Thatcher. These leaders worked to increase military spending to combat and subsequently amplify tensions with the Communist world. Both authors were peace activists and vehemently against rearmament. Michael Kidron was a leader of the International Socialist in the U.K. and was a founder of the Permanent Arms Theory. Ronald Segal was a leading anti-apartheid activist and socialist who was exiled from South Africa. They created this map to express their disagreement over the rise of global armament and shock others into thinking the same. In The State of the World Atlas, they use radical cartography in other maps as well to project their own interests or opinions.

Pete and Brenden

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