Peter Kuznick

Associate Professor
Department of History

  • The author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America and coeditor of Rethinking Cold War Culture, Professor Kuznick is currently writing a book about scientists’ opposition to the Vietnam War. As director of American University’s award winning Nuclear Studies Institute, he takes students on an annual study abroad trip to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He spearheaded the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy in response to the Smithsonian’s Enola Gay exhibit and co-founded the Nuclear Education Project. He writes often and lectures frequently about nuclear issues in general and the atomic bombings in particular. He has recently completed a historically based Hollywood screenplay and teaches the path-breaking course Oliver Stone’s America. He regularly provides commentary to the media on a broad range of subject and was selected Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, 2004-2007.
  • Degrees

    PhD, Rutgers University
    MA, Rutgers University
    BA, Rutgers University

  • CAS - History
  • Battelle Tompkins - 145
  • Monday 4:00 pm-8:00 pm & by appointment

  • (202) 885-2408 (Office)
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  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


  • Spring 2014

    • HNRS-300 Honors Collqm in Arts & Hum: Untold History of the U.S.
    • Description
  • Summer 2014

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

See CV for full list of Peter Kuznick's Scholarly, Creative, and Professional Activities.

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: History of U.S. culture, twentieth-century America, American radicalism, and American sexuality; scientists and politics in twentieth-century America; atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; scientists and the Vietnam War; Oliver Stone; film and history; Cold War; history of the American Empire

Additional Information: Peter Kuznick is an expert on twentieth-century American history. He can comment on Japanese and American nuclear culture, the history of American sexuality, U.S. cultural history, the 1930s, the 1960s, Vietnam, Cold War and nuclear history, and American radicalism. Kuznick is director of AU’s Nuclear Studies Institute, which was honored in 1996 by the North American Association of Summer Sessions as the most creative and innovative program in North America. A proponent of nuclear disarmament, Kuznick is a critic of the U.S. decision to use atomic bombs in World War II, speaking frequently on the topic. He co-founded the Nuclear Education Project along with Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and professors Mark Selden (Cornell University) and John Dower (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In 2003, Kuznick organized a group of scholars, writers, artists, clergy, and activists to protest the Smithsonian's decision to display the Enola Gay in a celebratory fashion without placing the atomic bombings in historical context or mentioning the number of people killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1995, the institute and the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki coordinated a major exhibit at American University on the atomic bombings. Kuznick was an active participant in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. He also is an expert on film and history and teaches a popular course that uses Oliver Stone’s films to examine recent American history. Kuznick coedited Rethinking Cold War Culture (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001) and authored numerous articles on nuclear history, including "The Decision to Risk the Future: Harry Truman and the Doomsday Narrative," “Defending the Indefensible: A Meditation on the Life of Hiroshima Pilot Paul Tibbets,” “Prophets of Doom or Voices of Sanity? The Evolving Discourse of Annihilation in the First Decade and a Half of the Nuclear Age,” and, most recently, “Japan's Nuclear History in Perspective: Eisenhower and Atoms for War and Peace” in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The Untold History of the United States, a 10-part documentary film series he coauthored with Oliver Stone, will be airing on Showtime in 2012. Kuznick and Stone's coauthored book, The Untold History of the United States, will be published by Simon and Schuster in 2012. Kuznick and Stone recently coauthored an article in the New Statesman titled “Don’t Betray Us Barack—End the Empire.” In 2011, Kuznick coauthored a book with Japanese historian Akira Kimura titled Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaaki: Japanese and American Perspectives. He is also the author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists (University of Chicago Press, 1987). Kuznick has commented for numerous media outlets, including the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune and CBS’s Sunday Morning, Entertainment Tonight, C-SPAN, Fox News Channel, CNN, Radio Free Europe, Agence France Press, Reuters, Voice of America, History News Network, Al Jazeera, Fars News, and El Mercurio, as well as numerous Japanese newspapers, magazines, and television stations. 

Media Relations
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