Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Die Physiker [The Physicists]

(1750 words)

Friedrich Dürrenmatt completed his “Komödie in zwei Akten” (comedy in two acts) Die Physiker [The Physicists] in 1961. The global annihilation of humanity was an imminent threat: in the wake of the Korean war, the frantic armaments race and increasing belligerence had brought the superpowers to several confrontations (the U-2 incident, the Berlin crisis, the Cuba showdown, the Berlin wall etc.) and to the brink of nuclear Armageddon. In an age obsessed with the invention of ever more devastating weapons of mass destruction, the question of the scientists’ responsibility towards humanity at large was very much in the fore of public discourse, especially since the United States had used atomic bombs i…

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Knapp, Gerhard P.. "Die Physiker". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 August 2004
[, accessed 28 November 2015.]