Five myths about the atomic bomb
Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons by Ward WilsonAn explosive rethinking of the power and purpose of nuclear weapons—and a call for radical action
Nuclear weapons have always been a serious but seemingly insoluble problem: while they’re obviously dangerous, they are also, apparently, necessary. This groundbreaking study shows why five central arguments promoting nuclear weapons are, in essence, myths. It is a myth:
• that nuclear weapons necessarily shock and awe opponents, including Japan at the end of World War II
• that nuclear deterrence is reliable in a crisis
• that destruction wins wars
• that the bomb has kept the peace for sixty-five years
• and that we can’t put the nuclear genie back in the bottle
Drawing on new information and the latest historical research, Wilson poses a fundamental challenge to the myths on which nuclear weapons policy is currently built. Using pragmatic arguments and an unemotional, clear-eyed insistence on the truth, he arrives at a surprising conclusion: nuclear weapons are enormously dangerous, but don’t appear to be terribly useful. In that case, he asks, why would we want to keep them?
This book will be widely read and discussed by everyone who cares about war, peace, foreign policy, and security in the twenty-first century.
Atomic Explosion - The Story of Five Atomic Bombs (1946)
Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons
One of the striking features of our long coexistence with nuclear weapons is how the fear of them has receded. The laughter provoked by the twisted genius of Tom Lehrer was nervous laughter:. When the air becomes uranious, And we will all go simultaneous. Yes we all will go together when we go. The nuclear weapons of fragile Pakistan and inscrutable North Korea preoccupy large sectors of our intelligence community. But for most of us anxiety has given way to a kind of complacency.
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Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons is a fundamental retelling of the story of nuclear weapons. It argues that when you look more closely at the facts it is remarkable how much of the familiar landscape begins to change. By the time the Cold War had ended, those initial reactions had become well worn concepts and hardened beliefs. Myth No. They told us and perhaps more importantly their own people they surrendered because of the Bomb because it made the perfect explanation for having lost the war.
It was exactly 70 years ago that Truman had ordered the dropping of an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, just three days after dropping one on Hiroshima. The event had ever since been shrouded with myth, and history had shown too much kindness for this vicious and inhumane act. There is nothing that could justify what Truman did. A quote from Gen. Dwight D. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.