History of Nuclear Weapons



According to a Washington Post series of six articles, "Rethinking the Bomb" by Steve Coll and David B. Ottaway (April 9 - 13, 1995), charts show that nuclear weapons are still deployed in frightening numbers:

"U.S., 9,000; Russia, 7,900; France, 525; China, 300-450; Britain, 250-300; undeclared: Israel, 100-200; India, capable of up to 25; Pakistan, up to 15. Former Soviet states, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, are in the process of giving up nuclear weapons."

"The destructive power of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, total stockpile, in Megatons: U.S. peak, 20,491 megatons in 1960: More than 1.36 million times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during WWII."

According to Greenpeace International in 1994, "In the period up to the late 1980's it was obvious that even on limited nuclear disarmament there had been no progress. The nuclear arms race has produced more than 127,000 warheads (per Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, December 1993, 'Nuclear Notebook'), the majority of which were deployed after the signing of the [Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, the] NPT.

"The situation has now radically changed with the conclusion of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in 1987, followed by agreement of the US-Soviet Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I) and the US-Russian Treaty on the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II) in the early 1990's.

"If fully implemented, these agreements will lead to very substantial reductions in the number of U.S. and former Soviet Union nuclear warheads, with total warhead numbers on each side expected to be 5000 by the year 2003. However, the three other NWS party to the NPT - the United Kingdom, France and the Peoples Republic of China - are not covered by START agreements. Rather than reducing their arsenals, they are increasing the number of warheads deployed, as well as enhancing their qualitative capacities. The UK, for example, is planning to more than quadruple the number of warheads within its strategic arsenal and the Trident system will have enhanced capabilities, with greater accuracy and more flexible targeting."

A September/October 1994 Women Strike for Peace Legislative Alert, "CTB and Nuclear Proliferation," informed:

"There are still some 50,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Besides the U.S. and Russia which have the most weapons, nine other states possess them: Great Britain, France, China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Israel, India and Pakistan.

"...The START I and START II treaties would reduce American and Russian strategic nuclear weapons to 3000-3500 by the year 2003; with their tactical nuclear weapons, each country would still have some 10,000 weapons each."

Since then LOTS has happened. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was publicly debated in 1995, and the world has become aware of Article 6, requiring complete ("eventual") disarmament of all nuclear weapons by the five original signatories. The World Court ruled in July 1996 that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is illegal. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was signed in September 1996. 62 retired admirals and generals issued a statement in December 1996 that nuclear weapons are unsafe, unnecessary, and insane. Clinton and Yeltsin have agreed to START III, which ostensibly would reduce U.S. and Russian arsenals to 1,500 per side by 2,007. This is not far enough, fast enough. Pressure is increasing, but your help is needed.

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