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Putin Trump Nuclear Weapons


Credit: Christophe Gowans


All you wanted to know about nuclear war

but were too afraid to ask

The use of a nuclear weapon

is now more likely than any time since the cold war,

but the probability of humanity being wiped out entirely

has diminished


Mon 16 Jul 2018 06.00 BST

Last modified on Mon 16 Jul 2018 15.34 BST


































How the U.S. Government Used Veterans

as Atomic Guinea Pigs

NYT    15 February 2019





How the U.S. Government Used Veterans as Atomic Guinea Pigs

Video        Op-Docs        The New York Times        15 February 2019


This week’s Op-Doc is “The Atomic Soldiers,”

Morgan Knibbe’s haunting oral history

of the United States’ nuclear weapons testing program

in the 1950s and ‘60s.


As many as 400,000 American servicemen

took part in those tests

— experiencing nuclear blasts at close range —

and the nightmarish story

told by the veterans in Knibbe’s film

shows how the experience

has marked them for life.





















Color photograph showing damage in Hiroshima

in March of 1946.


Photograph: U.S. National Archives


Hiroshima, 64 years ago

Boston Globe > Big Picture

August 5, 2009



















Peter Brookes



December 5, 2006



British Prime Minister Tony Blair (PM 1997-2007)















nuclear age >

Harold Melvin Agnew    USA    1921-2013    USA


last surviving major figure

to have been present

at the birth of the nuclear age

— a physicist who helped build

the world’s first reactor and atomic bombs,

flew on the first atomic strike against Japan,

filmed the mushroom cloud,

helped perfect the hydrogen bomb

and led the Los Alamos National Laboratory

at the height of the cold war


Dr. Agnew was no giant of discovery,

but he was ingenious technically

and wielded great influence for decades

as a presidential adviser and a gregarious hawk,

as restless and unpredictable

as the tumultuous age he helped define.











nuclear weapons        UK / USA







building-for-end-times-the-boom-in-bunkers-podcast - Guardian podcast









































































































atomic conflict        USA










atomic warfare        USA










nuclear war        USA
















nuclear warfare        USA










 United States’ nuclear weapons testing program

in the 1950s and ‘60s        USA


watch?v=FokopVKMgdU - NYT - 15 February 2019








battlefield nukes / battlefield nuclear weapons        USA










nuclear detonation        USA










nuclear blast        UK










nuclear anxiety        USA










Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests

in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space

and Under Water


Signed at Moscow August 5, 1963

Entered into force October 10, 1963










nuclear tests










nuclear annihilation        USA










nuclear apocalypse        UK












nuclear catastrophe        UK










nuclear armageddon        UK










Armageddon        UK










Armageddon        USA










face ‘Armageddon’        UK










hydrogen weapon        USA














nuclear-powered missile with unlimited range        USA










nuclear weapon > Long-Range Standoff Weapon        USA


The Air Force

is set next year to accelerate

the development

of this new nuclear cruise missile.


It would carry

an upgraded W-80 nuclear warhead

and be able to penetrate

the world’s most advanced

air-defense systems.










nuclear brinkmanship / brinkmanship        USA












nuclear threat        UK










nuclear threat        USA


100000005894693/retro-nuclear.html - May 2018
























nuclear escalation        USA










conduct a simulated nuclear strike        UK










order a nuclear strike        USA


















nuclear might        USA










nuclear tensions        USA










nuclear war        UK

















wage nuclear war        USA










nuclear war        USA







100000005894693/retro-nuclear.html - May 2018










nuclear winter        USA










nukes        USA











































nuclear capabilities        UK










nuclear capability        USA










nuclear arsenal        USA




















stockpile        USA


















nuclear testing        USA






USA > Nevada test site        UK






Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization

- monitors the globe for nuclear tests        USA



















Nuclear detonations from 1945 to present plotted on a world map – video


Friday 14 August 2015    02.38 BST
















Nuclear weapons:

how many are there in 2009

and who has them?        UK        2009


Latest data

on how many nuclear weapons

there are in the world

shows that

- even with some being dismantled -

there are still 23,574.


So between the US, Russian,

China, North Korea and Iran,

we can be destroyed many times over










nuclear warhead        UK / USA












warhead part > plutonium pits        UK












deter strikes with threats of vast retaliation        USA










nuclear deterrent        UK / USA














UK > nuclear deterrent > Trident nuclear missile programme        UK
























nuclear deterrence        UK










mutual assured destruction    MAD        USA












nuclear proliferation
















non-proliferation        UK










non-proliferation treaty        UK










nuclear-free reality        USA










nuclear-free world        USA










nuclear arms foe        USA










a world without nuclear weapons        USA

















denuclearized world        USA

























nuclear attack








 VR simulation designed

to model a real-life nuclear exchange        UK


The project, called the Nuclear Biscuit

in honour of the small card

bearing the president’s

launch authorisation code,

was built using insights from interviews

with former government officials

about what might happen

if the US appeared

to be under nuclear attack.


It’s designed to help lawmakers

better understand

the realities of nuclear armament.










nuclear conflagration








mushroom cloud        USA










wipe out        USA










nuclear hotline








small nuclear warhead / mini-nuke








nuclear "bunker buster"








survival bunkers /  private nuclear bunkers        UK


building-for-end-times-the-boom-in-bunkers-podcast - Guardian podcast
























New Start treaty    December 2010


Putin also said that he was suspending

Russia's participation

in a critical arms control treaty,

New START, with the U.S.,

though he stressed

that Russia is not withdrawing from the treaty.

"I am forced to announce today

that Russia is suspending its participation

in the strategic offensive arms treaty," he said.


Signed in 2010,

New Start came into force in 2011,

and was extended till 2026.


It caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads

that Russia and the U.S. can deploy.


The two countries have the vast majority

of all deployable warheads.





The New Start treaty

is an arms control pact

that would force

the United States and Russia

to pare back nuclear arsenals

and resume mutual inspections

that lapsed in 2009 for the first time

since the cold war.


It was signed

by President Obama

and Russia's president,

Dmitiri A. Medvedev

in April 2010.


Its ratification has become

one of the most contentious issues

of the current lame-duck

Congressional session,

with a large number of Republicans

saying they plan to vote against it.


Under terms of the treaty,

both countries would be prohibited

from deploying more than

1,550 strategic nuclear warheads

or 700 launchers

each starting seven years

after final ratification.


Perhaps just as significantly,

the treaty would establish

a new inspection

and monitoring regime

to replace the longstanding program

that lapsed in 2009

with the expiration

of the first Strategic Arms

Reduction Treaty of 1991,

or Start.





















short-range weapons        USA










cartoons > Cagle > New Start treaty        USA        December 2010









USA > B 52        USA


The B-52,

laden with nuclear warheads,

was a forbidding-looking mainstay

of American air defense

during the cold war

and a strategic deterrent

to a nuclear attack.


It saw substantial duty in Vietnam

and the Iraq wars and is still in use.


And its fundamental design

— novel wings with engine “pods”

positioned underneath —

became the standard

for almost all commercial jet carriers.










USA > the Doomsday Clock

at the University of Chicago        UK


The symbolic clock face,

maintained since 1947

by the board of directors

of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

at the University of Chicago,

counts down to nuclear armageddon













nuclear capabilities        UK










nuclear warhead








fallout shelter        USA

















WW2 > August 6 1945 > Japan > Hiroshima



















The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II


A Collection of Primary Sources

National Security Archive

Electronic Briefing Book No. 162

Edited by William Burr - 202/994-7000

Posted - August 5, 2005

Updated - April 27, 2007


























Donald Frederick Hornig    USA    1920-2013


In a small shed

at the top of a 100-foot-tall steel tower

deep in the New Mexico desert,

Donald Hornig sat

next to the world’s first atomic bomb

in the late evening of July 15, 1945,

reading a book of humorous essays.












In July 1946,

the United States conducted

two atomic tests at Bikini Atoll

in the Pacific.


The tests, codenamed Able

(an atmospheric explosion)

and Baker (underwater),

were among the very first

of the more than 1,000 tests that the U.S.

would eventually conduct

in Nevada and the South Pacific

over the next five decades.










atomic bomb / A-bomb

The (first) bomb

was detonated at 5:29:45 a.m.

on July 16, 1945


Three weeks later,

an atomic bomb

was dropped on Hiroshima.


Three days after that,

another fell on Nagasaki.










atomic bomb > Lise Meitner

(born Elise Meitner, 7 November 1878 – 27 October 1968)

was an Austrian-Swedish physicist

who was one of those responsible

for the discovery of the element protactinium

and nuclear fission.


While working on radioactivity

at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Chemistry in Berlin,

she discovered the radioactive isotope protactinium-231

in 1917.


In 1938,

Meitner and her nephew, the physicist Otto Robert Frisch,

discovered nuclear fission.

She was praised by Albert Einstein as the "German Marie Curie".

Wikipedia - October 2, 2023













the bomb > fear of the bomb        UK










1940s > Manhattan Project


secret American effort

to build an atomic bomb



















































Manhattan project >

first atomic bomb explosion / Trinity test > July 16, 1945 > Nex Mexico, USA


In 1945,

the people of southern New Mexico

saw the flash of the first atomic bomb

when it was tested

at a place called the Trinity Site.






















atomic bombing















movies > 1964 > USA > Stanley Kubrick's









almost-everything-in-dr-strangelove-was-true - Jan. 17, 2014


kubrick-strange.html - January 30, 1994



























nuclear program


















Atomic Bomb Test In Nevada


Scorched & disheveled male mannequin

clad in dark business suit standing

in the desert w. lady mannequin in bkgrd.,

7000 ft. from the 44th nuclear test explosion,

a day after the blast, indicating that humans

could be burnt but still alive.


Location: Yucca Flat, NV, US


Date taken: May 1955


Photographer: Loomis Dean


Life Images

















Anthropocene age        USA


Humans have made an indelible mark

on the planet.


Since the mid-20th century,

we've accelerated the digging of mines,

construction of dams,

expansion of cities

and clearing of forests for agriculture

— activity that will be visible

in the geological record for eons to come.


Some scientists are calling it

the Anthropocene era,

or the age of the humans

("anthropos" is Greek for human),

and argue that geologists should recognize it

as a distinct chapter in Earth's history.


But after more than a decade

of investigation and debate,

that won't happen, at least for now.


In a contentious vote earlier this month,

a panel of geologists declined to designate

a new geologic epoch starting in 1952,

when the United States tested

its first thermonuclear bomb.


The 1950s, proponents contend,

marked an inflection point

in humanity's impact on Earth,

as globalization,

increased burning of fossil fuels

and the use of nuclear weapons

left unmistakable signs

of our influence in the geologic record.











1952 > The United States tests

its first thermonuclear bomb


Ivy Mike was the codename given

to the first full-scale test

of a thermonuclear device,

in which part of the explosive yield

comes from nuclear fusion.


Ivy Mike was detonated

on November 1, 1952,

by the United States

on the island of Elugelab in Enewetak Atoll,

in the now independent island nation

of the Marshall Islands,

as part of Operation Ivy.


It was the first full test

of the Teller–Ulam design,

a staged fusion device.

- Wikipedia, 31 March 2024




















Corpus of news articles


War > Arms > Nuclear weapons




Nuclear Time Warp


June 10, 2012

The New York Times

Did House Republicans somehow miss the end of the cold war? At a time when, for the sake of both security and fiscal responsibility, the country should be reducing its nuclear arsenal, the House has approved a defense authorization bill for 2013 that threatens to freeze the number of weapons at current levels and, over time, waste billions of dollars on unnecessary purchases and programs.

Thankfully, the bill isn’t likely to become law. But it is worth taking a closer look, both for what it says about Republicans’ misplaced strategic priorities — and about how far President Obama has already gone to appease them.

The United States and Russia each have more than 1,500 nuclear weapons deployed and many thousands more as backup or awaiting dismantlement. Gen. James Cartwright, the retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former commander of nuclear forces, recently said that deterrence could be guaranteed with 900 warheads, with only half deployed at any time.

If the United States fails to keep pushing for even deeper cuts — or raises any doubts about its current commitments — it will have an even harder time rallying global pressure to contain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, North Korea and others. Remember George W. Bush’s contempt for treaties?

At $642 billion, the House Pentagon authorization is $4 billion above President Obama’s request and $8 billion above the 2011 Budget Control Act agreement that the Republicans demanded and are now trying to overturn. More than $1 billion of that increase is nuclear-related. Here are some of the worst parts of the bill:

¶The 2010 New Start pact commits Washington and Moscow to cut their deployed strategic weapons from 2,200 to 1,550 by 2018. One provision in the bill would halt reductions if the president, or any successor, failed to meet Mr. Obama’s promise to spend $88 billion to upgrade the nuclear labs and $125 billion over 10 years to replace aging bombers, submarines and land-based missiles. Mr. Obama made those overly generous commitments to win ratification of New Start. Most outrageously, the bill says the country can’t keep reducing weapons if the defense cuts in the Budget Control Act are not overturned.

¶The bill would bar reduction, consolidation or withdrawal of tactical weapons in Europe — we can’t imagine a more unnecessary weapon — unless several onerous conditions are met. It mandates a report on possibly reintroducing tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea.

¶It contains $160 million to build a new plutonium plant in New Mexico to make new cores for weapons. The Energy Department has said its needs can be met for now with existing facilities. The projected cost has ballooned to nearly $6 billion. It adds nearly $500 million next year to develop a ballistic missile submarine that the administration wants to delay and we believe is unnecessary.

The White House has threatened to veto the authorization unless the worst provisions are deleted. The Senate bill has only made it through committee, but it has some troubling aspects, including keeping the plutonium plant project alive.

General Cartwright is only the latest heavyweight to endorse significant nuclear reductions. Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Senator Chuck Hagel joined him in a report by Global Zero, a policy group urging major changes, including the 900 target. Separately, Henry Kissinger, James Baker, George Shultz and Sam Nunn have endorsed the eventual goal of a world without nuclear weapons. So has President Obama.

The president needs to leverage that support to argue the case for much deeper cuts and push back against members of Congress who — incredibly — still haven’t gotten beyond their cold war obsessions.

Nuclear Time Warp,






No Need for All These Nukes


January 7, 2012

The New York Times




OVER the last three years, as I delved into the world of American nuclear weapons, I felt increasingly as though I had stepped into a time warp. Despite the nearly total rearrangement of the international security landscape since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the rise of Islamic terrorism and the spread of nuclear materials and technology to volatile nations like Pakistan, North Korea and Iran, the Defense Department remains enthralled by cold war nuclear strategies and practices.

Barack Obama took office determined to change that. He has made progress on many fronts. Last week, he outlined a new, no-frills defense strategy, downsizing conventional forces. He now needs to double down on his commitment to refashion nuclear forces. He should trim the American nuclear arsenal by two-thirds to bring it down to a sensible size, order the Pentagon to scale back nuclear war-fighting plans so they are relevant to contemporary threats, remove most American intercontinental, land-based missiles from high alert and drop the quaint notion that a fleet of aging B-52 bombers can effectively deliver nuclear weapons to distant targets.

This agenda is not only desirable, it is doable without undercutting American security. It would save tens of billions of dollars a year, a relatively small amount by Pentagon standards, but every billion counts as Leon E. Panetta, the defense secretary, trims his budget. And the steps can safely be taken without requiring reciprocal moves by Russia that must be codified in a treaty.

For the last few months, the Obama administration has been conducting a classified review of the doctrines and operations that determine the shape and potential uses of America’s nuclear armaments. If the president pushes back against the defenders of the old order at the Pentagon and other redoubts of the nuclear priesthood, he can preserve American security while making the United States a more credible leader on one of today’s most critical issues — containing the spread of nuclear weapons. Like a chain smoker asking others to give up cigarettes, the United States, with its bloated arsenal, sounds hypocritical when it puts pressure on other nations to cut weapons and stop producing bomb-grade highly enriched uranium, the key ingredient of a crude nuclear weapon.

American actions alone won’t end the proliferation danger, but American leadership is essential to any hope of containing the threat.

Sam Nunn, the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and anything but a dove over the years, rightly warns that the spread of weapons and the means to make them may soon reach a combustible stage where New York, Washington, Moscow, Tokyo or London is at risk of a nuclear terrorist attack.

Mr. Nunn and other keepers of America’s cold-war armory, George P. Shultz and Henry A. Kissinger, former Republican secretaries of state, and William J. Perry, a former Democratic defense secretary, have banded together in recent years to press, among other things, for cutting nuclear forces, de-alerting missiles and, ultimately, eliminating nuclear arms. Mr. Obama has embraced their aims and welcomed them to the Oval Office. Their high-powered, bipartisan alliance, if adroitly employed by the White House, ought to provide some political cover as Mr. Obama reshapes nuclear policy while running for a second term.

There is no national security rationale for maintaining an arsenal of some 5,000 warheads, with nearly 2,000 arms ready to use on short notice and the rest in reserve. We don’t need thousands of warheads, or even hundreds, to counter threats from countries like Iran or North Korea.

The only conceivable use of so many weapons would be a full-scale nuclear war with Russia, which has more warheads than the United States. But two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, even Vladimir V. Putin, with his authoritarian bent, is not about to put Russia on a collision course with the United States that leads to nuclear war. China, equally unlikely to escalate tensions to the nuclear brink, probably has fewer than 400 warheads and a policy to use them only in self-defense. Pakistan has roughly 100, North Korea fewer than 10 and Iran, so far, zero.

The United States could live quite securely with fewer than 1,500 warheads, half in reserve. Defenders of the nuclear faith claim we need 5,000 weapons as a hedge against warheads that may become defective over time. But an elaborate Energy Department program to maintain and refurbish warheads, the Stockpile Stewardship Program, has proved highly effective.

Another oft-cited reason for increasing our arsenal is that the Pentagon’s nuclear war-fighting plans still call for striking hundreds of targets in Russia and China, as well as dozens of sites in a number of other publicly unidentified nations — presumably Iran, North Korea and Syria — considered potentially hostile to the United States and eager to possess unconventional weapons.

Washington’s current nuclear war plans remain far too outsize to deal with any plausible attack on America. Mr. Obama could remove some nations from the hit list, starting with China, and tell his generals to limit the number of targets in the countries that remain.

The oversize American nuclear arsenal features an equally outdated reliance on long-distance bombers. The days when lumbering B-52 bombers could play a central role in delivering nuclear weapons — memorably spoofed in Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” — ended decades ago. Mr. Obama should ground the bombers and depend on land- and sea-based missiles.

The high-alert status of America’s intercontinental ballistic missiles is another anachronism. There are few circumstances that might require the United States to quickly launch nuclear-tipped missiles, and missiles on high alert are an invitation to an accident, or impulsive action. In the first year of his presidency, Mr. Obama outlined an ambitious nuclear weapons agenda. Absent new action, Washington will remain frozen in a costly cold war posture.


Philip Taubman

is a former New York Times bureau chief

in Moscow and Washington and the author of

“The Partnership:

Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban the Bomb.”

No Need for All These Nukes,






Samuel T. Cohen,

Neutron Bomb Inventor,

Dies at 89


December 1, 2010
The New York Times


Samuel T. Cohen, the physicist who invented the small tactical nuclear weapon known as the neutron bomb, a controversial device designed to kill enemy troops with subatomic particles but leave battlefields and cities relatively intact, died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 89.

The cause was complications of stomach cancer, his son Paul said.

Unlike J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, the respective fathers of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, Mr. Cohen was not well known outside government and scientific circles, although his work for years influenced the international debate over the deployment and potential uses of nuclear arms.

In contrast to strategic warheads, which can kill millions and level cities, and smaller short-range tactical nuclear arms designed to wipe out battlefield forces, the neutron bomb minimized blast and heat. Instead, it maximized a barrage of infinitesimal neutrons that could zip through tanks, buildings and other structures and kill people, usually by destroying the central nervous system, and all other life forms.

While doubters questioned the usefulness, logic and ethics of killing people and sparing property, Mr. Cohen called his bomb a “sane” and “moral” weapon that could limit death, destruction and radioactive contamination, killing combatants while leaving civilians and towns unscathed. He insisted that many critics misunderstood or purposely misrepresented his ideas for political, economic or mercenary reasons.

A specialist in the radiological effects of nuclear weapons, he relentlessly promoted the neutron bomb for much of his life, writing books and articles, conferring with presidents and cabinet officials, taking his case to Congressional committees, scientific bodies and international forums. He won many converts, but ultimately failed to persuade the United States to integrate the device into its tactical nuclear arsenal.

The Reagan administration developed but never deployed the weapons in the 1980s. France, Israel and the Soviet Union were believed to have added versions of the bomb to their arsenals. Western military planners rejected their use in the Vietnam War and regarded them only as a possible deterrent to superior Soviet tank forces in Europe. But the end of the cold war obviated even that purpose.

A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Mr. Cohen was recruited while in the Army in World War II for the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos, N.M. After the war, he joined the RAND Corporation and in 1958 designed the neutron bomb as a way to strike a cluster of enemy forces while sparing infrastructure and distant civilian populations.

Fired via a missile or an artillery shell and detonated a quarter-mile above ground, his bomb limited death to an area less than a mile across, avoiding wider indiscriminate slaughter and destruction. It was not a radioactively “clean” bomb, but its neutrons dissipated quickly, leaving no long-term contamination that could render entire regions uninhabitable for decades.

But many military planners scoffed at the idea of a nuclear bomb that limited killing and destruction, and insisted that deployment would escalate the arms race and make nuclear war more likely. The device was anathema to military contractors and armed services with vested interests in nuclear arsenals. Even peace activists denounced it as “a capitalist weapon” because it killed people but spared the real estate.

Washington rejected the bomb repeatedly. The Kennedy administration said it might jeopardize a test-ban moratorium. The Johnson administration said its use in Vietnam might raise the specter of Hiroshima — Asians again slaughtered by American nuclear bombs — drawing worldwide condemnation. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter said development might impede disarmament prospects.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan ordered 700 neutron warheads built to oppose Soviet tank forces in Europe. He called it “the first weapon that’s come along in a long time that could easily and economically alter the balance of power.” But deployment to the North Atlantic alliance was canceled after a storm of antinuclear protests across Europe. President George Bush ordered the stockpile scrapped.

By 1982, Mr. Cohen had abandoned his deployment quest. But he continued for the rest of his life to defend the bomb as practical and humane.

“It’s the most sane and moral weapon ever devised,” he said in September in a telephone interview for this obituary. “It’s the only nuclear weapon in history that makes sense in waging war. When the war is over, the world is still intact.”

Samuel Theodore Cohen was born in Brooklyn on Jan. 25, 1921, to Lazarus and Jenny Cohen, Austrian Jews who had migrated to the United States by way of Britain. His father was a carpenter and his mother a housewife who rigidly controlled family diets and even breathing habits (believing it unhealthy to breathe through the mouth). The boy had allergies, eye problems and other ailments, and for years was subjected to daily ice-water showers to toughen him up.

The family moved to Los Angeles when he was 4. He was a brilliant student at public schools and U.C.L.A., where he graduated in 1943 with a physics degree. He joined the wartime Army and was posted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for advanced training in mathematics and physics.

In 1944 he was tapped for the Manhattan Project to analyze radioactivity in nuclear fission. He worked on Fat Man, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945, days after Little Boy destroyed Hiroshima.

Mr. Cohen was married twice. His first marriage, to Barbara Bissell in 1948, ended in divorce in 1952. In 1960, he married Margaret Munnemann. She survives him, as do their three children, Carla Nagler, Paul and Thomas, and three grandchildren.

Mr. Cohen joined RAND in Santa Monica in 1947 and 11 years later designed the neutron bomb as a consultant to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Many technical features of what the Pentagon called an “enhanced radiation weapon” had been known for years, and scientists had theorized about a nuclear device that would release most of its energy as radiation.

All nuclear explosions produce a rain of potentially lethal neutrons, uncharged particles from an atom’s nucleus, and Mr. Cohen, by adjusting components and reshaping the bomb shell, limited the blast and released more energy as neutrons — so tiny they passed easily through solid inanimate objects, but killed all living things in their path.

The military successfully tested the bomb, and over the next two decades Mr. Cohen campaigned for its deployment without success. He left RAND in 1969, but continued writing about the bomb. His articles appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other publications. He was featured in a 1992 segment of the BBC-TV series “Pandora’s Box.”

His books included “Tactical Nuclear Weapons: An Examination of the Issues” (1978); “The Neutron Bomb: Political, Technological and Military Issues” (1978); “Checkmate on War” (1980); “The Truth About the Neutron Bomb” (1983); “We Can Prevent World War III” (1985); and “Nuclear Weapons, Policies and the Test Ban Issue” (1987). His memoir, “Shame: Confessions of the Father of the Neutron Bomb,” was published on the Internet in 2000.

In recent years, Mr. Cohen prominently warned of a black market substance called red mercury, supposedly capable of compressing fusion materials to detonate a nuclear device as small as a baseball — ideal for terrorists.

Most scientists call the substance mythical, and stories about it, many circulating on the Internet, are widely regarded as spurious.

Samuel T. Cohen, Neutron Bomb Inventor, Dies at 89,
NYT, 1.12.2010,






U.S. Faces Choice

on New Weapons for Fast Strikes


April 22, 2010

The New York Times




WASHINGTON — In coming years, President Obama will decide whether to deploy a new class of weapons capable of reaching any corner of the earth from the United States in under an hour and with such accuracy and force that they would greatly diminish America’s reliance on its nuclear arsenal.

Yet even now, concerns about the technology are so strong that the Obama administration has acceded to a demand by Russia that the United States decommission one nuclear missile for every one of these conventional weapons fielded by the Pentagon. That provision, the White House said, is buried deep inside the New Start treaty that Mr. Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev signed in Prague two weeks ago.

Called Prompt Global Strike, the new weapon is designed to carry out tasks like picking off Osama bin Laden in a cave, if the right one could be found; taking out a North Korean missile while it is being rolled to the launch pad; or destroying an Iranian nuclear site — all without crossing the nuclear threshold. In theory, the weapon will hurl a conventional warhead of enormous weight at high speed and with pinpoint accuracy, generating the localized destructive power of a nuclear warhead.

The idea is not new: President George W. Bush and his staff promoted the technology, imagining that this new generation of conventional weapons would replace nuclear warheads on submarines.

In face-to-face meetings with President Bush, Russian leaders complained that the technology could increase the risk of a nuclear war, because Russia would not know if the missiles carried nuclear warheads or conventional ones. Mr. Bush and his aides concluded that the Russians were right.

Partly as a result, the idea “really hadn’t gone anywhere in the Bush administration,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who has served both presidents, said recently on ABC’s “This Week.” But he added that it was “embraced by the new administration.”

Mr. Obama himself alluded to the concept in a recent interview with The New York Times, saying it was part of an effort “to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons” while insuring “that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances.”

The Obama national security team scrapped the idea of putting the new conventional weapon on submarines. Instead, the White House has asked Congress for about $250 million next year to explore a new alternative, one that uses some of the most advanced technology in the military today as well as some not yet even invented.

The final price of the system remains unknown. Senator John McCain of Arizona, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at a hearing on Thursday that Prompt Global Strike would be “essential and critical, but also costly.”

It would be based, at least initially, on the West Coast, probably at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Under the Obama plan, the Prompt Global Strike warhead would be mounted on a long-range missile to start its journey toward a target. It would travel through the atmosphere at several times the speed of sound, generating so much heat that it would have to be shielded with special materials to avoid melting. (In that regard, it is akin to the problem that confronted designers of the space shuttle decades ago.)

But since the vehicle would remain within the atmosphere rather than going into space, it would be far more maneuverable than a ballistic missile, capable of avoiding the airspace of neutral countries, for example, or steering clear of hostile territory. Its designers note that it could fly straight up the middle of the Persian Gulf before making a sharp turn toward a target.

The Pentagon hopes to deploy an early version of the system by 2014 or 2015. But even under optimistic timetables, a complete array of missiles, warheads, sensors and control systems is not expected to enter the arsenal until 2017 to 2020, long after Mr. Obama will have left office, even if he is elected to a second term.

The planning for Prompt Global Strike is being headed by Gen. Kevin P. Chilton of the Air Force, the top officer of the military’s Strategic Command and the man in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal. In the Obama era — where every administration discussion of nuclear weapons takes note of Mr. Obama’s commitment to moving toward “Global Zero,” the elimination of the nuclear arsenal — the new part of General Chilton’s job is to talk about conventional alternatives.

In an interview at his headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, General Chilton described how the conventional capability offered by the proposed system would give the president more choices.

“Today, we can present some conventional options to the president to strike a target anywhere on the globe that range from 96 hours, to several hours maybe, 4, 5, 6 hours,” General Chilton said.

That would simply not be fast enough, he noted, if intelligence arrived about a movement by Al Qaeda terrorists or the imminent launching of a missile. “If the president wants to act on a particular target faster than that, the only thing we have that goes faster is a nuclear response,” he said.

But the key to filling that gap is to make sure that Russia and China, among other nuclear powers, understand that the missile launching they see on their radar screens does not signal the start of a nuclear attack, officials said.

Under the administration’s new concept, Russia or other nations would regularly inspect the Prompt Global Strike silos to assure themselves that the weapons were nonnuclear. And they would be placed in locations far from the strategic nuclear force.

“Who knows if we would ever deploy it?” Gary Samore, Mr. Obama’s top adviser on unconventional weapons, said at a conference in Washington on Wednesday. But he noted that Russia was already so focused on the possibility that it insisted that any conventional weapon mounted on a missile that could reach it counted against the new limit on the American arsenal in the treaty.

In a follow-on treaty, he said, the Russians would certainly want to negotiate on Prompt Global Strike and ballistic missile defenses.

If Mr. Obama does decide to deploy the system, Mr. Samore said, the number of weapons would be small enough that Russia and China would not fear that they could take out their nuclear arsenals.

U.S. Faces Choice on New Weapons for Fast Strikes,
NYT, 22.4.2010,







New Think and Old Weapons


February 28, 2010
The New York Times


Every four years the White House issues a “nuclear posture review.” That may sound like an anachronism. It isn’t. In a world where the United States and Russia still have more than 20,000 nuclear weapons — and Iran, North Korea and others have seemingly unquenchable nuclear appetites — what the United States says about its arsenal matters enormously.

President Obama’s review was due to Congress in December. That has been delayed, in part because of administration infighting. The president needs to get this right. It is his chance to finally jettison cold war doctrine and bolster America’s credibility as it presses to rein in Iran, North Korea and other proliferators.

Mr. Obama has already committed rhetorically to the vision of a world without nuclear weapons. But we are concerned that some of his advisers, especially at the Pentagon, are resisting his bold ambitions. He needs to stick with the ideas he articulated in his campaign and in speeches last year in Prague and at the United Nations.

These are some of the important questions the posture review must address:

THEIR PURPOSE: Current doctrine gives nuclear weapons a “critical role” in defending the United States and its allies. And it suggests they could be used against foes wielding chemical, biological or even conventional forces — not just nuclear arms. Mr. Obama’s aides have proposed changing that to say that the “primary” purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack against the United States or its allies. This still invites questions about whether Washington values — and might use — nuclear forces against non-nuclear targets.

Given America’s vast conventional military superiority, broader uses are neither realistic nor necessary. Any ambiguity undercuts Washington’s credibility when it argues that other countries have no strategic reason to develop their own nuclear arms. The sole purpose of American nuclear forces should be to deter a nuclear attack against this country or its allies.

HOW MANY: President George W. Bush disdained arms control as old think, and Washington and Moscow have not signed an arms reduction treaty since 2002. Mr. Obama launched negotiations on a new agreement that would slash the number of warheads each side has deployed from 2,200 to between 1,500 and 1,675. The talks are dragging on, but there is hope for an agreement soon. Both sides should go deeper.

The review should make clear that the United States is ready to move, as a next step, down to 1,000 deployed warheads — military experts say half that number is enough to wipe out the assets of Russia, which is no longer an enemy. China, the only major nuclear power adding to its arsenal, is estimated to have 100 to 200 warheads. The treaty being negotiated says nothing about the nearly 15,000 warheads, in total, that the United States and Russia keep as backups — the so-called hedge. And it says nothing about America’s 500 short-range nuclear weapons, which are considered secure, or Russia’s 3,000 or more, which are chillingly vulnerable to theft.

The review should make clear that there is no need for a huge hedge, and that tactical weapons have an utter lack of strategic value — as a prelude to reducing both. Certainly no general we know of could imagine exploding a warhead on a battlefield. Today’s greatest nuclear danger is that terrorists will steal or build a weapon. That is best countered by halting proliferation and securing and reducing stockpiles and other material.

NEW WEAPONS: The United States built its last new warhead in 1989. So when aides to President George W. Bush called for building new weapons, with new designs and new capabilities, it opened this country to charges of hypocrisy and double standards when it demanded that North Korea and Iran end their nuclear programs.

Mr. Obama has said that this country does not need new weapons. But we are concerned the review will open the door to just that by directing the labs to study options — including a new weapons design — for maintaining the arsenal. The government has a strong and hugely expensive system for ensuring that the stockpile is safe and reliable. Mr. Obama has already vastly increased the labs’ budgets. The review should make clear that there is no need for a new weapon.

ALERT LEVELS: The United States and Russia each still have about 1,000 weapons ready to fire at a moment’s notice. Mr. Obama has rightly described this as a dangerous cold war relic. The review should commit to taking as many of those forces off hair-trigger alert as possible — and encourage Russia to do the same.

In April, Mr. Obama will host a much needed summit meeting on the need to better secure nuclear material from terrorists. In May, Washington will encourage a United Nations-led conference to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the bedrock, and battered, agreement for curbing the spread of nuclear arms.

President Obama will also have to persuade the Senate to ratify the Start follow-on treaty, and we hope he will quickly press the Senate to approve the test ban treaty. He is also working with allies to revive nuclear talks with North Korea and to impose tougher sanctions on Iran. Getting the nuclear posture review right is essential for moving all of this ahead.

    New Think and Old Weapons, NYT, 28.2.2010,






Watershed Moment on Nuclear Arms


March 25, 2009
The New York Times

During the 2008 campaign, President Obama promised to deal with one of the world’s great scourges — thousands of nuclear weapons still in the American and Russian arsenals. He said he would resume arms-control negotiations — the sort that former President George W. Bush disdained — and seek deep cuts in pursuit of an eventual nuclear-free world. There is no time to waste.

In less than nine months, the 1991 Start I treaty expires. It contains the basic rules of verification that give both Moscow and Washington the confidence that they know the size and location of the other’s nuclear forces.

The Bush administration made little effort to work out a replacement deal. So we are encouraged that American and Russian officials seem to want a new agreement. Given the many strains in the relationship, it will take a strong commitment from both sides, and persistent diplomacy, to get one in time.

When President Obama meets Russia’s president, Dmitri Medvedev, in London on April 1, the two should commit to begin talks immediately and give their negotiators a deadline for finishing up before Dec. 5. For that to happen, the Senate must quickly confirm Mr. Obama’s negotiator, Rose Gottemoeller, so she can start work.

Mr. Bush and then-President Vladimir Putin signed only one arms-control agreement in eight years. It allowed both sides to keep between 1,700 and 2,200 deployed warheads. Further cuts — 1,000 each makes sense for the next phase — would send a clear message to Iran, North Korea and other wannabes that the world’s two main nuclear powers are placing less value on nuclear weapons.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev should also pledge that these negotiations are just a down payment on a more ambitious effort to reduce their arsenals and rid the world of nuclear weapons. The next round should aim to bring Britain, France and China into the discussions. In time, they will have to cajole and wrestle India, Pakistan and Israel to the table as well.

There is a lot President Obama can do right now to create momentum for serious change. We hope his expected speech on nuclear weapons next month is bold.

He can start by unilaterally taking all of this country’s nuclear weapons off of hair-trigger alert. He should also commit to eliminating the 200 to 300 short-range nuclear weapons this country still has deployed in Europe. That would make it much easier to challenge Russia to reduce its stockpile of at least 3,000 short-range weapons. These arms are unregulated by any treaty and are far too vulnerable to theft.

Mr. Obama must also declare his commitment to include all nuclear weapons in negotiated reductions — including thousands of warheads that are now held in reserve and excluded from cuts. And he must make good on promises to press the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (opponents are already quietly organizing) and the international community to adopt a pact ending production of weapons-grade nuclear fuel.

Mr. Obama must reaffirm his campaign pledge to transform American nuclear policy that is still mired in cold war thinking. His administration’s nuclear review is due by year’s end. It must make clear that this country has nuclear weapons solely to deter a nuclear attack — and that this administration’s goal is to keep as few as possible as safely as possible. The review must also state clearly that the country has no need for a new nuclear weapon and will not build any.

Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia and the United States together still have more than 20,000 nuclear weapons. It is time to focus on the 21st-century threats: states like Iran building nuclear weapons and terrorists plotting to acquire their own. Until this country convincingly redraws its own nuclear strategy and reduces its arsenal, it will not have the credibility and political weight to confront those threats.

    Watershed Moment on Nuclear Arms, NYT, 25.3.2009,






Pilot of Plane

That Dropped A - Bomb Dies


November 2, 2007
Filed at 12:18 a.m. ET
The New York Times


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Paul Tibbets, who etched his mother's name -- Enola Gay -- into history on the nose of the B-29 bomber he flew to drop the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, died Thursday after six decades of steadfastly defending the mission. He was 92.

Throughout his life, Tibbets seemed more troubled by other people's objections to the bomb than by him having led the crew that killed tens of thousands of Japanese in a single stroke. The attack marked the beginning of the end of World War II.

Tibbets grew tired of criticism for delivering the first nuclear weapon used in wartime, telling family and friends that he wanted no funeral service or headstone because he feared a burial site would only give detractors a place to protest.

And he insisted he slept just fine, believing with certainty that using the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved more lives than they erased because they eliminated the need for a drawn-out invasion of Japan.

''He said, 'What they needed was someone who could do this and not flinch -- and that was me,''' said journalist Bob Greene, who wrote the Tibbets biography, ''Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War.''

Tibbets, 92, died at his Columbus home after a two-month decline caused by a variety of health problems, said Gerry Newhouse, a longtime friend.

''I'm not proud that I killed 80,000 people, but I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it and have it work as perfectly as it did,'' he said in a 1975 interview.

''You've got to take stock and assess the situation at that time. We were at war. ... You use anything at your disposal.''

He added: ''I sleep clearly every night.''

Filmmaker Ken Burns said Tibbets' life ''helps to take this incredible, gigantic event and personalize it. This is a real human being who changed the course of the world inexorably on that August morning.''

Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. was born Feb. 23, 1915, in Quincy, Ill., and spent most of his boyhood in Miami. He was a student at the University of Cincinnati's medical school when he decided to withdraw in 1937 to enlist in the Army Air Corps.

''I knew when I got the assignment it was going to be an emotional thing,'' Tibbets told The Columbus Dispatch for a story on the 60th anniversary of the bombing. ''We had feelings, but we had to put them in the background. We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible.''

Tibbets, a 30-year-old colonel at the time, and his crew of 13 dropped the five-ton ''Little Boy'' bomb over Hiroshima the morning of Aug. 6, 1945. The blast killed or injured at least 140,000.

Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing at least 60,000 people. Tibbets did not fly in that mission. The Japanese surrendered a few days later.

''It did in fact end the war,'' said Morris Jeppson, the officer who armed the bomb during the Hiroshima flight. ''Ending the war saved a lot of U.S. armed forces and Japanese civilians and military. History has shown there was no need to criticize him.''

Former U.S. Sen. John Glenn, a former Marine fighter pilot, said people who criticized Tibbets for piloting the plane that dropped the bomb failed to recognize that an allied invasion of Japan, which the bomb helped avert, would have resulted in the deaths of several million people.

''It wasn't his decision. It was a presidential decision, and he was an officer that carried out his duty,'' Glenn said. ''It's a horrible weapon, but war is pretty horrible, too.''

The head of the Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs rejected the idea that the bombing saved lives.

''What Mr. Tibbits did should never be forgiven,'' said Takashi Mukai, whose mother, a nurse, suffered lifelong effects of radiation as she treated bombing victims. ''His actions led to the indiscriminate killing of so many, from the elderly to young children.

''Nevertheless, I would like to express my condolences to his family, and pray for his soul,'' he said. ''What's important now is that we move toward a world free of nuclear weapons.''

Tibbets retired from the Air Force as a brigadier general in 1966. He moved to Columbus, where he ran an air taxi service until he retired in 1985.

Tibbets said in 2005 that after the war he was dogged by rumors claiming he was in prison or had committed suicide.

''They said I was crazy, said I was a drunkard, in and out of institutions,'' he said. ''At the time, I was running the National Crisis Center at the Pentagon.''

In 1976, he was criticized for re-enacting the bombing during an appearance at a Harlingen, Texas, air show. As he flew a B-29 Superfortress over the show, a bomb set off on the runway below created a mushroom cloud.

He said the display ''was not intended to insult anybody,'' but the Japanese were outraged. The U.S. government later issued a formal apology.

Tibbets again defended the bombing in 1995, when an outcry erupted over a planned 50th anniversary exhibit of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Institution.

In his later years, he frequently accepted speaking invitations and signed books on the bombing of Hiroshima, said granddaughter Kia Tibbets.

Author Richard Rhodes said Tibbets' feelings about the bombing he helped plan embodied public opinion at the time.

''He was so characteristic of that generation. He was a man who took great pride in what he did during the war, including the atomic bombing,'' said Rhodes, who wrote ''The Making of the Atomic Bomb.''

''It's hard for people today to think about the atomic bombings without feeling they were just out and out atrocities, but people at the time had a very different sense of what they needed to do,'' Rhodes said.

Tibbets told the Dispatch in 2005 he wanted his ashes scattered over the English Channel, where he loved to fly during the war.

Survivors include his wife, Andrea, and three sons, Paul, Gene and James, as well as a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A grandson named after Tibbets followed his grandfather into the military as a B-2 bomber pilot currently stationed in Belgium.


Associated Press writers

James Hannah in Dayton

and Jon Belmont in Washington

contributed to this report.


On the Net:

Enola Gay Remembered Inc.: http://www.enolagay.org

Pilot of Plane That Dropped A - Bomb Dies, NYT, 2.11.2007,





Leading article:

A foolish decision,

made in haste


Published: 05 December 2006
The Independent


The Prime Minister's announcement that Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent is to be renewed was as disappointing as it was unsurprising. Whatever arguments Mr Blair marshalled yesterday to justify the spending of £20bn or so on new submarines, we find the arguments on the other side a good deal more compelling. The Trident system was conceived and built to combat a particular threat: that presented by the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Today's Russia may not be the benign Western-orientated state we had hoped for after the collapse of the USSR, but it is not the threatening superpower of old either.

Today's strategic neighbourhood is quite different - and less predictable. The threats we face are from terrorism and global warming, and from countries that aspire to buck the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. North Korea makes no secret of its nuclear ambitions, and Iran wants to keep us guessing. Whether yesterday's announcement sends these countries a useful message is questionable. There was a chance here for Britain to set a new direction in the international debate: one that was about restraint rather than escalation. That opportunity has been lost.

The timing also smacks of politics. The Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, argued yesterday - and we agree with him - that there would have been merit in waiting until international security trends became clearer. There was no need to take any decision on Trident until the next Parliament at the earliest. The haste suggests a desire on Mr Blair's part to seal a part of his New Labour legacy by ensuring that Labour never retreats again into unilateralism: this is to play party politics with national defence.

Mr Blair's statement contained some concessions to his critics - most of whom sit on his own benches. The nuclear weapons budget, he said, will account for a fraction - 3 per cent - of the overall defence budget. Investment in new submarines will not be at the expense of conventional defence. The submarines will be built by British companies, in Britain. The number of warheads could be reduced from around 200 to 160 - rather less than the 50 per cent cut some had called for.

These, though, are details. They do not alter the principle, which is that Britain is set to modernise its nuclear capacity using money that could better be spent on other things, at a time when nuclear weapons may not be the best way of meeting the new threats to our national security. Parliament has been promised a vote next March. Regrettably, the extensive public debate that we should have had about the future of Britain's defence capability has been closed before it had properly begun.

 Leading article: A foolish decision, made in haste, I, 5.12.2006,
leading_articles/article2040131.ece - broken link
















"If they ask for it,


we know how to make


some really big


parking lots


in this world"


- Tom Clancy

in We were told that life would change for ever

I        p. 4        11 September 2003.
















August 1, 1963


The toboggan ride to Hiroshima


From the Guardian archive


Thursday August 1, 1963


Alistair Cooke


The decision to drop the Hiroshima bomb was made by President Truman against the advice of General George Marshall, the chief American military leader of the Second World War, and in ignorance of a petition directed to the President by seven atomic scientists working in the secret laboratories of the bomb project in Chicago.

This is the nub of a moral and strategical controversy that raged behind closed doors [in] 1944-45, and which has until now been locked in the files.

"Look" magazine publishes the findings of two of its correspondents. Final clearance of the piece published today was granted by the State Department. Certain conclusions appear to be inevitable. The overriding aim of President Truman and his closest advisers including General Marshall, was to attain the conquest of Japan with the fewest possible losses of American manpower.

The estimate of American losses in the first month of an invasion of Japan was put between 31,000 and 42,000. Mr Truman and Mr Stimson strengthened in each other the conviction that the bomb should be used, without warning, on a large metropolitan area as a direct military weapon.

The moral question had been canvassed among all the participants. The President, it seems, was never seriously faced with the choice of using the bomb on Japan or deliberately withholding it. All the advice he received led him to accept the decisions of an interim committee of Government and scientific advisers he set up.

It reported on June 6, 1945 that the bomb was "to be used as soon as possible on a dual target, that is, a military installation or War plant surrounded by or adjacent to homes", and "without prior warning".

Bush and Conant [two committee members] argued, evidently without success, that immediately after the first successful trial, the facts should be published and Japan be put on notice.

On this question of "prior warning" General Marshall disagreed. "Every effort," he said, "should be made to keep our record of warning clear. We must offset by such warning methods the opprobrium."

It now appears that [the scientists' petition] was never shown to Mr Truman. As for the moral torment that some historians have seen Mr Truman enduring and conquering, General Groves has a laconic comment. The President, he says, acted all along on the assumptions he was fed that the bomb would be used when ready.

"He was," said the General, "like a little boy on a toboggan."

From the Guardian archive,
August 1, 1963,
The toboggan ride to Hiroshima,
Republished 1.8.2006,






On This Day - April 19, 1960


From The Times Archive


A crowd of more than 60,000,

including Michael Foot,

arrived at Trafalgar Square

to protest against the atomic bomb


THE biggest demonstration seen for a long time took place in Trafalgar Square yesterday afternoon at the end of the Aldermaston to London “ban-the-bomb” march.

The crowd at one time appeared to number not fewer than 60,000 in the square and surrounding area, and the organisers put it nearer 100,000. In the square itself there was a crowd of between 30,000 and 40,000 at one time.

The square was already looking full at 3 o’clock when the first of the marchers arrived from Whitehall, and it took the column, which was said to have grown to 40,000 on its way through London, nearly two hours to come into the welcoming crowds. The organisation of the demonstration was highly efficient. In spite of the throng of people everything appeared to run smoothly and there were no noticeable disturbances.

Canon L.J.Collins introduced a number of speakers, including the Bishop of Southwark, Dr Mervyn Stockwood, who said that Canon Collins, although he might be looked upon as the “bad boy” of the Church of England at the moment, would go down in history as one of the true priests of the Church at this time.

“I realise that many members of my Church take the opposite view, and although I believe them to be wrong I do not question the sincerity of their views.”

Mr Michael Foot was given an ovation by the crowd after his speech. The march he said was a mighty upsurge of democratic protest against the “military dictatorship” into which the politicians had allowed our destinies to slip.

After the rally, a party of people left Trafalgar Square on the first stage of a march to Paris.

From The Times Archive,
On This Day - April 19, 1960,






On This Day - June 20, 1953


From The Times Archive


Robert and Michael Rosenberg were orphaned

by the execution of their parents

and no relatives dared to adopt them.

Abel Meeropol, who wrote the anti-lynching

anthem Strange Fruit, took them in


JULIUS and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted more than two years ago for conspiring to transmit atomic secrets to a foreign power (Russia), were put to death shortly after 7 o’clock in the electric chair in Sing Sing prison. Neither made any statements before dying.

The Supreme Court reversed the stay of execution granted to the Rosenbergs on Wednesday by Justice Douglas. Soon after the court had announced its decision, President Eisenhower indicated that he would not use his right of executive clemency.

In a formal statement he expressed his conviction “that the only conclusion to be drawn from the history of the case is that the Rosenbergs have received the benefit of every safeguard which American justice can provide.

“Accordingly, only the most extraordinary circumstances would warrant executive intervention in the case. I am not unmindful of the fact that the case has aroused grave concern both here and abroad. In this connexion I can only say by immeasurably increasing the chances of an atomic war the Rosenbergs may have condemned to death tens of millions of innocent people all over the world.

“The execution of two human beings is a grave matter. But even graver is the thought of millions of dead whose deaths may be directly attributable to what these spies have done. I will not intervene in this matter.”

    From The Times Archives > On This Day - June 20, 1953, Times, 20.6.2005,






On This Day - April 23, 1952


From The Times Archive


This atomic bomb blast was reckoned

to be larger than any of its predecessors.

A group of Idaho residents is currently fighting

for US Government compensation for cancers

they believe were caused by toxic clouds

carried on the wind from the Nevada Desert


AN ATOMIC bomb explosion more violent than those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and perhaps even bigger than the heaviest of those at Bikini in 1946, was set off today in the Nevada desert, with 1,500 troops watching it from foxholes, in what Press reports said were “astonishingly close” positions.

Farther away than the soldiers were great numbers of press reporters and photographers, some members of Congress, and other persons invited by the Atomic Energy Commission to watch the test. All over the country, about 35 million more persons, it is estimated, saw the spectacle on television.

The bomb was dropped from an aircraft at a height of 30,000ft. The flash of the explosion, even in brilliant sunshine, was seen in Las Vegas, 75 miles away, and seven minutes afterwards the rumbling of it was heard there.

A reporter at the Press position, which was apparently about ten miles from the point where the bomb fell, said his neck was twisted by the shock of the explosion about a minute after the flash occurred and that heat from the blast singed observers’ faces there.

The explosion formed the familiar big mushroom of changing colours and its dust column was a mile in diameter. Within a few minutes an ice cap covered the top of the main ball-shaped cloud, which was mostly white, with orange and yellow tinges.

Before the explosion, the Atomic Energy Commission said that troops observing it would be in foxholes 4.5 feet deep and from three to five miles away. Previously, the closest troops had been was seven miles. Close under the explosion there would be 24 pigs and 1,600 mice in cages and pens.

In the area also, ahead of the troops would be seven tanks, more than 20 machine guns and mortars, some heavy artillery pieces, and several light aircraft.

On This Day - April 23, 1952, The Times, 23.4.2005,






On This Day - August 9, 1945


From The Times Archive


An estimated 140,000 people died

when an American B29 dropped on Hiroshima

the first nuclear bomb used

on a civilian population


Official reconnaissance photographs of Hiroshima show clearly that four and one-tenth square miles of the city, or a total area of almost seven square miles, were completely destroyed by one atomic bomb, and heavy additional damage is shown outside the completely destroyed area. “Destroyed” is the word officially, but it appears “obliterated” might be a better word.

Cold figures, however, scarcely give it a sufficient idea of what took place. For a more graphic picture one must turn to Japanese broadcasts, which are now beginning to admit the terrible results of this attack. The Japanese state that most of Hiroshima no longer exists, and blasted corpses “too numerous to count” litter the ruined city. “The impact of the bomb was so terrific,” say the Japanese, “that practically all living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death by the tremendous heat and pressure engendered by the blast.” Buildings were crushed or wiped out. Unofficial American sources on Guam estimate that Japanese dead and wounded in Hiroshima may exceed 100,000.

Tokyo wireless speaks of the “indescribable destructive power” of the bomb, which crushed big buildings as well as small dwellings. The inhabitants of the city were killed by blast, fire and crumbling buildings, and most bodies are so badly battered that men cannot be distinguished from women.

The official report of the raid from Guam states that a large part of Hiroshima simply dissolved into a vast cloud of dust when the bomb exploded.

From The Times Archives > On This Day - August 9, 1945,
The Times,
pages/main.asp - broken link










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