Nuclear Disarmament


Cartoon: Jeffrey Lewis 2008

This is a page of curated links and other resources generated by my research on the Neutron Trail. [Check back often – will continue to add materials.]

Nuclear Weapons Proliferation

This Atlantic article (November 10, 2011) argues for a diplomatic response to allegations of Iran’s nuclear capabilities and shows how such a response might look. The author Dr. Ali Vaez (bio and list of articles), is a journalist specializing in international public policy, scientist and director of the Iran Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

World Nuclear Disarmament Movement

The nuclear disarmament movement began with the scientists. They were the first to realize a bomb would be possible and the implications to humanity of creating it.

Only a few scientists refused to work on the Manhattan Project. One walked out after Germany fell. Joseph Rotblat: From Los Alamos to Pugwash by Mel Watkins, (has citations, some editorializing).

Some of the earliest nuclear disarmament groups formed immediately after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and after the first hydrogen bomb tests in the 1950’s. Their original peace chant “One World or None” could be heard all around the world. Many of these pioneering organizations are still going strong today: Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, World Federalist Movement and Institute for Global Policy, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

Today’s nuclear disarmament movement has at least two key drivers: peace and security. The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) is dedicated to achieving safety by focussing on security. Founded in 2001 by Ted Turner and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, the organization’s board includes statespeople from the U.S.A., Russia and the Middle East. Sam Nunn, George Schultz, William Perry and Henry Kissinger made a movie about global nuclear disarmament motivated by fear of nuclear terrorism. Order a free copy of the movie Nuclear Tipping Point.

For a history of the world nuclear disarmament movement, read the work of Dr. Lawrence S. Wittner, history professor. His three-volume set The Struggle Against the Bomb:

Vol. 1: One World or None:  A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement Through 1953. Stanford University Press, 1993.
Vol. 2: Resisting the Bomb:  A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, 1954-1970. Stanford University Press, 1997.
Vol. 3: Toward Nuclear Abolition:  A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, 1971 to the Present. 
Stanford University Press, 2003;

or his synopsis of the three volumes:

Confronting the Bomb:  A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement. Stanford University Press, 2009. (A Japanese-language edition will be be published in 2012 Horitsu Bunkasha [Kyoto].)

The Peace History Society (founded in 1964) works through scholarship to “broaden the understanding of and possibilities for world peace. The membership includes anthropologists, economists, historians, political scientists, sociologists and students” from a mix of disciplines.

Manhattan Project & Development of Nuclear Bombs

Richard Rhode’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986) is a must read if you are interested in this topic. This is a detailed and engaging history including quotes from the scientists building the bomb and the Japanese victims of it.

Atomic: the First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb: 1939 – 49 by Jim Baggot (2009) adds to the story with a more recently declassified material, including from Soviet archives, Canada’s role in supplying uranium and the political dance between the US and the UK.

Picturing the Bomb: Photographs from the Secret World of the Manhattan Project by Rachel Fermi and Esther Samra, with an introduction by Richard Rhodes (1995). My mom, who was a high schooler at Los Alamos, gave my first cousin Rachel a shoebox containing an image of the first atomic bomb blast and others of the family. From this beginning, the authors brought together a collection of photos taken by Manhattan Project scientists and staff. Seeing the potent images in this book was part of the inspiration for what has grown into the Neutron Trail.

I am not aware of any books which cover the plight of local citizens living in the area surrounding the Trinity test site. The test was top-secret and these people were not warned to stay inside and yet, apparently, radioactive fallout fell on their homes and farms affecting water, food and cattle as well as having long term health effects for the families and their descendents. No long-term epidemiological or genetic damage studies have been done but there have been some government studies which corroborate reports of locals. – Contains clear list of academic references to the studies which have been done (scroll to bottom) as well as a thorough overview, (some editorializing).