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Thinking About Nuclear WeaponsPrinciples, Problems, Prospects$
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Michael Quinlan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563944.001.0001

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The Nuclear Revolution

The Nuclear Revolution

Chapter:
(p.5) 1 The Nuclear Revolution
Source:
Thinking About Nuclear Weapons
Author(s):

Michael Quinlan (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563944.003.0002

This chapter starts with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by nuclear weapons in 1945, to terminate World War II. It considers what people at the time thought about the significance of this, and how they came to see that war-prevention had henceforth to be the cardinal rule. It discusses how strategists and planners had to transform their ideas radically—and sometimes with difficulty—to the reality that the new weapons created the reductio ad absurdum of all-out warfare. It suggests that scientific advance anyway made this inevitable sooner or later, by one route or another, as policies need to recognize. It considers what rational use nuclear weapons can have, and underscores that nuclear risk cannot be neatly sealed off but permeates all substantial armed conflict between major advanced powers.

Keywords:   Hiroshima, nuclear revolution, nuclear risk, rational use, reductio ad absurdum, scientific advance, war-prevention

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