I have examined Man's wonderful inventions. And I tell you that in the arts of life man invents nothing; but in the arts of death he outdoes Nature herself, and produces by chemistry and machinery all the slaughter of plague, pestilence and famine.... In the arts of peace, Man is a bungler.... His heart is in his weapons.
The Devil, in Act Three of
George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman
Nuclear war is the central terror of our time. Since 1945, humanity has lived in the shadow of the mushroom cloud. At first, the threat took the form of only a few atomic bombs in the hands of one government. Though in awe of their new weapons, most Americans initially thought of the bomb as a means to provide national security and to ensure peace, prosperity, and the American way of life. But other people in other countries looked for military means to secure their own interests. They too armed themselves, and many of them learned how to make nuclear weapons. Now we know that at least five countries have stockpiles of nuclear arms, and other countries could have them very soon. Many of the weapons are now thermonuclear devices, some of them as much as 1000 times bigger than those dropped on the horrified citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States has about 30,000 bombs of all types; the Soviet Union has