Hiroshima: The World's Bomb

By Andrew J. Rotter | Go to book overview

Epilogue
Nightmares and Hopes

More than sixty years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, people still have nuclear nightmares. Some imagine a resumption of the Cold War, in which disagreements over human rights or interference in domestic affairs or competition over scarce resources like oil results in a dusting-off of atomic arsenals in the United States, Russia, and China. Others imagine nuclear weapons in the hands of irrational dictators or rogue nations. What if North Korea develops nuclear weapons, as it has frequently threatened to do? Its leader, Kim Jong-Il, an unpredictable man who has nevertheless made a habit of carrying out his threats, might hold hostage to his demands South Korea and Japan, and much of East Asia. What if Iran goes nuclear? Early 2007 estimates are that, if Tehran continues at its current present pace of refining uranium, it could have a bomb as soon as 2009; the Iranian leadership has denied the Holocaust and speculated openly about wiping Israel off the map. The suspicion that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had obtained yellowcake from Niger was one (of several) reasons given by the George W. Bush administration for launching war on Iraq in the spring of 2003. That suspicion was unfounded. Still, worried about Iran and the chronic instability of the region, Middle Eastern governments have begun pressing forward with nuclear programs of their own. Saudi Arabia in particular has recently shown a desire to have nuclear power, though the likes of Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates have also acknowledged interest. ‘We will develop [nuclear power] openly,’ declared the Saudi Foreign Minister. ‘We want no bombs. All we want is a whole Middle East that is free from weapons of mass destruction,’ including both Israel and Iran. The world has heard such denials before.1

There is another nightmare, and it is perhaps more frightening because it is harder to predict. A terrorist is supplied with a small bomb built

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Hiroshima: The World's Bomb
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Making of the Modern World ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Praise for Hiroshima vi
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • Plates xi
  • Introduction - The World’s Bomb 1
  • One - The World’s Atom 7
  • Two - Great Britain- Refugees, Air Power, and the Possibility of the Bomb 31
  • Three - Japan and Germany- Paths Not Taken 59
  • Four - The United States I- Imagining and Building the Bomb 88
  • Five - The United States II- Using the Bomb 127
  • Six - Japan- The Atomic Bombs and War’s End 177
  • Seven - The Soviet Union- The Bomb and the Cold War 228
  • Eight - The World’s Bomb 270
  • Epilogue - Nightmares and Hopes 304
  • Notes 310
  • Bibliographical Essay 340
  • Credits 356
  • Index 357
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