The Rise and Fall of Nuclearism: Fear and Faith as Determinants of the Arms Race

By Sheldon Ungar | Go to book overview

4
Managing the Confounding Power

There is no way to recapture the shock of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It requires an extraordinary feat of historical imagination to recreate the surprise and drama and horror of the day the world first learned of the atomic bomb. And it is all but impossible to recall the instant change in American thinking, the new sense of confidence and power the first atomic explosions engendered.1

This is how the historian Gar Alperovitz describes the results of the use of the bomb. As sole possessor of this weapon, America was in a unique position. With the master card shown around the table, there was the hope of winning a substantial pot. The public announcement following the attack on Hiroshima stated that the bomb had more power than twenty thousand tons of TNT. This was, the announce-

____________________
1
Alperovitz ( 1985, 188).

-57-

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The Rise and Fall of Nuclearism: Fear and Faith as Determinants of the Arms Race
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - God, Progress, and the Great Collapse 11
  • 2 - The Drama of Omnipotence 25
  • 3 - The Testing and Display of Indispensable Power 43
  • 4 - Managing the Confounding Power 57
  • 5 - The Soviet Atomic Bomb- Korean War Panic 77
  • 6 - Sputnik and the Challenge to America's Destiny 105
  • 7 - The Cuban Missile Crisis 123
  • 8 - Nuclear Forgetting Versus Totalitarian Omnipotence 135
  • 9 - First Strikes and the Window-Of- Vulnerability Panic 157
  • Conclusion 177
  • References 191
  • Index 207
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