The Nuclear Weapon Archive provides current information, technical data, and informative write-ups. The Trinity Site focuses on historical information, especially reproductions of public domain documents. Nuclear Weapon Enduring Stockpile. Nuclear Weapon Enduring Stockpile , U. Nuclear Forces and the W62 and W76 warheads.
Updated U. Contact email changed. The ever popular nuclear test images are accessed through these links. Regrettably a vast amount of reference material once available on-line has been removed in the wake of , and large amounts of material continue to disappear. For example, all informational sites at Los Alamos have vanished as of this writing 20 May I removed some links that are no longer active, but many others may be no longer available. Several pages of excellent links to other DOE information sites are accessible from here.
A valuable resource. Hosted by Princeton Univ.
Federation of American Scientists: Nuclear resources Lots of stuff here, browse around. Stephen Schwartz's list of U. Nuclear Data Table Index For up-to-date data on nuclear forces for all powers and more , this is the place to go! Unless Europe unites, the United States will remain economically well ahead of other states. In the old days weaker powers could improve their positions through alliance by adding the strength of foreign armies to their own. Cannot some of the middle states do together what they are unable to do alone?
First, nuclear forces do not add up. The technology of warheads, of delivery vehicles, of detection and surveillance devices, of command and control systems, count more than the size of forces. Combining separate national forces is not much help. To achieve this has proved politically impossible. At the strategic level he was right. States fear dividing their strategic labours fully—from research and development through production, planning, and deployment.
Decisions to use nuclear weapons may be decisions to commit suicide. Only a national authority can be entrusted with the decision, again as de Gaulle always claimed. Entering the great-power club was easier when great powers were larger in number and smaller in size. With fewer and bigger ones, barriers to entry have risen.
The club will long remain the world's most exclusive one. We need not fear that the spread of nuclear weapons will turn the world into a multipolar one.
Nuclear weapons have been the second force working for peace in the post-war world. They make the cost of war seem frighteningly high and thus discourage states from starting any wars that might lead to the use of such weapons. Much of the writing about the spread of nuclear weapons has this unusual trait: It tells us that what did no, happen in the past is likely to happen in the future, that tomorrow's nuclear states are likely to do to one another what today's nuclear states have not done.
A happy nuclear past leads many to expect an unhappy nuclear future.
Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom - Wikipedia
States coexist in a condition of anarchy. Self-help is the principle of action in an anarchic order, and the most important way in which states must help themselves is by providing for their own security. Therefore, in weighing the chances for peace, the first questions to ask are questions about the ends for which states use force and about the strategies and weapons they employ. The chances of peace rise if states can achieve their most important ends without actively using force. War becomes less likely as the costs of war rise in relation to possible gains.
How nuclear weapons affect the chances for peace is seen by considering the possible strategies of states. Force may be used for offence, for defence, for deterrence, and for coercion. Consider offence first. Germany and France before World War 1 provide a classic case of two adversaries each neglecting its defence and both planning to launch major attacks at the outset of war. France favoured offence over defence, because only by fighting an offensive war could Alsace-Lorraine be reclaimed. This illustrates one purpose of the offence: namely, conquest.
Germany favoured offence over defence. Hemmed in by two adversaries. The Plan illustrates another purpose of the offence: namely, security. Even if security had been Germany's only goal, an offensive strategy seemed to be the way to obtain it. The offence may have either or both of two aims: conquest and security.
The UK's nuclear deterrent: what you need to know
An offence may be conducted in either or in some combination of two ways: preventively or pre-emptively. If two countries are unequal in strength and the weaker is gaining, the stronger may be tempted to strike before its advantage is lost. Following this logic, a country with nuclear weapons may be tempted to destroy the nascent force of a hostile country. This would be preventive war, a war launched against a weak country before it can become disturbingly strong. The logic of pre-emption is different.
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Leaving aside the balance of forces, one country may strike another country's offensive forces to blunt an attack that it presumes is about to be made. Mutual vulnerability of forces leads to mutual fear of surprise attack by giving each power a strong incentive to strike first. Whether pre-emptive or preventive, an offensive first strike is a hard one. A pre-emptive strike is designed to eliminate or decisively reduce the opponent's ability to retaliate. A preventive strike is designed to defeat an adversary before he can develop and deploy his full potential might.
I should add, are not planned according to military logic alone. Political logic may lead a country another country to attack even in the absence of an expectation of military victory, as Egypt did in October of How can one state dissuade another state from attacking?
In either or in some combination of two ways. One way to counter an intended attack is to build fortifications and to muster forces that look forbiddingly strong. To build defences so patently strong that no one will try to destroy or overcome them would make international life perfectly tranquil. I call this the defensive ideal. The other way to inhibit a country's intended aggressive moves is to scare that country out of making them by threatening to visit unacceptable punishment upon it.
Defence and deterrence are often confused. One frequently hears statements like this: 'A strong defence in Europe will deter a Russian attack'.
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What is meant is that a strong defence will dissuade Russia from attacking. Deterrence is achieved not through the ability to defend but through the ability to punish. Purely deterrent forces provide no defence. The message of a deterrent strategy is this: 'Although we are defenceless, if you attack we will punish you to an extent that more than cancels your gains'. Second-strike nuclear forces serve that kind of strategy. They offer no means of punishment. The message of a defensive strategy is this: 'Although we cannot strike back, you will find our defences so difficult to overcome that you will dash yourself to pieces against them'.
The Maginot Line was to serve that kind of strategy. States may also use force for coercion. This is blackmail, which can now be backed by conventional and by nuclear threats. Do nuclear weapons increase or decrease the chances of war? If nuclear weapons make the offence more effective and the blackmailer's threat more compelling, then nuclear weapons increase the chances of war—the more so the more widely they spread. Lf defence and deterrence are made easier and more reliable by the spread of nuclear weapons, we may expect the opposite result.