Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Joseph M. Siracusa

By Joseph M. Siracusa

Regardless of no longer having been utilized in anger for the reason that Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear guns are nonetheless the most important probability that faces us within the twenty first century. certainly, for the entire attempt to lessen nuclear stockpiles to 0 and to maintain different international locations (such as Iran) from constructing nuclear power, it appears the Bomb is the following to stick. during this gripping Very brief advent, Joseph M. Siracusa, an across the world revered authority on nuclear hands, offers a finished, obtainable, and from time to time chilling review of the main lethal weapon ever invented. Siracusa explains the background of the hands race and the politics of the bomb, starting from the expertise of nuclear guns, to the innovative implications of the H-bomb and the politics of nuclear deterrence. the problems are set opposed to a backdrop of the altering foreign panorama, from the early days of improvement, throughout the chilly struggle, to the present-day controversy over George W. Bush's nationwide Missile protection, and the function of nuclear guns in an Age of Terror. delivering an available and eye-opening backdrop to 1 of the main unsettling elements of the trendy global, this compact advent is needs to reading.

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Extra resources for Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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Enrico Fermi and Leó Szilárd quickly realized the first split or fission could cause a second, and so in a series of chain reactions, expanding in geometric progression. This was the moment Szilárd and fellow atomic scientists persuaded Einstein to write to Roosevelt. 15 Building the bomb Physicists everywhere soon recognized that if the chain reaction could be tamed, fission could lead to a promising new source of power. What was needed was a substance that could ‘moderate’ the energy of neutrons emitted in radioactive decay, so that they could be captured by other fissionable nuclei, with heavy water a prime candidate for the job.

On Monday 16 July 1945, at ‘Trinity’, the code-name for the Manhattan Project test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico, a group of officials and scientists led by Groves and Oppenheimer witnessed the first explosion of an atomic bomb. And what a show it was. A pinprick of brilliant light punctured the darkness of the New Mexico desert, vaporizing the tower and turning asphalt around the base of the tower to green sand. The bomb released the explosive force of nearly 19,000 tons of TNT, and the New Mexico sky was suddenly brighter than many suns.

Military planners hoped that the atomic bomb would be a ‘distinct advantage’ in war with the Soviet Union, at the same time as recognizing that the geography and structure of the Soviet Union offered relatively few high-value targets. Targeting cities such as Moscow and Leningrad was logistically viable but offered many disadvantages with little gain – against a country that had lost in the order of 27 million lives in World War II, the shock value was likely to be muted and the move was unlikely to contribute to victory.

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