Friday, January 20, 2017

Book: Dark Sun: The Making Of The Hydrogen Bomb

Dark Sun: The Making Of The Hydrogen Bomb, Rhodes, Richard, documents the history and politics of hydrogen bomb development both in the USA and the Soviet Union. For the story of atomic bomb development see my previous post.

My highlights:
If real political leaders understood from one end of the Cold War to the other that even one hydrogen bomb was sufficient deterrence, why did they allow the arms race to devour the wealth of the nation while it increased the risk of an accidental Armageddon? In 1982, political scientist Miroslav Nincic examined the economics of the arms race and discovered that it was hardly a race at all; US and Soviet levels of defense spending were only weakly coupled at best. Far more influential on the US side were such domestic political phenomena as competition among the military services, coalitions of scientific and industrial organizations promoting new technologies, the pressure of “defense” as a political issue and defense spending to prime the economic pump, particularly in election years.

The story of SAC efforts to force a nuclear confrontation from 1950 onward is probably even more frightening than I have been able to document.

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