"The most thorough and most authoritative study to date of the evolution of U.S. nuclear disarmament policy."—Lawrence S. Kaplan, author of The Long Entanglement: NATO’s First Fifty Years
the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 quickly ushered in a popular and political movement toward nuclear disarmament. Across the globe, heads of state, high-ranking ministers, and bureaucrats led intense efforts to achieve effective disarmament agreements. Ultimately these efforts failed. In The American Nuclear Disarmament Dilemma, David Tal offers a detailed analysis of U.S. policy from 1945 to the summer of 1963, exploring the reasons for failure and revealing the complex motivations that eventually led to the Limited Test Ban Treaty.
While previous books have focused on the policies of specific administrations, Tal’s is the first to consider negotiations as an evolving phenomenon that preoccupied three presidents, from Truman to Kennedy. Drawing on extensive archival research, the author examines the profound dilemma faced by leaders on all sides—forced by political pressure to engage in negotiations whose success they saw as injurious to national interests. Far from believing that the nuclear arms race would inevitably lead to war, the United States regarded nuclear weapons as the greatest guarantee that war would not happen.
David Tal is a visiting professor of history at Emory University and has been a visiting associate professor of history and international relations at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is the author of War in Palestine, 1948: Strategy and Diplomacy and the editor of The 1956 War: Collusion and Rivalry in the Middle East.
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