A nuclear weapon derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions of fusion or fission. As a result, even a nuclear weapon with a small yield is significantly more powerful than the largest conventional explosive, and a single weapon is capable of destroying a small city.
The only countries known to have detonated such weapons are, chronologically, the United States, the Soviet Union, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan & North Korea. Several other countries may hold nuclear weapons but have never publicly admitted possession (Israel & Iran are suspected.). South Africa secretly developed a small nuclear arsenal but disassembled it in the early 1990s.
Nuclear weapons have been at the heart of many international political disputes. They symbolize the ultimate ability of mankind to utilize the strength of nature for destruction. Nuclear weapons are symbols of military power and nuclear testing has often been used to send political messages. The development of nuclear arsenal promotes violence on a global scale. Of the 30,000 intact nuclear warheads throughout the world, 28,800 – 96% – belong to the US and Russia.
Here are the facts:
America spends $27 billion annually to prepare to fight a nuclear war. Between 1940 & 1995, $3.5 trillion were spent for the same reason.
To prepare for a nuclear war, the building, operation & maintenance of strategic weapons amounts to $11.4 billion.
Operating and maintaining tactical nuclear weapons is another $1 billion.
Upgrading command, control, intelligence and communications networks in support of the nuclear arsenal is a costly $7.8 billion.
This is all money that could have been spent to eradicate world hunger, provide scholarships & research grants, given as aid to third world economies, etc.
President Jimmy Carter, in his farewell address to the American people on January 14th, 1981 said:
“In an all out nuclear war, more destructive power than in all of WWII would be unleashed every second during the long afternoon it would take for all the missiles and bombs to fall. A World War II every second – more people killed in the first few hours than in all of the wars of history put together. The survivors, if any, would live in despair amid the poisoned ruins of a civilization that had committed suicide.”
On August 6, 1945, the nuclear weapon Little Boy was dropped on the Jap city of Hiroshima by the crew of an American B-29 bomber (Enola Gay), directly killing an estimated 70,000 people. By the end of the year, injury and radiation brought total casualties to 90,000 – 140,000. 69% of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed.
Three days later, August 9, the Fat Man was detonated over Nagasaki. 80,000 people died by the end of the year.
Since then, thousands more have died from illnesses attributed to radiation exposure released by the bombs (proven to cause cancer, tumors and physical mutations).
The radiation released by nuclear weapons is termed as ‘ionizing radiation‘. When absorbed by human tissue, it has enough energy to remove electrons from the atoms that make up the molecules of our tissue. When the electron that was shared by two atoms to form a bond is dislodged by this ionizing radiation, the bond is broken and the molecule falls apart.
Think about it this way: within a few seconds of Little Boy making contact with the city of Hiroshima, 70,000 Japanese citizens simultaneously “fell apart”.
On August 8th, 1945, Albert Camus said:
“We can sum it up in one sentence: Our technical civilization has just reached its greatest level of savagery. We will have to choose, in the more or less near future, between collective suicide and the intelligent use of our scientific conquests… Before the terrifying prospects now available to humanity, we see even more clearly that peace is the only goal worth struggling for. There is no longer a prayer, but a demand to be made by all peoples to their governments – a demand to choose definitively between hell and reason.”