Atomic Proliferation

June 30, 1965

Report Outline
Threat of a Rapid Atomic Escalation
Twenty Years of Nuclear Weaponry
Current Efforts to Halt Proliferation

Threat of a Rapid Atomic Escalation

Communist China's second detonation of a nuclear device, May 14, gave added urgency to the unsolved problem of preventing the spread of atomic and hydrogen weapons of war. The specter of nuclear proliferation was a central concern of the 114 countries represented at recent deliberations of the United Nations Disarmament Commission in New York. It is generally assumed that widespread distribution of nuclear arms among the nations of the world would increase dangerously the possibility of nuclear war.

When the nuclear club was limited to the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain, the world achieved an uneasy ability to live with the bomb. The three atomic powers showed increasing awareness of the horrors of nuclear warfare and increasing recognition of their obligation to act with special restraint in situations of grave crisis. But the rapid development and dissemination of nuclear technology, as well as a reduction in the cost of producing atomic bombs, substantially enlarged the number of countries capable of manufacturing nuclear weapons and put a new face on the question of averting the tragedy of nuclear war.

Countries Capable of Producing Nuclear Bombs

Because numerous countries now have the technological and economic capacity to undertake nuclear weapons programs, there has arisen what is called, in the terminology of the nuclear age, the “Nth country problem.” As the National Planning Association's Committee on Security Through Arms Control observed some years ago in a discussion of nuclear proliferation:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Jul. 29, 2016  Modernizing the Nuclear Arsenal
Mar. 08, 2002  Weapons of Mass Destruction
Jan. 31, 1997  Chemical and Biological Weapons
Jun. 24, 1994  Nuclear Arms Cleanup
Jun. 05, 1992  Nuclear Proliferation
Jun. 29, 1990  Obstacles to Bio-Chemical Disarmament
Apr. 22, 1988  The Military Build-Down in the 1990s
May 24, 1987  Euromissile Negotiations
Jul. 11, 1986  Chemical Weapons
Apr. 27, 1984  Reagan's Defense Buildup
Jun. 04, 1982  Civil Defense
Jul. 17, 1981  Controlling Nuclear Proliferation
Jun. 05, 1981  MX Missile Decision
Aug. 15, 1980  The Neutron Bomb and European Defense
Sep. 07, 1979  Atomic Secrecy
Mar. 17, 1978  Nuclear Proliferation
May 27, 1977  Chemical-Biological Warfare
May 13, 1977  Politics of Strategic Arms Negotiations
Nov. 15, 1974  Nuclear Safeguards
Jul. 01, 1970  Nuclear Balance of Terror: 25 Years After Alamogordo
Jun. 18, 1969  Chemical–Biological Weaponry
Jun. 30, 1965  Atomic Proliferation
Mar. 21, 1962  Nuclear Testing Dilemmas
Aug. 16, 1961  Shelters and Survival
Oct. 12, 1959  Chemical-Biological Warfare
May 13, 1959  Nuclear Test Ban
Dec. 04, 1957  Scientific Cooperation and Atlantic Security
May 15, 1957  Changing Defense Concepts
Jul. 03, 1956  Civil Defense, 1956
Nov. 16, 1955  International Arms Deals
Oct. 04, 1954  Industrial Defense
Apr. 15, 1954  National Defense Strategy
Feb. 10, 1954  New Aproaches to Atomic Control
Oct. 10, 1953  Atomic Information
Apr. 11, 1952  Biological Warfare
Oct. 03, 1951  World Arms Race
Feb. 04, 1948  International Control of Atomic Energy
Dec. 06, 1946  International Inspection
Aug. 27, 1943  Gas Warfare
Jul. 24, 1937  The New Race in Armaments
May 05, 1932  Abolition of Aggressive Weapons
Arms Control and Disarmament
Cold War
U.S. at War: Cold War