Washington, D.C., April 8, 2021 – The United States and its European allies disagreed over the advisability of using nuclear weapons to signal resolve and deter war if a serious crisis with Moscow over West Berlin broke out, according to a review of declassified records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.
Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
Washington D.C., May 26, 2021 – “The United States came fairly close to using tactical nuclear weapons” during the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1958, according to a top-secret 1966 RAND summary report posted today for the first time by the National Security Archive. Washington contemplated this extreme response to anticipated Chinese aggression “despite opposition to its policy by most of its allies and many in the United States,” the report notes.
Washington D.C., December 18, 2020 – Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan was born on November 25, 1895, in Armenia. From a modest background and early revolutionary activity in Armenia he joined the Bolsheviks and eventually became one of the most significant statesmen of the Soviet Union. On the 125th anniversary of his birth, historians still debate his role in Soviet domestic and foreign policy. Soviet folklore had a saying about Mikoyan: “from Ilyich [Vladimir Ilyich Lenin] to Ilyich [Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev] without a heart attack or paralysis,” meaning that he manage
Overkill, Assured Destruction, and the Search for Nuclear Alternatives: U.S. Nuclear Forces During the Cold War
Washington, D.C., May 22, 2020 – Seventy-five years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the start of the atomic era, questions about the value, danger, and morality of nuclear weapons continue to present a huge challenge for politicians, military strategists, and ordinary citizens.
Washington, D.C., October 30, 2019 – The current crisis with Turkey over Syria has raised questions, yet to be resolved, about the security of 50 U.S. nuclear weapons stored at Incirlik Air Base. These questions have been posed before, going back almost to the start of nuclear deployments in Turkey in 1959. How the United States responds carries implications for the region, for U.S.-Turkey relations, and for NATO.
Washington, DC, October 3, 2019 – When the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles in Cuba nearly 60 years ago, American officials refused to believe that at least one Soviet motivation was the defense of Cuba. But declassified U.S. documents published in the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) confirm a series of sometimes frenetic covert operations ordered by the Kennedy White House and run by the CIA in those years to overthrow the Castro regime that in hindsight make Moscow’s (and Havana’s) concerns about defending the island much more credible.
The National Security Archive is publishing a set of documents to commemorate the life and achievements of Llewellyn Thompson and highlight the publication of a biography of him written by his daughters, Jenny Thompson and Sherry Thompson (The Kremlinologist: Llewellyn E Thompson, America's Man in Cold War Moscow (Johns Hopkins Nuclear History and Contemporary Affairs, 2018). The posting contains never before published translations of Russian memcons with Khrushchev and Thompson’s cables from Moscow.
Washington D.C., April 20, 2018 – Back-channel diplomacy, conducted by an ABC News reporter named Lisa Howard resolved a potential crisis with Cuba in mid-1964, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive. After the CIA obtained “disturbing” intelligence reports that Fidel Castro had threatened to shoot down U.S. reconnaissance planes in retaliation for the Coast Guard seizure of four Cuban fishing boats, Howard secretly traveled to Cuba to convey a U.S.
Washington, D.C., January 11, 2018 - A new book by long-time colleagues of the National Security Archive, James G. Blight and janet M. Lang, offers a fresh exploration of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and plumbs its lessons on the continuing dangers of nuclear war.