Washington D.C., July 16, 2021 - The United Kingdom in the 1970s and 1980s aspired to improve its nuclear weapons capability to bomb Soviet targets, including major cities, without having to depend on the United States, according to documents obtained and posted today by the National Security Archive. British officials had a variety of motives for seeking advanced modern submarine-launched ballistic missiles, from retaining their status as a nuclear power, to uncertainty about American reliability down the road, to a desire to stay ahead of their continental rivals the Fre
Nuclear Strategy and Weapons
Washington D.C., May 28, 2021 – “The United States came fairly close to using tactical nuclear weapons” during the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1958, according to a 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., May 13, 2021—British leaders were determined to become a nuclear power after World War II in part so they could have a “seat at the top table” of international negotiations, according to a 1965 State Department intelligence report published today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive. London also wanted to be able to present its own “independent” deterrent to the Soviet Union to mitigate its reliance on U.S. forces, records show.
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.
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., February 17, 2021 – “What might have happened that day in November 1983 if we had begun a precautionary generation of forces” against a Soviet alert in response to the Able Archer 83 NATO nuclear release exercise? This is the question Lieutenant General Leonard H. Perroots asked in his January 1989 End of Tour Report Addendum published this week in the State Department’s Foreign Relations of the United States series, edited by Elizabeth C. Charles.
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
Washington D.C., November 10, 2020 — After Harvard professor Henry Kissinger met with top Israeli officials in January 1965, he told U.S. diplomats at the Embassy in Tel Aviv of his near certainty that Israel had begun a nuclear weapons project, according to a record of the meeting, which has recently been declassified and is published here for the first time by the National Security Archive. Kissinger added that Israeli scientists were “very certain that such weapons were necessary and that they knew how to make them.”
Washington, D.C., September 16, 2020 – The NATO nuclear stockpile arrangements that have persisted since the Cold War were initially negotiated during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, facilitating the controversial nuclear sharing arrangements with the allies. The deployments, begun in part as a deterrent against East-West conflict, involved the assignment of hundreds and then thousands of nuclear weapons, and currently some 150 weapons, to NATO allies.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the National Security Archive is updating and reposting one of its most popular e-books of the past 25 years.