30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Strategy and Weapons

Mar 1, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 1, 2012 – During the 2008 campaign, Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama debated the question: who was best suited to be suddenly awakened at 3 a.m. in the White House to make a tough call in a crisis. The candidates probably meant news of trouble in the Middle East or a terrorist attack in the United States or in a major ally, not an 'end of the world' phone call about a major nuclear strike on the United States. In fact at least one such phone call occurred during the Cold War, but it did not go to the President.

Oct 11, 2011 | Briefing Book
Annex A. Reproduction of DVD Box (front and back) Annex B. Table of Contents Annex C. List of Interviewees What follows is a subjective report on some highlights of the 4 DVDs with a sometimes critical assessment of the coverage. Viewers should skip (or postpone reading) the report, so they can see the documentary without preconceptions. Some may find the commentary useful later as they consider what they have seen and revisit some of the chapters. Disk 1, 1945-1954: Chapters 1 through 9

Mar 25, 2011 | News
Washington, DC, March 25, 2011 - Ron Rosenbaum's new book, How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III, praises the National Security Archive's Nuclear Vault as an "astonishing compilation of declassified discussions about the bomb." Rosenbaum, a columnist for Slate Magazine and the author of several well-received books, including Explaining Hitler and The Shakespeare Wars, has explored the danger of nuclear weapons since the late 1970s, when he published a major piece in Harper’s on nuclear command and control and weapons and the problem of “moral choice” raised by the existenc

Feb 19, 2011 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 19, 2011 - "The Power of Decision" may be the first (and perhaps the only) U.S. government film depicting the Cold War nightmare of a U.S.-Soviet nuclear conflict. The U.S. Air Force produced it during 1956-1957 at the request of the Strategic Air Command. Unseen for years and made public for the first time by the National Security Archive, the film depicts the U.S. Air Force's implementation of war plan "Quick Strike" in response to a Soviet surprise attack against the United States and European and East Asian allies.

Nov 16, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 16, 2010 - To counter a Soviet bomber attack, U.S. war plans contemplated widespread use of thousands of air defense weapons during the middle years of the Cold War according to declassified documents posted today at the National Security Archive's Nuclear Vault and cited by a recently published book, Continental Defense in the Eisenhower Era: Nuclear Antiaircraft Arms and the Cold War (Palgrave Macmillan) by historian Christopher J. Bright. The U.S.

Jun 23, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 23, 2010 - Four decades ago, in response to North Korean military provocations, the U.S. developed contingency plans that included selected use of tactical nuclear weapons against Pyongyang’s military facilities and the possibility of full-scale war, according to recently declassified documents.

Dec 10, 2009 | Briefing Book
"Each side took steps to ensure its own security which the other in turn perceived as threatening its security." -- Raymond L. Garthoff (Note 1) Washington, D.C., December 10, 2009 - Thirty years ago, on 12 December 1979, NATO defense and foreign ministers made a landmark decision designed to unify the alliance, but which also contributed to the collapse of dйtente and helped provide an agenda for the end of the Cold War. On the anniversary of the NATO "dual-track" decision that linked deployments of U.S.

Sep 11, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, September 11, 2009 - During a 1972 command post exercise, leaders of the Kremlin listened to a briefing on the results of a hypothetical war with the United States. A U.S. attack would kill 80 million Soviet citizens and destroy 85 percent of the country's industrial capacity.

Jul 17, 2009 | Briefing Book
Pentagon classification authorities are treating classified historical documents as if they contain today's secrets, rather than decades-old information that has not been secret for years. Today the National Security Archive posted multiple versions of the same documents—on issues ranging from the 1973 October War to anti-ballistic missiles, strategic arms control, and U.S. policy toward China—that are already declassified and in the public domain.

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