Sharing the Bomb: Nonproliferation, Deterrence, and Foreign Nuclear Deployments

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When the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan in August 1945, it

launched a grand contest between two forces: nations determined to prevent the spread of

nuclear weapons, and those determined to acquire their own. Early hopes of a long-
lasting American atomic monopoly were dashed by the Soviet Union’s first atomic test in

1949, followed by Great Britain in 1952, France in 1960, and China in 1964. Three more

nations (Israel, India, and South Africa) successfully crossed the nuclear threshold by

1980, and by 1990 Pakistan had joined the nuclear club as well.


Todd S. Sechser

Associate Professor of Politics,

University of Virginia