A History of Things That Didn’t Happen


The history of nuclear weapons is, thankfully, largely a history of things that haven’t happened.  Since 1945, nuclear weapons have dominated strategy and statecraft, but they have not been used after the first two bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Professor Frank Gavin of Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, and Chair of the Texas National Security Review editorial board, discusses the history and politics of nuclear strategy and statecraft.  His talk is both wide-ranging and specific. Gavin examines the big issues related to nuclear weapons, and the paradoxes of strategy that possession of nuclear weapons creates — such as the fact that the only way to ensure that these terrible weapons are never used is to appear to be credibly poised to use them.  This talk was presented as part of the Summer Seminar on History and Statecraft sponsored by the Clements Center at the University of Texas, Austin, and held at Beaver Creek, Colorado.

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