The Nuclear Club


On this episode of Horns of a Dilemma, Jonathan Hunt talks about his book, The Nuclear Club: How America and the World Policed the Atom from Hiroshima to Vietnam. Hunt starts out with an anecdote about the origins of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty under U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Special Assistant for National Security Affairs Walt Whitman Rostow. He then outlines the core argument of his book: that parallel to the nuclear revolution was a “counter-revolution” to prevent the universalization of nuclear weapons, therefore maintaining the dominance of the “nuclear club” of nuclear-armed states. He then discusses the sequence of events that led to the implementation of nuclear laws, including the Limited Test Ban Treaty and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Finally, he touches on the lessons of this narrative and how the politics of nuclear diplomacy during the Cold War led to the rise of a “paternal” U.S. presidency. This was recorded at the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin.



The views expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Air War College, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Image: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library