Nuclear disarmament

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Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated.

Proponents of nuclear disarmament say that it would lessen the probability of nuclear war occurring, especially accidentally. Critics of nuclear disarmament say that it would undermine deterrence.

Contents

History

The movement for disarmament has varied from nation to nation over times.

A few prominent proponents of disarmament argued in the earliest days of the Cold War that the creation of an international watchdog organization could be used to enforce a ban against the creation of nuclear weapons. This initial movement largely failed. During the 1960s, a much stronger popular movement against nuclear weapons developed, rallying primarily around the fear of nuclear fallout from nuclear testing.

After the Partial Test Ban Treaty (1963), which prohibited atmospheric testing, the movement against nuclear weapons somewhat subsided in the 1970s (and was replaced in part by a movement against nuclear power). In the 1980s, a popular movement for nuclear disarmament again gained strength in the light of the weapons build-up and aggressive rhetoric of US President Ronald Reagan. Reagan had " "a world free of nuclear weapons" as his personal mission[1][2][3], and was largely scorned for this in Europe[3]. His officials tried to stop such talks but Reagan was able to start discussions on nuclear disarmament with Soviet Union[3]. He changed the name "SALT - Strategic Arms Limitation Talks - to START - Strategic Arms Reduction Talks[2]. After the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s the momentum again faded.

In the Soviet Union (USSR), voices against nuclear weapons were few and far between since there was no widespread Freedom of speech and Freedom of the press as political factors. Certain citizens who had become prominent enough to safely criticize the Soviet government, such as Andrei Sakharov, did speak out against nuclear weapons, but that was to little effect.

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