The Perverse Sensibility of Nuclear War

In the 1950s and 1960s, it became clear that any strategy that involved threatening to start a nuclear war was playing with fire. But what was the alternative? Strategists began searching for ways to wage "limited" nuclear conflicts that wouldn't bring about Armageddon. But they soon found that putting limits on unlimited destructive power is easier said than done. This episode looks at the early efforts to contain the devastating potential of nuclear war, from an Army nuclear exercise in Louisiana to the Single Integrated Operational Plan to the Trump administration's effort to build lower-yield nuclear weapons. Usha tries to understand the mindset of the people making decisions about nuclear war - human beings trying to solve a problem that seemed to challenge their very humanity.    Guests: Dr. Alex Wellerstein, Dr. Janne Nolan, Dr. Will Hitchcock, Dr. Lynn Eden, Dr. Marc Trachtenberg.

Om Podcasten

A podcast about the dawn of the nuclear age, hosted by Usha Sahay and produced by War on the Rocks, with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In each episode, Usha takes listeners on a journey into the early years of the Cold War, telling stories about the dilemmas nuclear weapons posed for American and Soviet leaders, and introducing a fascinating cast of characters who were all trying to prevent Armageddon in different ways. Along the way, Usha interviews scholars and other nuclear experts to help make sense of the many atomic mysteries that have yet to be solved.