Convinced that the H-bomb was a genocidal device that would cause excessive destruction, Oppenheimer believed an international agency should regulate nuclear weapons. He argued that the United States could secure its defense with a stockpile of atomic arms. However, at the height of the Cold War, defense hawks and anti-Communists saw Oppenheimer’s view as unpatriotic. Edward Teller and Lewis Strauss, two advocates for the hydrogen bomb, contributed to Oppenheimer’s humiliation in hearings that stripped him of his security clearance forever. The US-Soviet arms race would escalate for years.
Today, the world is attempting to control nuclear proliferation through diplomacy and treaties. In 1996, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty prohibited nations from using bombs for either military or research purposes. Forty-one states with nuclear capabilities have signed the treaty, but it cannot take effect until three more nations join. India, Pakistan, and North Korea are among the countries that have refused. Although the United States has signed the treaty, it has not ratified it yet.
As new nuclear states threaten to emerge and the international community strives to prevent proliferation, uncertainty and fear grow. Will terrorists obtain nuclear materials? Will nations be able to agree to contain weapons of mass destruction, or will a coming confrontation go nuclear?
In 1897, Arctic explorer Robert Peary caused a sensation when he returned from Greenland with five Eskimos.
The life story of Aimee Semple McPherson, religious evangelist instrumental in bringing conservative Protestantism into mainstream culture.
When two passenger ships collide off Nantucket in 1909, 1,500 people rely on 26-year-old Jack Binns to operate a new technology - wireless telegraphy - to save them all.
The remarkable story of how a railroad was built connecting California to the East.
The women's suffrage movement won the right to vote when the 19th Amendment passed in 1920.
In the Philippines, Army Rangers liberated 513 prisoners of war three years after the Bataan Death March.
The Battle of the Bulge was the biggest and bloodiest single battle American soldiers ever fought.
The impact of tuberculosis in America, once the deadliest killer in human history.