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?
Richard Sears and Alva Curtis Roebuck brought consumer goods to the hands of every American with their Sears and Roebuck catalogue.
Brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright built a flying machine that made its first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.
This 11-hour series analyzes the costs and consequences of the war that changed a generation and continues to color American thinking today.
A look at the poor Scottish emigrant boy who built a fortune in telegraphy, railroads and steel, and then began systematically to give it all away.
Engineer James Eads tamed the mighty Mississippi, turning New Orleans into the second largest port in the nation.
The life of the legendary photographer, known best for his black and white images of the wilderness of the American West.
The Battle of the Bulge was the biggest and bloodiest single battle American soldiers ever fought.
A biography of the last outlaws of the American Wild West