.. 1946 the United Nations created the Atomic Energy Commission to propose peaceful usage of atomic energy and “eventual elimination of weapons of mass destruction” (“International Agreements” 1). The Commission’s attempt to somewhat control the usage of atomic energy became a failure when the Soviet Union vetoed the plan (1). In 1958, however, conferences between the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union met in Geneva to discuss a treaty banning nuclear testing (1). The three nations agreed on voluntary disarmament for a full year (1). The voluntary disarmament seemed like a great leap forward for all three nations until the Soviet Union resumed testing in 1961 (1).
President Dwight D. Eisenhower expressed his frustration shortly thereafter, “[Not achieving a nuclear test ban] would have to be classed as the greatest disappointment of any administration, of any decade, of any time and of any party” (“Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers” 1). Soon afterwards the Soviet Union realized its mistake and reached the Moscow Agreement with Great Britain and the United States in 1963; banning testing in the atmosphere, in outer space, and underwater (“International Agreements” 1).* The Soviet Union’s willingness to limit nuclear testing led to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) in 1972. In these “talks” the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to limit antiballistic missiles (missiles used to track down and shoot intercontinental ballistic missiles, ICBMs) and an accord limiting ICBMs (1). Two years later the SALT II talks began, further limiting other weapons, such as Ballistic missile launchers, and now entirely banning ICBMs (1).
Although the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks didn’t entirely resolve the global nuclear threat, they moved the two world powers towards progressive disarmament. In 1982 the United States and the Soviet Union started a new round of negotiations called the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) (1). Additional limitations were included in both START talks (1). Once the iron curtain fell and the Soviet Union disintegrated, Russia would be removed of its nuclear weapons and the nuclear conflict was resolved (1). The movement towards worldwide disarmament is now overwhelmingly strong. Many new organizations have been formed to try to totally abolish nuclear weapons (“Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers” 1). Here are a few examples of a couple pro-disarmament organizations and programs: ? Association of French Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War ? Center for Nonproliferation Studies (Monterey Institute of International Studies) ? Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers ? Comit de St-Etienne du Mouvement de la Paix ? Federation of American Scientists, Cooperative Research Program on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament ? Folkkampanjen mot krnkraft och krnvapen [Swedish Anti-Nuclear Movement] ? Henry L.
Stimson Center ? Campaign for the Non-Proliferation Treaty ? Committee on Nuclear Policy ? Eliminating Weapons of Mass Destruction ? Nuclear Roundtable ? International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War ? Los Alamos National Laboratory, Nonproliferation and International Security Division ? Nonproliferation and International Security Division brochure ? Medical Association for the Prevention of War (Australia) ? Non-violent Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons [Gewaltfreie Aktion Atomwaffen Abschaffen] ? Nuclear Abolition Network [Abolition 2000] ? Nuclear Age Peace Foundation ? Nuclear Free Local Authorities (UK) ? Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament ? United States, Dept. of Defense, Counterproliferation WebNetwork [CPN] ? United States, Dept. of Energy, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Research and Development Program [CTBT R] ? United States National Data Center ? World Court Project (Listed from “Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers” 1). Public Change in Thinking Today the media greatly influences public opinion in matters of nuclear weapons. Movies such as “Threads,” “Dr. Strangelove”, “Testament,” and “The Day After” have all impacted on public opinion and caused a fair deal of controversy over content and ideas expressed (“TV’s Nuclear Nightmare” 66). “The Day After,” a movie made by ABC Productions and directed by Nicholas Meyer, is a movie with “four minutes of the most horrifically searing footage ever to pass a network censor ..
” inspired by the usage of the atomic bombs and the nuclear weapons controversy (66). “The Day After” has changed the very idea of television by using it as a source of public influence. The movie had “emerged as the single biggest mobilizing point for the antinuclear movement .. regarded as a two hour commercial for disarmament” (66). “The Day After” had inspired a nationwide debate about the horrors of nuclear war and how to increase awareness (66).
On November 20, 1983 “The Day After” premiered on network television that had opened the controversy of a nuclear threat (“The Day After” 2). “Our twentieth century is the century of fear .. ” the movie states referring to almost unavoidable nuclear devastation (2). More importantly “the threat of annihilation through nuclear war [had] influenced – consciously and unconsciously – entire generations, coloring their attitudes toward the future, family, marriage, work, time, leisure, and death” (2). The public’s opinion toward nuclear war had also been heard earlier in the 1960’s. Atom Ant was a popular cartoon broadcast by Hanna Barbera Productions inspired by the atomic bomb tests, the demonstrations against them, and the concern about nuclear fallout at the time (“Atom Ant” 1).
Atom Ant’s battle cry, “up and atom, Atom Ant!” had been a reference to the Cold War and the situation between the East and West (1). Public opinion undoubtedly expressed fear and concern as to what could happen if nuclear weapons were to be used again. Conclusion I believe that the deployment of the first two atomic bombs has greatly changed today’s political, military, and public opinion of nuclear weapons. A common thread of fearing nuclear weapons greatly influences the world’s opinion. Politically the world has learned from history, showing that the resolution of World War II with the atomic bomb only created more conflict, controversy, and caution.
The world realized it’s own mortality and that it could be completely obliterated by the endlessly growing size of nuclear weaponry. People have taken god’s judgement into their own hands and could place punishment towards anyone with a single bomb. I believe its not humanity’s place to control its own destruction. Militarily the world powers have developed a fear of progressive technology now that they have seen what the atomic bomb has accomplished. Not only through disarmament but also by creating limitations on research and censorship of technology.
Good examples of these limitations can be found in the new discoveries of cloning and chemical warfare. Man is rightfully afraid to take the world’s fate into his own hands. Public opinion has also been impacted by the atomic bombs creation. I believe the public looks back at the bombs with a sense of awe, fear, and sorrow. The fact that man has created a weapon powerful enough to destroy the earth is astounding.
It is also very frightening. The public is compassionate towards the families and lives lost of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I don’t believe the world can ever forget how these bombs have changed our lives, not only changing the process of creating weapons but also changing the process of discovery. History.