Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1945-1962
Martin Sherwin, Elaine Tyler May, and Sayuri Romei discuss "Gambling with Armageddon" at the Washington History Seminar.
This event is being hosted by Politics and Prose, please direct any registration questions to their website.
In this groundbreaking look at the Cuban Missile Crisis, Martin Sherwin not only gives us a riveting sometimes hour-by-hour explanation of the crisis itself, but also explores the origins, scope, and consequences of the evolving place of nuclear weapons in the post-World War II world. Mining new sources and materials, and going far beyond the scope of earlier works on this critical face-off between the United States and the Soviet Union--triggered when Khrushchev began installing missiles in Cuba at Castro's behest--Sherwin shows how this volatile event was an integral part of the wider Cold War and was a consequence of nuclear arms. Gambling with Armageddon looks in particular at the original debate in the Truman Administration about using the Atomic Bomb; the way in which President Eisenhower relied on the threat of massive retaliation to project U.S. power in the early Cold War era; and how President Kennedy, though unprepared to deal with the Bay of Pigs debacle, came of age during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Here too is a clarifying picture of what was going on in Khrushchev's Soviet Union. Martin Sherwin has spent his career in the study of nuclear weapons and how they have shaped our world . Gambling with Armageddon is an outstanding capstone to his work thus far.
Martin J. Sherwin is the author of A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and Its Legacies, which won the Stuart L. Bernath Prize, as well as the American History Book Prize, and the coauthor, with Kai Bird, of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2006. He and his wife live in Washington, D.C., and in Aspen, CO.
The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University and the National History Center) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partners (the George Washington University History Department and the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest) for their continued support.
Christian F. Ostermann
Woodrow Wilson Center
Professor of History, The George Washington University. Director, National History Center of the American Historical Association.
History and Public Policy Program
The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs. Read more
Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
The Nuclear Proliferation International History Project is a global network of individuals and institutions engaged in the study of international nuclear history through archival documents, oral history interviews, and other empirical sources. At the Wilson Center, it is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. Read more
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