Nuclear History

Origins and Evolution of the Brazilian Nuclear Program (1947-2011)

The quest to develop an indigenous and fully independent nuclear program has long been an ambition of Brazilian political, scientific, economic and military officials.

Declassified 1964 National Intelligence Estimate Predicts India’s Bomb But Not Israel’s

  • New Release Reports Country-by-Country Nuclear Capabilities,

  • Fresh Data on Global Proliferation Trends in Mid-1960s

  • Finds “Better than Even” Chance India Will Soon Build a Bomb; But Mistakenly Concludes Israeli Leaders “Probably Have Not Yet Decided”

  • NIE’s Findings Add to Debate about How One State’s Acquisition of Nuclear Capability Could Affect Decisions by Regional Rivals

On The Brink Part 6: Final Thoughts on The Cuban Missle Crisis

In our final chapter, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Martin J. Sherwin looks at the big picture of the crisis within the Cold War and offers thoughts on the ultimate lessons learned from the super power standoff.


On The Brink Part 5: The Cuban Missile Crisis 50 Years Later

In the latest chapter of our "On The Brink" series, we explore the meaning and relevance of the term, "nuclear order of battle" with Robert S. Norris from the Federation of American Scientists. If the worst had happened, how would escalation have occured? Norris' research is the first that attempts to answer this question.

Part 6 - Coming Monday, October 29


On The Brink Part 1: The Cuban Missile Crisis 50 Years Later

Many believed that the Cold War would end with the ultimate bang. And for two weeks in October of 1962, their worst fears were almost realized. New research is shedding additional historical light on the tense and dangerous nuclear standoff between the US and USSR., with the tiny nation of Cuba in the middle. For the next two weeks, CONTEXT will look back on what we're learning with an eye toward the lessons that apply today. Our first segment, featuring, Timothy Naftali, provides insight on the epic tale from the perspectives of Havana and Moscow.

On the Brink Part 4: The Cuban Missile Crisis 50 Years Later

New research is shedding additional historical light on the Cold War's iconic nuclear standoff between the US and USSR. CONTEXT has been looking back on what we're learning with an eye toward the lessons that apply today. In part 4 of our "On The Brink" series, James Hershberg tells us why new documents show us that, "this is not our parent's Cuban Missile Crisis."

The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November

This book rewrites the conventional history of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis by drawing on secret transcripts of top-level diplomacy undertaken by Anastas Mikoyan, the number-two Soviet leader under Nikita Khrushchev. The crisis of the “missiles of October” actually stretched beyond the “13 days” and into November, as the Soviets secretly planned to leave more than a hundred tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba—until Fidel Castro’s obstreperous behavior made them reverse their decision. 

Nuclear Statecraft: History and Strategy in America’s Atomic Age

We are at a critical juncture in world politics. Nuclear strategy and policy have risen to the top of the global policy agenda, and issues ranging from a nuclear Iran to the global zero movement are generating sharp debate. The historical origins of our contemporary nuclear world are deeply consequential for contemporary policy, but it is crucial that decisions are made on the basis of fact rather than myth and misapprehension. In Nuclear Statecraft, Francis J.

Indian Government Announces Major Release of Foreign Policy Documents at NPIHP-IDSA Workshop in New Delhi

Speaking at a 10 October 2012 workshop organized by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and the Wilson Center's Nuclear Proliferation International History Project (NPIHP) on The Early Years of Nuclear Cooperation and Non-Proliferation: A Dialogue on Nuclear Historicities, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Special Secretary for Public Diplomacy Pinak Chakravarty announced the impending release of 220,000 newly declassified files on India's foreign pol