Nuclear History | Wilson Center

Nuclear History

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

Bulletin No. 17/18 - Fall 2012

The Cold War International History Project is pleased to announce the release of CWIHP Bulletin, Issue 17/18, “The Global Cuban Missile Crisis at 50.” 


Explaining Nuclear Forbearance: A Case Study on Sweden

Why did Sweden choose, in the late 1960s, to abandon its long-standing nuclear weapons plans? A number of historical investigations have analyzed some aspects of this issue, particularly as it related to the public political debate in Sweden and the formulation of the Swedish defense doctrine in the postwar years.

Foreign Relations of the United States and the Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cold War International History Project in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Historian presents a panel discussion, Foreign Relations of the United States and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Thirteen Days and More: A Soviet Perspective on the Cuban Missile Crisis

Fifty years ago, the world spent thirteen days transfixed as the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. engaged in a contest of wills over placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba. Svetlana Savranskaya will discuss behind-the-scenes maneuvers by Soviet second-in-command Anastas Mikoyan, revealing that the crisis lasted into November and involved plans by the U.S.S.R. to leave tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba, foiled not by U.S. resolve, but by Fidel Castro’s own actions.

Cuban Missile Crisis: Nuclear Order of Battle

Robert S. Norris, senior fellow for nuclear policy at the Federation of American Scientists will lead a Wilson Center panel discussion entitled, "Cuban Missile Crisis: Nuclear Order of Battle." The event will take place during the 50th anniversary of the 13 day crisis.