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Nuclear History

Tracking Down Oral History Sources

Seven ways to find and contact your interviewee

In a recent post on running oral history projects, Elisabeth Roehrlich shares recommendations for conducting effective interviews. Yet the interview is only half the battle—simply contacting interviewees from elite political and government backgrounds can be a serious challenge.

Sino-Soviet Nuclear Relations: An Alliance of Convenience?

China backed Soviet disarmament proposals in exchange for technical assistance in nuclear weapons development. When Soviet aid stopped, so did China’s support.

India’s Nuclear History, Frozen in Time

Above: Portion of a recovered document. Courtesy of Ms. Francoise Rey.

The melting Bossons glacier is revealing Indian government documents buried since the crash that killed Homi Bhabha in January 1966

Documenting accidents and disasters surrounding nuclear politics is always a challenging, uphill task. It is further complicated when the evidence has been buried under a glacier on Mont Blanc for fifty years.

Talking History: Ten Lessons for Running an Oral History Project

Above: Still from author's interview with former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.

Ten lessons for running an oral history project

Diplomatic historians have a love-hate relationship with oral history. Most agree that interviews with former politicians and officials provide important insights, especially when historical records are not (or not yet) available.

Nuclear Intelligence via Three Martinis

How a lunch in Rio de Janeiro confirmed a US diplomat’s hunches about Brazilian nuclear weapons research 

This post also appears on the National Security Archive blog Unredacted

Researching the Global Cold War in South Africa’s Archives

Archives in Pretoria and Bloemfontein offer opportunities for researchers of nuclear and Cold War history.

South Africa is the only state to develop and later renounce nuclear weapons. Yet many questions about the scope of the program and the decisions that lead to its termination between 1989-90 remain. As access to archives and primary sources expands, the South African case deserves renewed attention.

Nuclear Tests Are Not What You Think

Above: Reagan observes North Korean positions at the DMZ, November 1983

The United States bargained with Israel, Pakistan, and South Africa to stave off nuclear tests. Can it do the same in North Korea?

The Punggye-ri site in North Korea appears primed for a nuclear test. Waiting for the order, personnel now pass the time by playing volleyball, with one suspected “volleyball net set up at the command center area”.