Chapter 3, Nuclear Weapons

Chapter 3, “Nuclear Weapons,” by Michael C. Horowitz

This chapter covers nuclear weapons, the most destructive and politically significant weapons ever developed, combining history, science, theory, and policy.  Students will learn about the development of the first nuclear weapon in the Manhattan Project, and the development of Cold War nuclear arsenals, including modern means of weapons delivery.  They will be introduced to core concepts of nuclear deterrence, nuclear coercion, arms control, and stability theory.  The chapter presents an extensive discussion of nuclear proliferation, why states acquire nuclear weapons, is nuclear proliferation fundamentally stabilizing or dangerous, and what kinds of policies can slow proliferation and make it safer.  The chapter includes a case study on the critical question of nuclear weapons and North Korea, and a summary of a quantitative study examining whether alliances can prevent proliferation.

Most appropriate for classes on war and politics and US foreign policy

Why this chapter is different:

●Comprehensive treatment of all issues pertinent to nuclear weapons in a compact, readable essay
●Integrated discussion of nuclear history, theory, and policy
●Case study applying chapter insights to North Korea

Dr. Michael C. Horowitz is Professor of Political Science and Associate Director of the Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the author of several leading articles on nuclear weapons, as well as the award-winning The Diffusion of Military Power (Princeton, 2010).

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