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Nuclear Disarmament

Written by Yusuf Deniz Kuten

Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction created by the fission of atomic nuclei. They release large amounts of energy during explosions, and because of the high energy these weapons contain, they cause mass destruction wherever they are dropped. The effects of the bomb can be observed even in cities miles away from the area where it is dropped. Due to their destructive power, nuclear weapons are seen as a great threat to the future of the planet in our age. That's why some nuclear disarmament agreements are being made around the world. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, many discoveries spread in the scientific world. One of these discoveries was the understanding that atoms were divisible. In the following years, scientists carried out many studies on this subject, but Nazi Germany first carried out large-scale research on nuclear weapons production during World War II. After a while, it was learned by the US government that the Nazis were working on a very powerful nuclear bomb. However, the government was reluctant to allocate a large budget for this research. When the United States entered World War II in 1941, the Manhattan Project was created to counter the increasing Nazi threat (1). Many scientists, especially Robert Oppenheimer, took part in this project and they succeeded in producing a nuclear weapon in 1945. At that time, Nazi Germany had withdrawn from the war, so the American Government decided to drop an atomic bomb on Japan, the Axis power in the Far East, to end the war. An atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on August 6 and the city of Nagasaki on August 9. The result was terrible: In total, more than 210,000 people died due to the explosion and the radiation released by the atomic bomb (2). Even years after these attacks, diseases and deaths caused by radiation occurred.

The destruction caused by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed how dangerous these weapons were. Since the 1950s, anti-nuclear weapons protests have been held in many countries such as Japan, the USA, and the UK. However, due to the Cold War that broke out between the USA and the USSR in those years, both sides continued to produce atomic bombs. The nuclear weapons tests turned into a show of strength for both countries. In 1961, after the missile crisis between the Soviet Union and the USA, both countries threatened each other with nuclear weapons, and in this period when the Cold War was escalating, thousands of people took to the streets in 60 cities of the USA to protest nuclear armament (3). Research conducted in the same year revealed that some animal foods were contaminated with radiation as a result of nuclear tests. This increased public pressure, and in 1963, USSR President Nikita Khrushchev and US President John F. Kennedy expressed their concerns about the use of nuclear weapons. They signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty (4). Although this agreement was a show-off against public pressure, it was an important turning point for the goal of nuclear disarmament.

Despite the other agreements in 1968 and 1974, neither side took any permanent steps for fear of falling behind its rival. In these years, public opposition to nuclear armament increased, and many nuclear facilities were closed and some nuclear projects were canceled. Protests, especially in Europe and America, bring this problem to the global public. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia continued its nuclear weapons production. During these years, other countries such as India and Pakistan also started the production of nuclear weapons, but increasing public pressure limited the pace of nuclear armament to some extent.

In the 21st century, negotiations on this problem occurred between countries with the encouragement of many associations and public institutions. In 2010, Russia and the US signed the New START agreement. According to this agreement, the number of long-range nuclear warheads in the two countries was limited to 1550 and each country was given the right to monitor the other's nuclear activities (5). More than 70 countries have banned the production and use of nuclear weapons with the joint agreement they signed.

Nuclear weapons are a threat to peace and security around the world. In this context, international public organizations and countries should work determinedly and be open to negotiations on nuclear disarmament. International agreements regarding this issue should be made and this issue should be resolved definitively and in the long term. In conclusion, it is vital to ensure a relationship of mutual trust for societies to take a determined stance.


  1. Wellerstein, A. (n.d.). Manhattan project. Encyclopedia of the History of Science.

  2. Tomonaga, M. (2019). The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Summary of the Human Consequences, 1945-2018, and Lessons for Homo sapiens to End the Nuclear Weapon Age.

  3.  Ekmen, B. (2021). Zorlayıcı Diplomasi Bağlamında Küba Füze Krizi’nin Analizi. Home » DergiPark.

  4. Nikitin, M. B. (2016, September 21). Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments. FAS Project on Government Secrecy (1991-2021).

  5. Rogers, J., Korda, M., Kristensen, H.M. (2022, November 8). The long view: Strategic arms control after the New START Treaty.


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