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"No one can solve this problem alone, but together we can change things for the better." 

– Setsuko Thurlow
Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016
Tony Fleming

A Good Start, But Serious Challenges Lay Ahead

Inside the Arms Control Association July 2021 For nearly a decade, the nuclear arms control and disarmament process has been at a standstill, spending on nuclear weapons has risen to obscene levels and competition between nuclear-armed states has been accelerating. As a result, the risk of nuclear war is increasing. In response, the Arms Control Association has been working to get the U.S. and other major powers to step back from the nuclear brink. We’re making some progress - even as we deal with an unexpected new challenge . At their June 16 summit, President Joe Biden and President...

Biden and Putin Summit: A Chance to Move Back from the Brink

This week’s summit meeting in Geneva is a pivotal opportunity for the leaders of the world’s two largest nuclear weapons possessors to reduce the growing risk of nuclear conflict and get back on track to reduce their bloated nuclear stockpiles. For months and weeks, we’ve been working hard to highlight and explain what can be done on strategic stability and arms control and to build political support for meaningful post-summit follow-through actions by President Biden and President Putin. Last week, our board chair Tom Countryman and I met with NSC staff at the White House and delivered a...

Arms Control ‘David’ v Nuclear Lobby ‘Goliath’

Since the Arms Control Association was founded in 1971, we have taken on some consequential issues. Despite being a small organization, we have been able to punch above our weight class and make a difference by catalyzing action, informing better policy decisions, and holding decision-makers accountable to reduce the dangers posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons. Now, we are in a battle with the powerful "ICBM Lobby" over the size and the scope of the proposed $1.7 trillion U.S. nuclear weapons modernization program. Bill Hartung writes in an article in the forthcoming issue of Arms...

Pressing for Progress on Nonproliferation

The Arms Control Association team remains in the thick of the debate over how and why the United States and Iran should return to compliance with the historic 2015 nuclear deal. Since President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions, Iran has retaliated by taking steps to ramp up its nuclear program and, in the process, has exceeded key limits set by the agreement. Both governments say they want to return to compliance, but they have not yet agreed as to how. With each passing day, the window of opportunity to avert a renewed nuclear crisis is narrowing. As I told...

New Administration, New Congress, New Possibilities

The 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, already faces a daunting array of challenges left behind by his predecessor—including major decisions to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and proliferation that require prompt action. Biden’s national and foreign policy team, along with the new Congress, have an opportunity and a responsibility to restore U.S. global leadership to reduce the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons. Our new Arms Control Association report, Nuclear Challenges for the Biden Administration in the First 100 Days , written by our senior policy...

Can Biden ‘Build Back Better’ on Arms Control?

President-elect Joe Biden possesses a strong personal commitment to effective nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament that dates back to his early days in the Senate. In 1979, during the height of the Cold War, then-Sen. Biden spoke at the Arms Control Association Annual Dinner about “ The Necessity of Nuclear Arms Control ,” noting that “pursuing arms control is not a luxury or a sign of weakness, but an international responsibility and a national necessity.” He wrote a feature article for Arms Control Today in 1986 titled “ The Five Myths of Reagan Arms Control ,”...

Annual Meeting Table with Zoom Links

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12:30 p.m.

Welcome

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
Thomas Countryman, Chair of the Board

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12:40 p.m.

Opening Keynote

"Restoring U.S. Leadership on Nuclear Weapons Risk Reduction"
Senator Jeff Merkley, (D-Oregon)

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1:00 p.m.

Panel

"Diversifying and Strengthening the Disarmament Movement,"
with Amb. Bonnie Jenkins (WCAPS), Cecili Thompson Williams, (Beyond the Bomb) Vincent Intondi (Montgomery College), and Daryl Kimball (ACA), moderated by Lilly Adams (ACA Board).

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1:50 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

  • "The Future of the U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control Regime," with Rose Gottemoeller moderated by Shannon Bugos
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  • "Repairing the Broken U.S. Policy on Iran," with Kelsey Davenport
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  • Strengthening the NPT and the 10th Review Conference: a conversation with Amb. Gustavo Zlauvinen," moderated by Daryl Kimball
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2:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

  • Re-evaluating U.S. Nuclear Weapons Modernization Plan” with Kingston Reif, moderated by Aaron Mehta with Defense News
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  • "After New START: Engaging Other Nuclear-Armed States in the Disarmament Enterprise" with Tom Countryman, ACA Board Chair, and Prof. Heather Williams with Kings College, moderated by Julia Masterson
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  • The Impact of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons” with Amb. Elaine Whyte Gómez, moderated by Zia Mian, Princeton University Program on Science and Global Security and Arms Control Association Board
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2:40 p.m.

Remarks

Seven Ways You Can Be Part of the Solution
Kathy Crandall Robinson, Chief Operations Officer

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2:50 p.m.

Closing Keynote

Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General, UN Office of Disarmament Affairs

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3:10 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY)

Thomas Countryman, Chair of the Board

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Author:

Restoring Leadership on Arms Control

Wow. We did not expect 2020 to go the way it did. It has been a tragic, challenging, and stressful year. Now, as we look towards 2021, we have a chance to turn the page in some important areas. The election of Joe Biden creates the potential for significant progress on arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament. But meaningful and durable changes will not come easily. And the next U.S. administration and other world leaders will need to move quickly to make decisions on a range of issues. These decisions and outcomes—and the efforts we make to influence them—will shape the international...

Resources for Journalists

Reality Check: The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

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Seventy-five years ago on July 16 1945, the nuclear age began with the world's first nuclear weapons test explosion in the New Mexico desert. In this annotated video essay from the Arms Control Association, we describe the events that transpired three weeks later with the atomic attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A more detailed review of the geopolitical, environmental, and humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, the rise of a global disarmament movement, and the work of the hibakusha (survivors of the nuclear attacks) is available in our special July/August 2020 issue of Arms Control Today, available at ArmsControl.org/75years.


TRANSCRIPT:

On July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert, the United States detonated the world’s first nuclear weapons test explosion.

Three weeks later, U.S. bombers carried out surprise atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At 8:15 in the morning on August 6, the uranium-based atomic bomb "Little Boy" was used on Hiroshima, home of approximately 320,000 people.

The blast packed a destructive force equivalent to about 15 kilotons of TNT.

In minutes, half of the city ... vanished.

The explosion produced a supersonic shock wave followed by extreme winds that remained above hurricane force over three kilometers from ground zero.

A secondary and equally devastating reverse wind followed, flattening and severely damaging homes and buildings several kilometers further away.

The intense heat of the Hiroshima bomb reached several million degrees Celsius and scorched flesh and other flammable materials over three kilometers away.

Flash burns from the primary heatwave caused most of the deaths at Hiroshima.

Three days later, U.S. leaders ordered “Fat Man,” a plutonium-based bomb with an explosive yield of 21 kilotons, dropped on Nagasaki, home to over 260,000 people.

The attack occurred two days earlier than planned, 10 hours after the Soviets entered the war against Japan, and as Japanese leaders were contemplating surrender.

Intense firestorms ravaged each city for hours after each attack. They leveled neighborhoods only partially damaged by the blast itself, killing more victims trapped under fallen debris.

Black rain laden with radioactive soot and dust contaminated areas far away from ground zero.

By the end of 1945, the blast, heat, and radiation of the nuclear attacks had killed an estimated 74,000 in Nagasaki and 140,000 in Hiroshima.

Many of those who survived the nuclear attacks would die from radiation-induced illnesses for years to come.

Historians now largely agree that the United States did not need to drop the bombs to avoid an invasion of Japan and bring an end to World War II.

Though aware of alternatives, President Harry Truman authorized use of the bombs in part to further the U.S. government’s postwar geostrategic aims.

Survivors of the nuclear attacks, known as hibakusha, and their descendants formed the nucleus of the Japanese and global nuclear disarmament movements.

The remaining hibakusha and organizations around the globe continue to work for a nuclear weapons-free world “so that succeeding generations of people will not see hell on earth ever again.”

Today, nine states still possess more than 13,000 nuclear weapons.

The risk of nuclear war is still with us.

To reduce this danger, we must freeze and reverse the arms race and, ultimately, eliminate nuclear weapons.

For more information:
ArmsControl.org/75years

Written by Daryl G. Kimball
Edited and Produced by Tony Fleming

Photos Credits:
Atomic Heritage Foundation ・ Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
UN/Nagasaki International Cultural Hall ・ UN/Yosuke Yamahata
Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images ・ Joyce Naltchayan/AFP via Getty Images
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images ・ Junko Kimura/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images ・ Peter Parks/Getty Images

Description: 

Seventy-five years ago, the nuclear age began with the world's first nuclear weapons test explosion in the New Mexico desert. In this annotated "silent film"-style video essay from the Arms Control Association, we learn about the events that transpired three weeks later with the atomic attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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