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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Nuclear Weapons Security Crises: What Does History Teach?

Nuclear Weapons Security Crises: What Does History Teach? - Cover

Edited by Mr. Henry D. Sokolski, Dr. Bruno Tertrais.

July 2013

299 Pages

Brief Synopsis

At the height of the Cultural Revolution a Chinese long-range nuclear missile is fired within the country, and the nuclear warhead it is carrying detonates. A French nuclear device is exploded in Algeria during a coup there. The Soviet empire has collapsed, and shots are fired at a Russian crowd intent on rushing a nuclear weapons-laden plane straining to remove a stash of nuclear weapons to a safer locale. Pakistani civilian governments are routinely pushed aside by a powerful, nuclear-armed military that observers worry might yet itself fall prey to a faction willing to seize a portion of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. This volume reveals previously unknown details on each case and teases out what is to be learned. This book is ideal not only for policymakers and analysts, but for historians and teachers as well.


Henry D. Sokolski and Bruno Tertrais

Henry D. Sokolski


1. The Unexpected Risk: The Impact of Political Crises on the Security and Control of Nuclear Weapons
Bruno Tertrais

Part I: Case Studies

2. A “Nuclear Coup”? France, the Algerian War, and the April 1961 Nuclear Test
Bruno Tertrais

3. Securing Nuclear Arsenals: A Chinese Case Study
Mark A. Stokes

4. Controlling Soviet/Russian Nuclear Weapons in Times of Instability
Nikolai Sokov

5. Political Transitions and Nuclear Management in Pakistan
Feroz Hassan Khan

Part II: Lessons Learned

6. The Conundrum of Close Calls: Lessons Learned for Securing Nuclear Weapons
Reid B.C. Pauly and Scott D. Sagan

7. Nuclear Command and Control in Crisis: Old Lessons from New History
Peter D. Feaver

8. Securing Nuclear Arsenals in Times of Political Turmoil: “Top 10” Lessons Learned
Gregory F. Giles

9. Beyond Crises: The Unending Challenge of Controlling Nuclear Weapons and Materials
Matthew Bunn

About the Contributors

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