Naval War College Review

Article Title



Skeptics of a total elimination of nuclear weapons often point to a “prisoner’s di- lemma” situation that might emerge, where everyone suspects everyone else of cheating by secretly retaining or manufacturing atomic bombs. Advocates of “global zero” sometimes then respond that this is all too theoretical and hypo- thetical, as we have no way of knowing whether such suspicions would be so all-powerful in a disarmed world. Yet one can point out a real-life example of such a global-zero situation, in the last decades before Hiroshima, where the world’s knowledge of the possibilities of a nuclear chain reaction was emerging and where the result was a “race” to build the bomb, with the United States “winning” this race in the Manhattan Project, Nazi Germany having done very little to produce such weapons.