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Super BombOrganizational Conflict and the Development of the Hydrogen Bomb$
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Ken Young and Warner R. Chilling

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501745164

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501745164.001.0001

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Moral and Political Consequences

Moral and Political Consequences

Chapter:
(p.71) Chapter 4 Moral and Political Consequences
Source:
Super Bomb
Author(s):

Ken Young

Warner R. Schilling

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501745164.003.0005

This chapter examines the controversy's real or assumed moral and political aspects. Moral repugnance inflected the scientific judgments of Oppenheimer's General Advisory Committee, triggering discussion of the relative moral significance of thermonuclear bombing, the use of the atomic bomb, and the mass urban bombing campaigns of 1942–1945. More immediate concerns centered on the impact a decision to develop thermonuclear weapons might have on the pattern of international relations. Given a paucity of intelligence, the effects on the Soviet Union's own weapons program, and thereby on the United States' vulnerability, could only be guessed at. The chapter thus considers if the development of the Super would restore the status quo ante-1949 or lead to a thermonuclear arms race and ultimate stalemate—or even the end of the world.

Keywords:   moral consequences, political consequences, moral significance, international relations, thermonuclear arms race, stalemate

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