THE CENTRALITY OFTHE BOMB
by Gar Alperovitz and Kai Bird"Russia and the United States [have] alwaysgotten along for a hundred and fifty years historywith Russia friendly and helpful. Our respectiveorbits do not dash geographically and I think on thewhole we can probably keep out of clashes in thefuture."
--Secretary of War Henry StimsonApril 1945
"Before the atom bomb was used, I would havesaid, yes, I was sure we could keep the peace withRussia. Now I don't know...People are frightenedand disturbed all ~er. Everyone feels insecureagain."
--General Dwight EisenhowerVisiting Moscow, August 1945Even though the Cold War's abrupt, peacefuldemise rendered useless most of the assump-tions and theories advanced to explain thatstrange conflict, orthodox historians have kepton writing about it as if what actually happenedhad been inevitable. Moreover, they largelyavoid the specific role the atomic bomb playedin fueling the Cold War. In fact, the bomb wasa primary catalyst of the Cold War, and, apartfrom the nuclear arms race, the most importantspecific role of nuclear weapons was to revolu-tionize American policy toward Germany. Thebomb permitted U.S. leaders to do somethingno American president could otherwise havecontemplated: rebuild and rearm the former
Atomic Diplomacy:Hiroshima and Potsdam,
is president of the NationalCenter for Economic Alternatives and a fellow of thelnstitute for
ofJohn J.McCloy: The Making of the American Establish-meat, is currently
fellow at the John D. and Cather-ine T. MacArtbur foundation.