Russian Horn Moves Nukes Towards Finland

Photo shows a line of Army green trucks traveling down a three-lane highway.
Nuclear-capable Iskanders filmed on May 16 en route to Vyborg, near Russian’s border with Finland.

Russia reportedly moves nuclear-capable missiles to Finland border

Lee Brown

May 17, 2022 4:29pm 

Russia has reportedly moved missiles capable of firing nuclear warheads close to its border with Finland amid heightened threats over the latter’s bid to join NATO.

A fleet of more than a dozen military vehicles moved down a highway — including seven that are thought to carry Iskander missiles, a video clip shared by Reuters Monday shows.

They were taken to Vyborg, a Russian city on the Finnish border, “as soon as the president of Finland said they were joining NATO,” the unidentified narrator of the clip said.

“Looks like a new military unit is about to be formed in Vyborg or the region,” he said.

The short-range ballistic missiles are already thought to have been used extensively by Russia — and are known to be ready to fire nuclear warheads, officials previously told Newsweek.

A senior US Air Force officer working on nuclear weapons told the outlet that the intelligence community sees the Iskander as the most serious threat.

Putin seated at a desk, facing a televised video conference.
Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting via teleconference on May 17.

The video emerged days after one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO that Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles if Finland joined the US-led military alliance.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that
joining would end the “nuclear-free status for the Baltic.”

Babylon the Great Has Hypersonic Nukes: Daniel 7

Air Force says it successfully tested hypersonic weapon

U.S.

Keleigh BeesonTom PalmerPosted: MAY 17, 2022 / 04:31 PM CDT | Updated: MAY 17, 2022 / 04:31 PM CDT

(NewsNation) — The U.S. Air Force said Monday that it had conducted a successful test of a hypersonic weapon, which flew at five times the speed of sound.

According to a statement from the Air Force, the test was conducted Saturday off the coast of Southern California when a B-52 bomber released an Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW.

After the weapon separated from the aircraft, its booster ignited and burned for the duration of the flight, the statement said.

The test comes as the U.S. races to develop hypersonic weapons to counter potential adversaries Russia and China.

The speed and maneuverability of hypersonic weapons make them difficult to track and intercept.Kim warns North Korea could ‘preemptively’ use nuclear weapons

The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced in early April that they were working together via the recently created security alliance known as AUKUS to develop hypersonic missiles.

Also in April, the Russian military said it successfully performed the first test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a weapon President Vladimir Putin said would make the West “think twice” before taking any aggressive actions against Russia.

According to U.S. military officials, Russia has now used hypersonic air-to-surface missiles in its military campaign in Ukraine, in what could be the first time these missiles have been used on the battlefield.

An expert NewsNation spoke with said Russia generally use conflicts to test their latest weapons systems.Russian officer: Missile to carry several hypersonic weapons

So what does that mean for the arms race between countries?

According to a professor of international affairs, the U.S. is leading the charge in hypersonics in at least one sense.

“It’s ahead of the pack in terms of the wide range of technologies being developed in the hypersonic program,” said Dinshaw Mistry, associate professor of international affairs, University of Cincinnati. “It’s slightly behind Russia in actually fielding them. But … that does not really matter in terms of battlefield effectiveness.”

Most military analysts say China and Russia have distinctly aggressive intentions.

Their objectives require dominating their neighbors and ensuring that the U.S. encounters significant obstacles in conducting a counterattack.

The U.S., on the other hand, must be able to deter at all levels of war, and all levels of escalation.

Hypersonics are only one, albeit critical, part of a broader American strategy.

The Hill and Reuters contributed to this report.

© 1998 – 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

3 Scenarios for the Russian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Russian President Vladimir Putin surrounded by uniformed people.

3 Scenarios for How Putin Could Actually Use Nukes

Here’s how to think about the unthinkable.

Vladimir Putin looks on during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, May 9. | Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik via AP

By GREGG HERKEN, AVNER COHEN and GEORGE M. MOORE

05/16/2022 12:00 PM EDT

Gregg Herken is an emeritus professor of American diplomatic history at the University of California, and author of Brotherhood of the Bomb.

Avner Cohen is a professor of nonproliferation studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and the author of Israel and the Bomb.

George M. Moore, PhD, is scientist-in-residence at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey.

We know that Russian President Vladimir Putin is thinking about using nuclear weapons. He has twice warned the West not to intervene in Ukraine or face “consequences that you have never encountered in your history.” Recently, Moscow again threatened “unpredictable consequences” if the U.S. continued sending advanced armaments to Ukraine. CIA Director William Burns has said that “none of us can take lightly” the prospect that Putin might resort to the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

While any use of a nuclear weapon is unthinkable to most of the world, under current Russian military doctrine — usually described in shorthand as “escalate to deescalate” — Putin could choose a nuclear “demonstration” as a warning to halt further American military aid to the Ukrainians. In other words, for the Russian leader, detonation of a tactical nuclear weapon by Russia is entirely thinkable. And so the West needs to do some thinking, too.

Tactical nuclear weapons are often called “battlefield” or “theater” weapons to distinguish them from much more powerful strategic nuclear weapons, but they are far more destructive than conventional weapons. During the Cold War, tactical nuclear weapons had yields ranging from tens or hundreds of tons of TNT to thousands of tons. These weapons came in many forms: gravity bombs, short-range missile warheads, anti-aircraft missiles, air-to-air and air-to ground missiles, anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes and even demolition devices or mines. Reportedly, the smallest tactical weapon in the Russian nuclear arsenal has a yield of about one-third the size of Hiroshima or Nagasaki bombs, or equivalent to about 5,000 tons of TNT.

There are a few ways that such a tactical nuclear weapon could be used to fire the kind of “warning shot” envisioned in Russian military doctrine. These options come with increasing degrees of risk for the U.S., Ukraine and its allies, and for Russia.

Here are three scenarios.

Scenario 1: Remote atmospheric test

Least provocative would be Putin’s resumption of above-ground nuclear testing — by detonating a low-yield nuclear warhead high above Novaya Zemlya, the old Soviet test site in the Arctic, for example. While both the actual damage on the ground and radioactive fallout would be negligible, the psychological effect could be enormous: It would be the first nuclear explosion by a superpower since nuclear testing ended in 1992, and the first bomb detonated in the atmosphere by either the U.S. or Russia after such tests were outlawed by treaty in 1963. It would also be a potent reminder that Putin has tactical nuclear weapons in abundance — about 2,000 by last count — and is prepared to use them.

Scenario 2: Atmospheric detonation above Ukraine

A more provocative demonstration would be an ultra-high-altitude explosion of a more powerful weapon over Ukraine itself. In a 1962 test, the U.S. detonated a 1.4-megaton H-bomb in the mid-Pacific, 250 miles above the Earth. The resulting electromagnetic pulse unexpectedly knocked out streetlights and disrupted telephone service in Hawaii, 900 miles distant. A similarly powerful explosion above Kyiv would not only be visually spectacular but would likely plunge the capital into prolonged darkness and silence by shorting out computers, cellphones and other electronics. EMP effects might also extend into NATO member countries. But the extent of damage from the pulse is unpredictable, and Russian communications could also be affected.

Scenario 3: Ground explosion in Ukraine

Most dangerous — and, for that reason, perhaps least likely — would be using a tactical nuclear weapon to achieve a concrete military objective such as disrupting the delivery of weapons to Ukrainians fighting in a city like Mariupol. Alternatively, Putin might detonate a tactical nuclear warhead against military or logistics targets in sparsely populated western Ukraine — in the agricultural lands between Lviv and Kyiv, for instance — after warning people in the target area to evacuate. But even the smallest nuclear weapon would set fires over a wide area if detonated in the air. Depending on the height of the explosion, it could also spread lingering radioactive fallout, possibly extending into NATO member countries and Russia itself.

If, instead of a demonstration in a remote area, Putin were to attack a Ukrainian city with a weapon one-third the Hiroshima yield, the resulting casualties and destruction of property could approach that seen in Japan, since the corresponding radii of damage would be about 70 percent of that seen in those atomic bombings.

While none of the above scenarios is currently likely, neither are they far-fetched. Barring scenarios of an imminent Russian defeat, another humiliation like the loss of the Russian flagship Moskva or growing domestic discontent in Russia at a stalemated war — Putin has no logical reason to initiate the use of nuclear weapons.

But wars are very unpredictable, and there are ample precedents in history where a nuclear demonstration has been considered, beginning with the United States.

In May 1945, weeks before the successful test of the first atomic bomb in New Mexico, former President Harry Truman’s advisers considered, briefly, the option of a harmless but spectacular demonstration of the revolutionary new weapon as an alternative to its military use, in hopes of compelling Japan to surrender. For practical reasons — there were too few bombs in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and some feared a dud — the demonstration option was never presented to Truman.

But the warning shot idea would surface again and be taken more seriously. During the 1961 Berlin crisis, former President John Kennedy was presented with the option of firing a nuclear-tipped missile at Novaya Zemlya to show American resolve. Israel has also considered a nuclear demonstration; prior to the Six-Day War, in May 1967, Shimon Peres proposed detonating a nuclear device over the Sinai desert to head off the conflict. Six years later, the Israelis again briefly entertained the notion of a high-altitude nuclear warning shot to force an end to 1973’s Yom Kippur War. In 1981, with the Cold War again heating up, Secretary of State Alexander Haig — a former NATO supreme allied commander — let slip that “there are contingency plans in the NATO doctrine to fire a nuclear weapon for demonstrative purposes …”

There is little doubt that a nuclear demonstration is an option that has been considered in the Kremlin. This opens the question of what would be the best U.S. or NATO response. It’s our view that if Putin fires a nuclear warning shot in the Ukraine war, President Joe Biden should resist pressure to respond in kind and avoid any options that could lead to an escalating nuclear exchange. Instead, the president should rally the nations of the world in a universal condemnation of Putin for breaking the nuclear taboo and taking the most dangerous first step toward a nuclear war. The U.S. and NATO could also respond by use of non-kinetic means like cyber warfare. For Biden, regardless of what Putin decides, engaging Russian forces in direct combat should only be a last resort.

Russia Threatens to Nuke the European Horns: Daniel

Russian state TV said the country may use tactical nuclear weapons in response to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, highlighting military bases used by the alliance as targets

Russia threatens to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on its European border ‘when NATO bases appear in Sweden and Finland’ as Stockholm now joins Helsinki in confirming they want to join the alliance

  • Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party has said it backs NATO membership bid
  • It comes after Finland said early Sunday it would be making its own application
  • Sweden reversed policy within hours of Finland and said it too will join NATO 
  • Russian state TV said the country may use tactical nuclear weapons in response
  • Yesterday, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin told the President of Finland he is making a ‘mistake’ by joining NATO as it faces ‘no security threats’
  • The Finnish Parliament is expected to endorse the decision in coming days 
  • Public support for the two countries to join has swelled since invasion of Ukraine 

By CHRIS JEWERS and TOM BROWN FOR MAILONLINE and AP

PUBLISHED: 18:57 EDT, 15 May 2022 | UPDATED: 07:54 EDT, 16 May 2022

Russian state television has said Moscow may deploy tactical nuclear weapons to its European borders if Finland and Sweden allow military bases on their territory after joining NATO.

Sweden’s Social Democrats yesterday said they had dropped their opposition to NATO membership only hours after Finland confirmed its intention to join the alliance.

Vladimir Putin-supporting pundits responded with more sabre-rattlling on Russian state TV last night.  

A commentator on Rossiya One said: ‘Their official reason is fear. But they’ll have more fear in Nato. 

‘When Nato bases appear in Sweden & Finland, Russia will have no choice but to neutralise the imbalance & new threat by deploying tactical nuclear weapons.’ 

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, said weeks ago that Russia could deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave between Poland and Lithuania, in responce to NATO’s Nordic expansion.

One of the original supposed rationales for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February was to stop Nato enlargement – but that plan is now in tatters as both Scandinavian nations say they will seek membership of the alliance.

Stockholm’s formal application is expected to start later today after being debated and approved by MPs. Sweden, which was neutral during the Second World War and has stayed out of military alliances for more than 200 years 

The turnaround by prime minister Magdalena Andersson’s party, which has opposed Nato membership since the start of the alliance, secures a firm majority in Sweden’s parliament in favour of joining. 

Mrs Andersson said she would consult parliament today before announcing her government’s official intention to apply.

‘Europe, Sweden and the Swedish public are living a new and dangerous reality,’ said Ms Andersson, announcing the decades-long policy U-turn. ‘The best thing for the security of Sweden and the Swedish people is to join Nato.’

Many Swedish politicians said their support was conditional on Finland joining.

Russian state TV said the country may use tactical nuclear weapons in response to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, highlighting military bases used by the alliance as targets

President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki (pictured)

President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki (pictured)

Finnish president confirms country will seek to join NATO

‘The party board has at its meeting on May 15, 2022 decided that the party will work toward Sweden applying for membership in NATO,’ the Social Democrats said in a statement.

Sweden, which was neutral during the Second World War, stayed out of military alliances for more than 200 years though it forged closer ties with the Brussels-based organisation from the 1990s.

The turnaround by Mrs Andersson’s party, which has opposed Nato membership since the start of the alliance, secures a firm majority in Sweden’s parliament in favour of joining.

Coming less than three months after Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine on February 24, the move from the two nations is a stunning reversal of their military non-alignment policies – and paves the way for the 30-member Western military alliance to expand.

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made their announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.

The Finnish Parliament is expected to endorse the decision in coming days, but it is considered a formality following a swell in public support for doing so.

A formal membership application will then be submitted to NATO headquarters in Brussels, most likely at the some point next week.

Speaking during a NATO conference in Berlin today, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced confidence that NATO members would support the bid, after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed last-minute objections. 

‘I heard almost across the board, very strong support for Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, if that’s what they choose to do, and I’m very confident that we will reach consensus,’ he said from the German capital.

Russia has said it could place nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave between Poland and Lithuania in responce to NATO's Nordic expansion

Russia has said it could place nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave between Poland and Lithuania in responce to NATO’s Nordic expansion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said on Sunday that Turkey is not blocking potential membership bids by Sweden and Finland and voiced confidence at resolving Ankara’s stated concerns.

‘Turkey made it clear that its intention is not to block membership,’ Stoltenberg said. 

The two nonaligned Nordic nations becoming part of the alliance would pose an affront to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has justified the war in Ukraine by claiming it was a response to NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe. 

Finland shares a 830-mile border with Russia. Should Finland’s application be ratified, Russia’s border with NATO would roughly double in length.

Yesterday, Putin told the President of Finland he is making a ‘mistake’ by joining NATO as it faces ‘no security threats’ in a phone call.

President Niinistö said his conversation with Putin was ‘conducted without aggravations’ as both parties worked to ‘avoid tensions’.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and cyber-attacks on Finland and Sweden have ‘altered the security environment’ in Helsinki, Putin was told. 

Meanwhile, Western military officials said Sunday that Moscow’s campaign in Ukraine, believed to have been launched with the goal of seizing Kyiv and toppling the Ukrainian government, had slowed to a snail’s pace. They said the invading Russian army had lost up to one-third of its combat strength since February.  

Speaking during a NATO conference in Berlin today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (pictured) voiced confidence that NATO members would support the bid

Speaking during a NATO conference in Berlin today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (pictured) voiced confidence that NATO members would support the bid

Blinken adresses Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO

‘Today, the President of the Republic and the Government’s Foreign Policy Committee have jointly agreed that Finland will apply for NATO membership, after consulting parliament. This is a historic day. A new era is opening’, Niinisto said.

‘We have reached today an important decision in good cooperation with the government and the president of the republic. We hope the parliament will confirm the decision to apply for the NATO membership during the coming days. It will be based on a strong mandate’, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said.

Finland has remained militarily non-aligned for 75 years.

But after its powerful eastern neighbour invaded Ukraine in February, political and public opinion swung dramatically in favour of membership, with the Finnish president and prime minister on Thursday calling for the country to join NATO ‘without delay’.

Russia has repeatedly warned of consequences if Helsinki joins the alliance, but earlier this week, Niinisto told reporters that ‘joining NATO would not be against anyone.’ He said his response to Russia is: ‘You caused this. Look in the mirror.’

NATO’s deputy chief said on Sunday that the alliance is confident that it can overcome objections by Turkey and quickly admit Finland and Sweden.

Foreign ministers from NATO’s 30 member states are holding two days of talks this weekend in Berlin that are focused on the two Nordic countries’ membership bids.

However on Saturday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu unexpectedly raised objections, saying it was ‘unacceptable and outrageous’ that the prospective new NATO members gave support to the outlawed Kurdish militant group PKK.

It was not immediately clear whether discussions between Cavusoglu and several NATO foreign ministers as well as their Finnish and Swedish counterparts later in the evening had yielded any progress in resolving the dispute.

As talks resumed on Sunday, NATO’s Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said he was confident Ankara’s concerns could be addressed.

‘Turkey is an important ally and expressed concerns that are addressed between friends and allies,’ Geoana told reporters.

‘I am confident if these countries decide to seek membership in NATO we will be able to welcome them, to find all conditions for consensus to be met,’ he added.

‘Finland and Sweden are already the closest partners of NATO,’ Geoana said.

Geoana also told reporters: ‘The brutal invasion (by) Russia is losing momentum. We know that with the bravery of the Ukrainian people and army, and with our help, Ukraine can win this war.’

Geoana, who was chairing the meeting while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recovers from a COVID-19 infection, said Ukraine’s supporters were ‘united, we are strong, will continue to help Ukraine in winning this war.’

Key moments from second day of NATO talks in Berlin

Members of the media wait for the news conference on Finland's security policy decisions at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, May 15, 2022

Members of the media wait for the news conference on Finland’s security policy decisions at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, May 15, 2022

Foreign ministers pose for a family photo at a NATO meeting in Berlin, Germany May 15, 2022

Many allies at the Berlin meeting backed Finland and Sweden, stressing the need for swift ratification of their membership bids, which typically take up to a year.

‘Germany has prepared everything to do a quick ratification process,’ Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters, adding that ministers had agreed at a dinner on Saturday that the momentum should not be lost.

‘We must make sure that we will give them security guarantees, there must not be a transition period, a grey zone, where their status is unclear,’ she said.

She was referring to the ratification period during which the Nordic countries would not yet be protected by NATO’s Article 5, which guarantees that an attack on one ally is an attack on all.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly echoed Baerbock’s comments, saying she hoped it could be done ‘within weeks’.

Despite last-minute objections voiced by Turkey, NATO members are on ‘good track’ in their discussions on welcoming Sweden and Finland into the Western military alliance, Croatia’s foreign minister, Gordan Grlic Radman, said as he arrived for talks.

The allies, who were joined on Sunday by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, discussed the issue of interim security guarantees for Sweden and Finland, whose plans have drawn threats of retaliation from Moscow. 

United States Secretary of State (left) is shown standing next to Britain's Foreign Minister Liz Truss during the NATO foreign minister family photo on May 15

United States Secretary of State (left) is shown standing next to Britain’s Foreign Minister Liz Truss during the NATO foreign minister family photo on May 15

Annalena Baerbock, Foreign Minister of Germany, speaks at the beginning of an informal meeting of NATO members states foreign ministers on May 15, 2022 in Berlin, Germany

+13

View gallery

Annalena Baerbock, Foreign Minister of Germany, speaks at the beginning of an informal meeting of NATO members states foreign ministers on May 15, 2022 in Berlin, Germany

Russia regards NATO expansion as a threat to its own security and cited Ukraine’s ambition to join the alliance as a reason for launching what it calls a ‘special military operation’ in its southern neighbour.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was due to join Sunday’s talks to brief the allies on the situation on the ground and NATO support for Kyiv.

Kuleba said he met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Berlin on Sunday and that ‘more weapons and other aid is on the way to Ukraine’.

‘We agreed to work closely together to ensure that Ukrainian food exports reach consumers in Africa and Asia. Grateful to Secretary Blinken and the US for their leadership and unwavering support,’ Kuleba tweeted.

The two men discussed the impact of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, including on global food security, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.

‘The Secretary conveyed details regarding the latest tranche of U.S. security assistance to bolster Ukraine’s defences,’ Price said.  

The ministers will also look at a first draft of NATO’s new strategic concept, its basic military doctrine, which is set to be agreed at a leaders summit in Madrid at the end of June.

‘We agreed we must continue to help Ukraine win and push Russia out,’ British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

‘(Russian President Vladimir) Putin must face a sustained defeat in Ukraine, Russia must be contained and such aggression must never happen again.’ 

Pictured: A map showing the current members of NATO in Europe (in blue) - and the possible expansion of NATO should Sweden and Finland (green) join

Pictured: A map showing the current members of NATO in Europe (in blue) – and the possible expansion of NATO should Sweden and Finland (green) join

Ukraine, meanwhile, celebrated a morale-boosting victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. The folk-rap ensemble Kalush Orchestra won the glitzy, televised Eurovision contest with its song ‘Stefania,’ which has become a popular anthem among Ukrainians during the war. 

Votes from home viewers across Europe cemented the victory.

President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed his nation would claim the customary honor of hosting the next annual competition. ‘Step by step, we are forcing the occupiers to leave the Ukrainian land,’ Zelensky said.

Russian and Ukrainian fighters are engaged in a grinding battle for the country’s eastern industrial heartland, the Donbas.

Russia has now likely lost one-third of the ground combat forces it committed in February and continues to suffer ‘consistently high levels of attrition’ while failing to achieve any substantial territorial gains over the past month, Britain’s Defence Ministry said in its daily intelligence update Sunday.

‘Russia’s Donbas offensive has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule,’ the ministry said on Twitter, adding that the forces are suffering ‘continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness.’

‘Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days,’ the ministry said. 

Russia is Ready to Nuke the World: Revelation 16

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin has backed himself into a corner, says a British historian (Image: via REUTERS)

By

Ryan MerrifieldNews Reporter

  • 09:42, 15 May 2022
  • UPDATED09:57, 15 May 2022

Vladimir Putin is backed into a corner of his own doing and prepared to use nuclear weapons if his war fails, a military historian claims.

Sir Antony Beevor says the Russian President believes NATO’s ‘advance’ on his own country’s borders is the equivalent to the Nazis moving through Europe 80 years ago.

And the push for Finland and Sweden to join the alliance in recent days amid the despot’s catastrophic invasion of Ukraine will have done little to ease his misplaced suspicions.

Sir Antony, who has published several books on the Second World War, said Putin genuinely thinks the Red Army fought off Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht “single-handed” while the western allies wanted to “stab the Soviet Union in the back”.

Moscow’s current invasion, which it calls a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists, has jolted European
security.

Kyiv and its Western allies say the fascism assertion is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression.

Vladimir Putin

Putin has claimed his war in Ukraine is against fascism ( 

Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Writing in the Daily Mail, Sir Antony said: “Ultimately, he has trapped himself in a past that he fails to understand.

“He refuses to acknowledge that it is his own aggressive actions which have achieved that.

“So, combined with his bitter resentment that the West never showed proper ‘respect’ – that gangster euphemism for ‘fear’ – Putin wants to terrify us.”

Sir Antony, whose latest book Russia : Revolution And Civil War 1917-1921 is released later this month, went on to say Putin’s “own disastrous mistakes have backed him into a corner”.

Historian Sir Antony Beevor

Historian Sir Antony Beevor ( 

Image: Getty Images)

He believes the former KGB intelligence officer is prepared to use nuclear weapons if “his own regime” is defeated in Ukraine.

He added: “This has created far greater dangers for the world than at any moment since 1945.”

The southeastern region of Donbas has become the main theatre of war over the past month.

Ukraine’s counteroffensive there is underway near the Russian-held town of Izium, but its military has reported that Moscow forces are advancing elsewhere.

Ukrainian soldiers patrol along the frontline in Donbas

Ukrainian soldiers patrol along the frontline in Donbas ( 

Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Having resisted fiercely since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, Ukraine’s military has notched a string of successes, first forcing Russia’s commanders to abandon an advance on the capital Kyiv, and then making rapid gains in the northeast in recent week to drive the enemy away from the second biggest city of Kharkiv.

Since mid-April, Russian forces have focussed much of their firepower on the east for what has become known as the “Battle of the Donbas”.

British military intelligence delivered a damning assessment on Sunday of Russia’s campaign in the region.

A Ukranian serviceman looks into a crater in the village of Yatskivka in the Donbas region

A Ukranian serviceman looks into a crater in the village of Yatskivka in the Donbas region ( 

Image: AFP via Getty Images)

It reckoned that Russia had lost about a third of the ground combat force deployed in February, and its offensive in the Donbas had fallen “significantly behind schedule” and was unlikely to make rapid advances during the coming 30 days.

Keeping up pressure on Izium and Russian supply lines will make it harder for Moscow to encircle battle-hardened Ukrainian
troops on the eastern front in the Donbas.

One of the aims of Russia’s action in Ukraine was to prevent the former Soviet republic ever joining NATO.

But in a telephone call, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country, which shares a 1,300-km (800-mile) border with Russia, wanted to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to bolster its own security.

Putin told Niinisto it would be a mistake for Helsinki to abandon its neutrality, the Kremlin said, adding that the move could harm bilateral relations.

The Russian Horn Threatens the UK

Russia makes new threats over use of Satan-2 hypersonic nuclear missile on Britain

Putin official said it is ‘absolutely legitimate’ for Russia to question the existence of Finland

23 hours ago

Russia has made new threats to use its deadly RS-28 Sarmat – known in the west as “Satan-2” – hypersonic nuclear missile to strike Britain in just “200 seconds”.

The warning from Russia’s defence committee deputy chairman, Aleksey Zhuravlyov, comes as Finland is poised to join Nato, and Swedenis set to follow suit.

“If Finland wants to join this bloc, then our goal is absolutely legitimate – to question the existence of this state. This is logical,” Mr Zhuravlyov said in an interview with state TV Russia 1.

“If the United States threatens our state, it’s good: here is the Sarmat for you, and there will be nuclear ashes from you if you think that Russia should not exist. And Finland says that it is at one with the USA. Well, get in line.”

Last month Russia tested its new intercontinental missile, announcing that the warhead which could target Europe and the US would be deployed by the autumn. The Sarmat is capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads and decoys, and of striking targets thousands of miles away.

Asked if Russia would now rebase nuclear weapons onto its border with Finland, he said: “What for? We don’t need to.

“We can hit with a Sarmat from Siberia, and even reach the UK. And if we strike from Kaliningrad… the hypersonic’s reaching time is 200 seconds – so go ahead, guys.

“On the Finnish border we will have not strategic weapons, but Kinzhal-class, one that will reach Finland in 20 seconds, or even 10 seconds.”

Russia has voiced its discontent at Finland’s intention to join Nato and said it would take “retaliatory steps” both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop threats to its national security rising. 

Mr Zhuravlyov claimed Finland is being provoked into joining Nato by the US and the UK. “The Finns have nothing to share with us. They receive more than 90 per cent gas, timber and much more from us.

“Who needs fighting first of all? The Finns? They are not afraid that Russia is attacking them. Of course, sooner or later the Americans will force them to do so.

“Just as they forced Ukraine to do it, they are trying to force Poland and Romania. And, as practice shows, they succeed.”

Deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko said Moscow will take adequate precautionary measures if Nato deploys nuclear forces and infrastructure closer to Russia’s border, according to the RIA news agency. He added that Moscow has no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden and does not see “real” reasons for those two countries to be joining Nato alliance. 

Aleksey Zhuravlyov warned that Russia could strike the UK within minutes

In an interview with many colourful remarks such as labelling Baltic nations Lithuania and Estonia, stink bugs, Mr Zhuravlyov also claimed that St Petersburg – Putin’s birthplace – could be Nato’s first target in a war with Russia, adding that the US “will do everything possible to make World War Three happen”. 

“They [the US] will be able to attribute all their problems to the war, as they already did in the First World War and the Second World War.

“They got out of their crisis only thanks to the war in Europe. But there is a big danger: who guarantees that nuclear missiles will not fly? I do not guarantee this.”

Russian energy supplier RAO Nordic says it will suspend deliveries of electricity to Finland from Saturday, citing problems with payments as tensions between the two nations rise. The Finnish grid operator said Russia provided only a small percentage of the country’s electricity and that it could be replaced from alternative sources.

Fingrid said it did not expect electricity shortages as a result of the shut off, as only around 10 per cent of Finland’s electricity is supplied from Russia.

The Russian horn warns Babylon the Great of Satan

Russia makes new threats over use of Satan-2 hypersonic nuclear missile on Britain

Putin official said it is ‘absolutely legitimate’ for Russia to question the existence of Finland

5 hours ago

Russia has made new threats to use its deadly RS-28 Sarmat – known in the west as “Satan-2” – hypersonic nuclear missile to strike Britain in just “200 seconds”.

The warning from Russia’s defence committee deputy chairman, Aleksey Zhuravlyov, comes as Finland is poised to join Nato, and Swedenis set to follow suit. 

“If Finland wants to join this bloc, then our goal is absolutely legitimate – to question the existence of this state. This is logical,” Mr Zhuravlyov said in an interview with state TV Russia 1.

“If the United States threatens our state, it’s good: here is the Sarmat for you, and there will be nuclear ashes from you if you think that Russia should not exist. And Finland says that it is at one with the USA. Well, get in line.”

Last month Russia tested its new intercontinental missile, announcing that the warhead which could target Europe and the US would be deployed by the autumn. The Sarmat is capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads and decoys, and of striking targets thousands of miles away.

Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers roll through Red Square on 9 May 

Asked if Russia would now rebase nuclear weapons onto its border with Finland, he said: “What for? We don’t need to.

“We can hit with a Sarmat from Siberia, and even reach the UK. And if we strike from Kaliningrad… the hypersonic’s reaching time is 200 seconds – so go ahead, guys.

“On the Finnish border we will have not strategic weapons, but Kinzhal-class, one that will reach Finland in 20 seconds, or even 10 seconds.”

Russia has voiced its discontent at Finland’s intention to join Nato and said it would take “retaliatory steps” both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop threats to its national security rising. 

Mr Zhuravlyov claimed Finland is being provoked into joining Nato by the US and the UK. “The Finns have nothing to share with us. They receive more than 90 per cent gas, timber and much more from us.

“Who needs fighting first of all? The Finns? They are not afraid that Russia is attacking them. Of course, sooner or later the Americans will force them to do so.

“Just as they forced Ukraine to do it, they are trying to force Poland and Romania. And, as practice shows, they succeed.”

Deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko said Moscow will take adequate precautionary measures if Nato deploys nuclear forces and infrastructure closer to Russia’s border, according to the RIA news agency. He added that Moscow has no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden and does not see “real” reasons for those two countries to be joining Nato alliance.

Aleksey Zhuravlyov warned that Russia could strike the UK within minutes

(Duma)

In an interview with many colourful remarks such as labelling Baltic nations Lithuania and Estonia, stink bugs, Mr Zhuravlyov also claimed that St Petersburg – Putin’s birthplace – could be Nato’s first target in a war with Russia, adding that the US “will do everything possible to make World War Three happen”. 

“They [the US] will be able to attribute all their problems to the war, as they already did in the First World War and the Second World War.

“They got out of their crisis only thanks to the war in Europe. But there is a big danger: who guarantees that nuclear missiles will not fly? I do not guarantee this.”

Russian energy supplier RAO Nordic says it will suspend deliveries of electricity to Finland from Saturday, citing problems with payments as tensions between the two nations rise. The Finnish grid operator said Russia provided only a small percentage of the country’s electricity and that it could be replaced from alternative sources.

Fingrid said it did not expect electricity shortages as a result of the shut off, as only around 10 per cent of Finland’s electricity is supplied from Russia.

Russia’s Multiple Nuclear Horns: Daniel 7

Russia T-14

Putin Strikes Back: 5 Weapons Russia Could Use Next In Ukraine

ByBrent M. Eastwood

Russian Armata T-14 Tank Prototype from above.

Russia still has many weapons it could use to try and win the war in Ukraine: It is hard to believe, but after months of fighting Ukraine, the Russians have yet to use some of their most powerful weapons. Some of these arms are not likely to make an appearance on the battlefield any time soon, but they do give Russia a number of especially destructive options to fall back on. Tactical nuclear warheads come to mind, because Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened their use. Beyond that option, Russia does have a modern tank that is probably not ready for prime time; a land-attack cruise missile that is in reserve; a doomsday torpedo; and even a space weapon that could destroy American satellites by creating dangerous debris fields.

The Russians might grow so frustrated with their performance in Ukraine that they resort to using one of the estimated 2,000 tactical battlefield nuclear weapons they have in reserve. These could be delivered by Iskander land-attack missiles for dramatic effect. It is not clear what the U.S. or NATO response would be if the Russians did the unthinkable. A more likely scenario would be for the Russians to test a nuclear device in Kazakhstan. This would show the West that Putin means business.

Russia Tactical Nuclear Weapons

US Military B-61 nuclear weapon. Image Credit: US DOD.

Nuclear Torpedoes: A Black Sea Threat

Another nuclear-capable system is the Poseidon atomic torpedo. The Poseidon is 7 feet in diameter and 65 feet long, and it weighs 100 tons. It glides through the waves at an estimated speed of 70 knots. The Poseidon is larger than the U.S. Navy’s Mark 48 torpedo, which weighs 3,500 pounds. The nuclear warhead can be up to two megatons. The Poseidon is not supposed to enter service for another five years. If the war goes long, or if it eventually turns into a frozen conflict, this nuclear torpedo could threaten the port of Odessa.

Russia’s T-14 Armata Tank: Loaded with Features  

Russia is more likely to bring new tanks to the battlefield than they are to use tactical nuclear weapons. The T-14 Armata main battle tank has a fearsome reputation, but Russia just can’t get it to the front lines. Observers suspect that Western sanctions have made serial manufacturing of the T-14 impossible. If the tank reaches Ukraine, its unmanned turret would provide more survivability against anti-tank missiles such as the Javelin and NLAW that are wreaking havoc on Russian armor. The T-14 has a 125-mm smoothbore gun and an automated loader. The main gun is also designed to fire laser-guided missiles.

T-14 Armata

T-14 Armata. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Russia T-14

Russian Armata T-14 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

T-14 Armata

Main battle tank T-14 object 148 on heavy unified tracked platform Armata.

Land Attack Cruise Missiles in Reserve

The Kh-555 air-launched land-attack cruise missile is perhaps in reserve. It might yet make an appearance. The Kh-555 entered service in 2004. It is a long-range standoff missile that is fired from the Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber. The Tu-160 can carry twelve Kh-555s. The missile’s 881-pound warhead can be high explosive, penetrating high explosive, or consist of submunitions. The cruise missile is guided by a GPS system. 

Russia Starts Space Wars

Speaking of GPS, Russia could take the fight into outer space and endanger the American spy satellites that are sending intelligence to the Ukrainians. In November 2021, the Russians launched a space weapon in what is known as a direct-ascent anti-satellite test. The weapon destroyed one of Russia’s old satellites. The idea is to create a dangerous cloud of space debris from the satellite destruction that could destroy American satellites. It is not clear how the U.S. Space Force would react, but the new service branch does have plans to eliminate space debris fields in the future.

The T-14 Armata and the Kh-555 air-launched cruise missile would probably not make an appreciable difference in Russia’s war against Ukraine. They could give the Russians more ways to stymie Ukrainian counterattacks such as those unfolding in the Donbas region and outside Kharkiv. Russia is not likely to use tactical, low-yield nuclear weapons and space arms systems unless they perceive an existential threat. But they do have these capabilities, and that is enough to give Ukraine and its allies pause as the war moves toward stalemate.

Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.

Russia’s Got Nothing But Nuclear Weapons: Revelation 16

A ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile is launched in northwestern Russia.
In this photo taken from a video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, a ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from the Plesetsk facility in northwestern Russia, Dec. 9, 2020. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

Putin’s Got Nothing But Nuclear Weapons

11 May 2022

19FortyFive | By James Robbins

Russian television tells us that Vladimir Putin would rather go nuclear than accept defeat in Ukraine. President Biden has admonished that “idle comments about the use of nuclear weapons” are “irresponsible.” Opinion polls on both sides show widespread concern about a nuclear exchange. But Putin only talks about nuclear war because he has nothing else to say.

The war in Ukraine has not gone the way Kremlin decision-makers expected. The Ukrainian people have resisted more determinedly than Moscow (or Washington) predicted, and the international community has responded aggressively in a way the Kremlin did not anticipate. This is not like the 2008 invasion of Georgia, which passed with no effective response from the West, or 2014 when Russia seized and illegally annexed Crimea. Moscow effectively got away with those acts of aggression. However, the current war, exceedingly brutal, unprovoked, and unnecessary, has prompted a determined response.

Operations in Ukraine have unmasked Russian conventional power as a paper tiger. While it was widely expected before the invasion that Ukrainian troops would quickly be overwhelmed, Putin’s forces proved to be inexperienced, unmotivated, ineptly led, and poorly supplied. Columns moving on Kyiv ground to a halt and withdrew; forces in the south and east have better managed to seize ground, but whether they can hold it is another matter.

Ukraine’s forces have benefitted from ample supplies from Western countries, which have helped them to blunt Russia’s attacks. The United States and NATO have ruled out direct military intervention, but imagine if there was a force-on-force conventional engagement. Russia’s air forces would quickly cease to exist. The Russian Baltic Fleet would join the Moskva on the sea floor. Russian ground forces would face the full weight of more motivated, better trained, equipped, and supplied NATO forces. It would be a rout.

To get an idea of how this confrontation might unfold, recall the February 7, 2018 firefight in Syria between U.S. special operations forces and hundreds of Russian “mercenaries,” along with some Syrian government troops. The Americans were outnumbered more than ten to one, but a combination of precision airstrikes, lethal indirect fire and determined assault tactics drove the attacking force off with heavy losses. There were no American casualties.

If the Russian Army ever had any deterrence value, the war in Ukraine put an end to it. So, the only thing Moscow has left is its nuclear arsenal. Russia has around 6,000 nuclear warheads, of which about a quarter are deployed and ready to use. True, this force is a fraction the size of the Soviet Union’s nuclear stockpile at its peak, but as the bumper-sticker from those days said, even one nuclear weapon can ruin your whole day.

Bear in mind we have heard this all before. The Kremlin has never been shy about making nuclear threats. In 2008, during the Georgia crisis, Russia threatened Poland with a nuclear response to deploying a U.S. missile defense system. In 2014, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made veiled reference to a nuclear attack over the Crimea issue. And in March 2018, Putin himself unveiled “invincible” new nuclear weapons with a video suggesting an attack on Florida, for some reason.

Of course, threatening to use nuclear weapons and actually using them are two different things. Putin promised “consequences you have never seen” for intervening in Ukraine, but consequences go both ways. The old parameters of nuclear war have not changed. The United States is also a nuclear power, with a force at least as lethal and survivable as Russia’s, and any strategic nuclear attack on the U.S. or its allies would mean an immediate, devastating counterattack. Destruction is still mutually assured.

Putin knows this. He may pretend to be unhinged when it is convenient, but he is not suicidal. Neither is Joe Biden, which is why NATO forces will not intervene directly and push the conflict into the red zone. The alternative would be a war of mutual annihilation between the two old rivals, with China left to pick up the radioactive pieces.

Dr. Robbins is a former special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and in 2007 was awarded the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

Forgetting the apocalypse: why our nuclear fears faded Revelation 16

Intercontinental ballistic missiles in Moscow during a parade on Victory Day earlier this week.
Intercontinental ballistic missiles in Moscow during a parade for Russia’s Victory Day, 9 May 2022. Photograph: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Forgetting the apocalypse: why our nuclear fears faded – and why that’s dangerous

The horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made the whole world afraid of the atomic bomb – even those who might launch one. Today that fear has mostly passed out of living memory, and with it we may have lost a crucial safeguard

by Daniel ImmerwahrThu 12 May 2022 01.00 EDT

On an August morning in 1945, 600 metres over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, a small sun came briefly into existence. Few remember a sound, but the flash printed shadows on the pavements and sent buildings thrashing. The explosion – 2,000 times greater than that of any bomb yet used – announced not only a new weapon but a new era.

It was a stunning military victory for the United States. Yet jubilation there was undercut by “uncertainty and fear”, the newsman Edward R Murrow observed. It took only a moment’s reflection on the bomb’s existence to see the harrowing implication: what had happened in Hiroshima, and three days later in Nagasaki, could happen anywhere.

The thought proved impossible to shake, especially as, within the year, on-the-ground accounts emerged. Reports came of flesh bubbling, of melted eyes, of a terrifying sickness afflicting even those who’d avoided the blast. “All the scientists are frightened – frightened for their lives,” a Nobel-winning chemist confessed in 1946. Despite scientists’ hopes that the weapons would be retired, in the coming decades they proliferated, with nuclear states testing ever-more-powerful devices on Pacific atolls, the Algerian desert and the Kazakh steppe.

The fear – the pervasive, enduring fear – that characterised the cold war is hard to appreciate today. It wasn’t only powerless city-dwellers who were terrified (“select and fortify a room in which to shelter”, the UK government grimly advised). Leaders I themselves were shaken. It was “insane”, US president John F Kennedy felt, that “two men, sitting on the opposite sides of the world, should be able to decide to bring an end to civilisation”. Yet everyone knowingly lived with that insanity for decades. It was as if, wrote the historian Paul Boyer, “the Bomb” were “one of those categories of Being, like Space and Time, that, according to Kant, are built into of the very structure of our minds, giving shape and meaning to all our perceptions”.

Boyer remembered the unsettling news of the Hiroshima bombing, which occurred the week of his 10th birthday and shaped the rest of his childhood. Today, someone remembering the bomb that well would have to be 86 at least. The memory of nuclear war, once vivid, is quietly vanishing. The signs on the fallout shelters – those that remain – are rusted, and most of the world’s population can’t even recall an above-ground nuclear test (the last was in 1980). The bomb no longer gives “shape and meaning to all our perceptions”; until recently, many thought of it only rarely. It has been tempting to see nuclear war as a bygone terror that no longer terrifies, like polio.

Russia-Ukraine war: UN calls for end to school strikes after nearly 100 child deaths in April; EU to consider Ukraine’s membership – live
Kremlin threatens retaliation after Finland leaders say it must join Nato
‘They were furious’: the Russian soldiers refusing to fight in Ukraine
Capitol attack panel subpoenas five Republicans in unprecedented step
Trump officials and meat industry blocked life-saving Covid controls, investigation finds

Except that the threat of nuclear war, as Vladimir Putin is reminding the world, has not gone away. Russia has amassed the world’s largest collection of nuclear weapons, and Putin has threatened to “use them, if we have to”. The odds that he may are steadily increasing as Nato countries inch toward direct conflict with Russia. They are now sending Ukraine tanks and missiles, amassing troops in eastern Europe and providing intelligence that has allowed Ukrainians to target and kill Russian generals and sink a Russian warship. If this continues, the risk of nuclear war will be “considerable”, Russia’s foreign minister has warned. “The danger is serious, real, and we must not underestimate it.”

Yet many of Putin’s adversaries seem either unconvinced or, worse, unbothered by his threats. Boris Johnson has flatly dismissed the idea that Russia may use a nuclear weapon. Three former Nato supreme allied commanders have proposed a no-fly zone over Ukraine. This would almost certainly entail direct military conflict between Nato and Russia, and possibly trigger the world’s first all-out war between nuclear states. Still, social media boils over with calls to action, and a poll found that more than a third of US respondents wanted their military to intervene “even if it risks a nuclear conflict”.

Nuclear norms are fraying elsewhere, too. Nine countries collectively hold some 10,000 warheads, and six of those countries are increasing their inventories. Current and recent leaders such as Kim Jong-un, Narendra Modi and Donald Trump have, like Putin, spoken brazenly of firing their weapons. After North Korea promised “thousands-fold” revenge in 2017 for sanctions on its accelerating nuclear weapons programme, Trump threatened a pre-emptive strike, pledging to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen”. “This is analogous to the Cuban missile crisis,” one of Trump’s former aides, Sebastian Gorka, insisted.

Leaders have talked tough before. But now their talk seems less tethered to reality. This is the first decade when not a single head of a nuclear state can remember Hiroshima.

Does that matter? We’ve seen in other contexts what happens when our experience of a risk attenuates. In rich countries, the waning memory of preventable diseases has fed the anti-vaccination movement. “People have become complacent,” notes epidemiologist Peter Salk, whose father, Jonas Salk, invented the polio vaccine. Not having lived through a polio epidemic, parents are rejecting vaccines to the point where measles and whooping cough are coming back and many have needlessly died of Covid-19.

That is the danger with nuclear war. Using declassified documents, historians now understand how close we came, multiple times, to seeing the missiles fired. In those heartstopping moments, a visceral understanding of what nuclear war entailed helped keep the launch keys from turning. It’s precisely that visceral understanding that’s missing today. We’re entering an age with nuclear weapons but no nuclear memory. Without fanfare, without even noticing, we may have lost a guardrail keeping us from catastrophe.


The nuclear age started at 8.15am, 6 August 1945, with the release of a 4,400kg bomb from a B-29 over Hiroshima. Forty-three seconds later, an enormous explosion shattered the city. That so much destruction could be wrought so quickly was shocking news, which until then only a small coterie of scientists and military officials had known. “One senses the foundations of one’s own universe trembling,” a New York paper wrote in reaction to the terrifying new weapon.

What did the bomb mean? Atomic scientists, who’d had time to contemplate the question, rushed in to explain. The important thing wasn’t that atomic bombs could incinerate cities – conventional weapons were already accomplishing that. What distinguished atomic weapons was how easy they made it, noted J Robert Oppenheimer, who had helped oversee the bomb’s development. Atomic weapons “profoundly upset the precarious balance” between offence and defence that had governed war hitherto, Oppenheimer explained. A single plane, a single payload – no city was safe.

The implications were, the scientists admitted, horrifying. Albert Einstein had proposed in 1939 that the US government develop nuclear weapons, in order to ensure that Adolf Hitler wouldn’t acquire them first. But immediately after the war, he worried about any country possessing such power. Along with many of his colleagues, he concluded that the only solution was a global government, sovereign above existing countries, that would hold the world’s nuclear arsenal, enforce laws and prevent wars (other details were vague). One World Or None was the title of a bestselling book that Einstein, Oppenheimer and other scientists produced in March 1946. Even the head of the US air force contributed a chapter pleading for “a world organisation that will eliminate conflict by air power”.

Five months later, the world heard from another set of voices. The US occupation authorities in Japan had censored details of the bomb’s aftermath. But, without consulting the censors, the American writer John Hersey published in the New Yorker one of the most important long-form works of journalism ever written, a graphic account of the bombing. Born to missionaries in China, Hersey was unusually sympathetic to Asian perspectives. His Hiroshima article rejected the bomber’s-eye view and instead told the stories of six survivors.

For many readers, this was the first time they registered that Hiroshima wasn’t a “Japanese army base”, as US president Harry Truman had described it when announcing the new bombing, but a city of civilians – doctors, seamstresses, factory workers – who had watched loved ones die. Nor did they die cleanly, vaporised in the puff of a mushroom cloud. Hersey profiled a Methodist pastor, Kiyoshi Tanimoto, who raced to the aid of his ailing but very much still-living neighbours. As Tanimoto grasped one woman, “her skin slipped off in huge, glove-pieces”. Tanimoto “was so sickened by this that he had to sit down for a minute”, wrote Hersey. “He had to keep consciously repeating to himself, ‘These are human beings.’”

Hersey’s contemporaries understood the significance of these accounts. The New Yorker dedicated its full issue to Hersey’s article, and within an hour sold out its entire newsstand print run of 300,000 (plus another 200,000 copies to subscribers). Knopf published it as a book, which eventually sold millions. The text was reprinted in newspapers from France to China, the Netherlands to Bolivia. The massive ABC radio network broadcast Hersey’s text – with no commercials, music or sound effects – over four consecutive evenings. “No other publication in the American 20th century,” the journalism historian Kathy Roberts Forde has written, “was so widely circulated, republished, discussed, and venerated.”

Tanimoto, boosted to celebrity by Hersey’s reporting, made speaking tours of the US. By the end of 1949, he had visited 256 cities. Like Einstein, he pleaded for world government.

World government: it seems now like a wild utopia. Yet an astonishing number of people – responsible, sober people – felt it to be the only way of preventing more Hiroshimas. Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee both supported the idea. In France, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus championed it. France’s postwar constitution provided for the “limitations of sovereignty” a future world state might require. So did Italy’s.

Even in the US, which stood to lose its nuclear monopoly and global supremacy, support for a world state hovered between a third and a half in opinion polls. “World Government shall come – this is practically the consensus in this generation,” wrote the University of Chicago’s chancellor; he even convened a committee to draft its constitution. When candidates in the 1948 elections were asked if they favoured a global government with direct jurisdiction over individuals and peacekeeping powers, 57% said yes, including John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon. In 1946, the movie star Ronald Reagan donated $200 to the cause.

Such enthusiasm, however, counted for little in the face of geopolitics. Rising tensions between Washington and Moscow erased the possibility of global government. Still, they didn’t change the fact: across the west, leading thinkers felt nuclear weapons to be so dangerous that they required, in Churchill’s words, remoulding “the relationships of all men of all nations” so that “international bodies by supreme authority may give peace on earth and justice among men”.


For Albert Einstein, a world state was “the only one way out”: it was either that or annihilation. Yet the world state never came, and neither did another nuclear war. One of the most surprising and important facts of modern history is a quiet one: in the 76 years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not a single nuclear weapon has been detonated in anger.

Most weapons don’t work like that. Poison gas is one of the few other military technologies that, despite its effectiveness, has been shunned – the first world war was a gas war, but the second world war mostly wasn’t. Yet even chemical weapons have seen intermittent use, as by Iraq in the 1980s or Syria in 2013. By contrast, the number of nuclear weapons used since 1945 is zero.

Why? The conventional explanation is deterrence. The very thing that terrified Oppenheimer about nuclear weapons – that they made attacking easy and defending nearly impossible – meant that any country nuking a similarly armed foe would have to expect a counterstrike. “Because catastrophic outcomes of nuclear exchanges are easy to imagine, leaders of states will shrink in horror from initiating them,” the political scientist Kenneth Waltz argued. This logic led Waltz to a counterintuitive position: nuclear proliferation might be good. It’s not just that nuclear weapons deter nuclear weapons, it’s that they deter major wars in general by making the risks too high. The greater the number of states with nuclear arms, the argument goes, the less likely we are to see violence on the scale of the two world wars.

Conflicts have indeed become smaller since 1945. And although there have been border skirmishes between nuclear states – China and the USSR in 1969, India and Pakistan more recently – there haven’t been full wars. The bomb “gave peace to Europe”, the nuclear physicist Abdul Qadeer Khan argued. Khan led Pakistan’s nuclear programme starting in the 1970s and then transferred nuclear technologies to Iran, North Korea and Libya in the 1980s and 1990s. His active role in proliferation horrified many, but Khan felt that Pakistan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons (it tested its first in 1998) had saved it “from many wars”. By this grim reasoning, we might celebrate the fact that nearly half of humanity now lives in countries with nuclear weapons (and mourn Ukraine’s decision in the 1990s to destroy its warheads).

Yet central to Waltz’s deterrence theory was that the “catastrophic outcomes” of nuclear war were “easy to imagine”. For Waltz, who served in Japan in the immediate aftermath of the second world war, no imagination was necessary. Others needed help. This is why John Hersey’s Hiroshima article and Kiyoshi Tanimoto’s speaking tours were so important: they turned nuclear war from an abstraction into a reality.

It was a reality many lived with daily. Today, telling schoolchildren to hide under their desks if a hydrogen bomb strikes seems quaintly unhinged (though, actually, it’s good advice). But besides whatever trauma they wrought, preparedness drills like that created a widely shared nuclear consciousness. People regularly envisioned themselves in the position of the Hiroshima survivors. And if they needed help, such films as On the Beach (1959, US), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961, UK), The Last War (1961, Japan) and The Day After (1983, US but broadcast globally) vividly dramatised what a nuclear war would be like.

“Is it possible never to think about nuclear weapons?” asked the novelist Martin Amis in the 1980s. “The man with the cocked gun in his mouth may boast that he never thinks about the cocked gun. But he tastes it, all the time.” In the same decade, the psychiatrist Robert Lifton assessed the “psychic toll” such nuclear dread had taken. Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t just historical events, he argued, they were psychological ones, with rippling consequences. Living with the threat of annihilation threw “all relationships” into question. How could children trust their parents to keep them safe or churches provide spiritual continuity in such a world? Lifton attributed the rise of divorce, fundamentalism and extremism to the “radical futurelessness” the bomb had engendered.

Maybe one could dismiss the fallout shelters as theatre and the films as fiction. But then there were the bomb tests – great belches of radioactivity that previewed the otherworldly dangers of nuclear weapons. By 1980, the nuclear powers had run 528 atmospheric tests, raising mushroom clouds everywhere from the Pacific atoll of Kiritimati to the Chinese desert. A widely publicised 1961 study of 61,000 baby teeth collected in St Louis showed that children born after the first hydrogen bombs were tested had markedly higher levels of the carcinogen strontium-90, a byproduct of the tests, despite being some 1,500km away from the closest test site.

Unsurprisingly, nuclear tests stoked resistance. In 1954, a detonation by the US at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific got out of hand, irradiating the inhabited atoll of Rongelap and an unfortunate Japanese tuna fishing boat. When the boat’s sickened crew returned to Japan, pandemonium erupted. Petitions describing Japan as “thrice victimised by nuclear bombs” and calling for a ban collected tens of millions of signatures. Ishiro Honda, a film director who’d seen the Hiroshima damage firsthand, made a wildly popular film about a monster, Gojira, awakened by the nuclear testing. Emitting “high levels of H-bomb radiation”, Gojira attacks a fishing boat and then breathes fire on a Japanese city.

Gojira – or Godzilla, as he’s known in English – wasn’t the only one awakened by the 1954 Bikini test. The test put Hiroshima back in the spotlight and raised the profile of its survivors. In 1955, Kiyoshi Tanimoto brought 25 women, the “Hiroshima Maidens”, to the US for reconstructive surgery. He appeared before 15 million viewers on the television show This Is Your Life and recounted his ordeal the day Hiroshima was attacked. (In an agonising moment, he was then made to shake hands with a surprise guest, a drunken Robert A Lewis, one of the two pilots who had bombed it.)

As the anti-nuclear movement spread, “Hiroshima” became less an unfortunate event in Japan’s past than a semi-sacred one in world history, to be commemorated by morally serious people no matter their nationality. Tanimoto promoted “Hiroshima Day” and by the early 1960s there were protests and memorials on that day throughout the world. Denmark alone held demonstrations in 45 towns in 1963.

By then, Hiroshima occupied a similar place in public memory to Auschwitz, the other avatar of the unspeakable. The resemblance ran deep. Both terms identified specific events within the broader violence of the second world war – highlighting the Jews among Hitler’s victims, and the atomic bomb victims among the many Japanese who were bombed – and marked them as morally distinct. Both Hiroshima and Auschwitz had been the site of “holocausts” (indeed, early writers more often used that term to describe atomic war than European genocide). And both Hiroshima and Auschwitz sent forth a new type of personage: the “survivor”, a hallowed individual who had borne witness to a historically unique horror. What Elie Wiesel did to raise the stature of Europe’s survivors, Tanimoto did for Japan’s. In their hands, Hiroshima and Auschwitz shared a message: never forgetnever again.

Yet the analogy was imperfect. The European Holocaust was the work of many hands. Mass killing, ordered from on high, had to be carried out by countless willing executioners, who snatched the victims from their homes, stuffed them on to trains, kept them in camps, shot them, gassed them and disposed of their corpses. By contrast, the nuclear apparatus, once in place, could be set into motion by a handful of men in only a few minutes.

This also meant, the world soon realised, that another Hiroshima could come by accident. The murder of Europe’s Jews was many things, but it wasn’t inadvertent. In nuclear standoffs, a plane crash, system malfunction or miscalibrated threat could all plausibly trigger annihilation.


Nuclear standoffs are dangerous by design. As in the game of chicken, the point is to set off on a collision course and frighten your opponent into swerving first. “Fill the nuclear glass to the brim,” Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev advised his colleagues, “but don’t pour the last drop.”

Such brinksmanship requires leaders to quell their doubts, possibly even to convince themselves that they’re willing to see the glass spill over. Perhaps some are. “The whole idea is to kill the bastards,” said US general Thomas Power, when presented in 1960 with a nuclear plan designed to minimise casualties. “Look. At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win.” This is the man who led the US Strategic Air Command – responsible for its nuclear bombs and missiles – during the Cuban missile crisis.

Generals like Power, tasked with winning wars, pressed often for pre-emptive strikes. Yet they were fortunately overruled. Deterrence is surely one reason why, but memory played an important part, too. At key moments, decision-makers vividly imagined what would happen if they fired their weapons. They knew what nuclear aftermath looked like.

Even Truman, who had initially considered the bombing of Hiroshima “the greatest thing in history”, found cause for restraint. When the UN forces became stalemated in the Korean war, their commander Douglas MacArthur requested “atomic capability”, later explaining that he’d wanted to drop “between 30 and 50 atomic bombs”. Although Truman readied nuclear weapons, he fired MacArthur and declined to use them.

Why? Looking back, Truman complained of his “locally minded” field generals who couldn’t grasp what going nuclear would have meant. It would have meant an escalating war destroying cities containing millions of “innocent women, children and noncombatants”, Truman imagined. Truman “just could not” drop the bombs, he wrote. And, he added, “I know I was right.

Truman’s successor, Dwight Eisenhower, felt the same. He built up his country’s nuclear arsenal, but when his military advisers urged a preventative attack on the Soviet Union, he refused. He’d seen war, and he could easily envision a nuclear conflict. It would mean, he told them, a “great area from the Elbe to Vladivostok and down through south-east Asia torn up and destroyed without government, without its communications, just an area of starvation and disaster”. He couldn’t do it, either.

Such familiarity with war’s horrors proved essential in the Cuban missile crisis. The US placement of nuclear missiles in Turkey, followed by the Soviet placement of them in Cuba, brought the two powers terrifyingly close to war. But after a series of escalating threats, Kennedy’s Soviet counterpart Khrushchev changed the tone with a frantic, personal appeal. “I have participated in two wars and know that war ends when it has rolled through cities and villages, everywhere sowing death and destruction,” he wrote. Kennedy, as a fellow “military man” who had also seen combat (Khrushchev mentioned this twice), would “understand perfectly what terrible forces” could be unleashed.

Kennedy did understand, and he veered away from what he called the “final failure”. Yet even as Kennedy and Khrushchev were de-escalating their dangerous confrontation, a “far more dangerous” one was developing at sea, the late historian Martin Sherwin has argued. Its resolution suggests just how important experiential knowledge has been in keeping disaster at bay.

The situation involved a Cuba-bound Soviet submarine, carrying a nuclear warhead as powerful as the one that had decimated Hiroshima. The submarine, out of radio contact for days, had missed all the hasty diplomacy between Kennedy and Khrushchev. And so, when the sub’s captain found himself beneath a US warship, he refused to surface when signalled. Instead, he stayed submerged while the US sailors grew more aggressive in their signalling. One skipper tried the unauthorised and reckless tactic of dropping grenades on the sub.

The explosions were terrifying, and the Soviet captain understandably assumed the war was on. He ordered the torpedo readied. “We’re gonna blast them now! We will die, but we will sink them all – we will not become the shame of the fleet,” the ship’s radio officer remembered him shouting. Firing the first nuclear weapon since Nagasaki at the US navy near Cuba at the height of the missile crisis would have almost certainly triggered nuclear retaliation. “This was not only the most dangerous moment of the cold war,” believed Kennedy aide and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr, “It was the most dangerous moment in human history.”

The disaster was prevented by a Soviet officer, Vasily Arkhipov, who by chance had been assigned to travel with the submarine. Fifteen months earlier, he’d served aboard a nuclear-powered submarine whose reactor coolant system had failed, exposing the crew to radiation and killing 22 of his 138 shipmates. “He’d seen with his own eyes what radiation did to people,” his wife told a historian. “This tragedy was the reason he would say no to nuclear war.” Now facing the likelihood of war in the Caribbean, Arkhipov talked the enraged captain down.

It was astonishing luck: the submarine poised to start a nuclear war randomly had aboard one of the few individuals on the planet with recent experience of nuclear disaster. The ability to clearly remember and imagine nuclear war’s consequences had been, once again, essential to averting them.


In 1985, John Hersey returned to Hiroshima for the 40th anniversary of the bombing. He came to commemorate the past, but he found it fading. The survivors, on average, were now 62. Two of the six people he had profiled in his article were dead. Kiyoshi Tanimoto was still alive, but he was over 70 and retired. “His memory, like the world’s, was getting spotty,” Hersey wrote.

By then, the above-ground nuclear tests had stopped (the achievement of decades of antinuclear activism and treaties). Apocalyptic movies continued, but more often featuring zombies, aliens, intelligent machines, diseases or climate change than nuclear catastrophe. Hiroshima’s resonance, which once matched Auschwitz’s, was growing muffled. Today, knowledge of the Holocaust is kept alive by more than 100 museums and memorials, including in such unexpected countries as Cuba, Indonesia and Taiwan. But there is no comparable memory industry outside of Japan to remind people of nuclear war.

The result is a profound generational split, evident in nearly every family in a nuclear state. My father, born a month after Hiroshima was bombed, remembers going to a concert during the Cuban missile crisis “wondering if I would survive to the end”. My mother had constant nightmares of nuclear war. By contrast, I was born the year the atmospheric testing stopped, and such thoughts never crossed my mind. The extent of my nuclear consciousness was the hours I spent playing a video game called Duke Nukem. That game debuted in 1991, the year the cold war ended and Mikhail Gorbachev declared that “the risk of a global nuclear war has practically disappeared”.

We should feel relief, but the dispelling of dread has made it hard for many to take nuclear war seriously. “I hear people talk about nuclear weapons,” arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis told me recently, “and it’s just so divorced from reality.” They’ve become “dead metaphors”, Lewis feels, lacking the concreteness to disturb our thoughts or constrain our behaviours.

With nuclear threats far from mind, voters seem more tolerant of reckless politicians. Donald Trump, a case in point, has made outrageous threats, praised his own “unpredictability” in nuclear affairs and suggested using nuclear bombs against hurricanes (“you could hear a gnat fart in that meeting”, a source told Axios). Yet in the energetic discussion about the risks of Trump’s running for president in 2024 and winning, nuclear issues are far from central.

Nor is it only Trump. The nine nuclear states have had an impressive string of norm-breakers among their recent leaders, including Trump, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Kim Jong-un and Benjamin Netanyahu. With such erratic men talking wildly and tearing up rulebooks, it’s plausible that one of them might be provoked to break the ultimate norm: don’t start a nuclear war.

Caution does not seem in abundance nowadays. Invading Ukraine, Russia turned Chernobyl into a battlefield and recklessly shelled Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia. The Zaporizhzhia attack unsurprisingly set part of the site aflame. It was “the first time in history” that a nuclear plant had been attacked, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy pointed out. “If there is an explosion, it is the end of everything.”

HMS Vigilant, one of the Royal Navy’s four submarines that carry Trident nuclear missiles.

But how guided are leaders by such fears? In the past 20 years, the US has pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and two of the three main treaties restraining its arms race with Russia (the third is in bad shape). Meanwhile, China has been developing aggressive new weapons. In 2019, India made an airstrike in Pakistan, the first time its planes crossed the military border in Kashmir – known as the Line of Control – since either state acquired nuclear weapons. India has “stopped the policy of getting scared of Pakistan’s threats”, its prime minister, Modi, declared. India has the “mother of nuclear bombs” and its arsenal is “not being kept for Diwali”.

The cost of the shredded norms and torn-up treaties may be paid in Ukraine. Russia invested heavily in its nuclear arsenal after the cold war; it now has the world’s largest. The worse the war in Ukraine goes, the more Putin might be tempted to reach for a tactical nuclear weapon to signal his resolve. Already, Russia has threatened nuclear war multiple times, and yet Nato countries increase their aid to Ukraine. The “current generation of Nato politicians”, Russia’s exasperated ambassador in Washington has complained, “does not take the nuclear threat seriously”.

Maybe they don’t. Hiroshima lies just outside their collective memory. The oldest of the 30 Nato leaders, Joe Biden, was two years old in August 1945. The youngest, prime minister Dritan Abazović of Montenegro, may not even remember the cold war, as he was five when the Soviet Union collapsed.

That is what time does. Traumas fade, fortunately for us all. It is a profound achievement – though surely aided by luck – that no nuclear war has refreshed our memories since 1945. We should rejoice, too, that the looming dread engulfing past generations has largely dissipated. This is what we want nuclear war to be: an archaic practice, relegated safely to the past.

But we can’t drive nuclear war to extinction by ignoring it. Instead, we must dismantle arsenals, strengthen treaties and reinforce antinuclear norms. Right now, we’re doing the opposite. And we’re doing it just at the time when those who have most effectively testified to nuclear war’s horrors – the survivors – are entering their 90s. Our nuclear consciousness is badly atrophied. We’re left with a world full of nuclear weapons but emptying of people who understand their consequences.