Accession Number:

ADA350706

Title:

Embracing the Bomb: Ethics, Morality, and Nuclear Deterrence in the U.S. Air Force, 1945-1955

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

NORTH CAROLINA UNIV AT CHAPEL HILL

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1998-08-04

Pagination or Media Count:

78.0

Abstract:

For four years, from 1945-1949, the U.S. Air Force was the only institution on the planet responsible for planning nuclear strikes and capable of delivering such a blow. Even in the mid-1950s, the Air Force was still by far the most powerful nuclear force and would be for years. At the same time, an intense moral debate surrounded atomic and nuclear weapons. This paper addresses how leading U.S. Air Force officers viewed nuclear weapons in ethical terms. Specifically, at a time when no one else had to, how and why did professional Air Force officers come to accept planning for, threatening, and training to take millions upon millions of human lives, many of them civilian, with nuclear weapons The work draws extensively from the manuscript collections and printed primary sources of Air Force generals to show that these men ardently believed they were traveling the road of higher morality.

Subject Categories:

  • Nuclear Weapons

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE