AUTHORBird, Jaqueline M.
TITLEScientists in Conflict: Hans Bethe, Edward Teller and the Shaping of United States Nuclear Weapons Policy, 1945-1972
CITYClaremont, CA

This work focuses on the adversarial positions of two eminent physicists, Hans Bethe and Edward Teller, who influenced post-World War II U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The author presents an account that describes the policy differences between the two scientists as well as their personalities and experiences. The narrative is organized chronologically into four periods: the post-war bid for disarmament (1945-1948); the development of the hydrogen bomb (1949-1954); the nuclear test ban negotiations (1954-1963); and the deployment of a limited system of ballistic missile defense (1964-1972). Each period contrasts the two scientists' motives, political agendas, and methods of influencing and implementing policy. The conclusion weighs the effectiveness of the two scientists as policy advisors during the period, finding that Teller played a greater role in setting the nuclear agenda; though Bethe, who was better at assessing the Soviet nuclear program, also contributed to the shaping of U.S. nuclear policy. The book contains extensive footnotes and a solid bibliography.

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