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The Nuclear Age

6th of August,1945.Hiroshima is shattered by a devastating weapon that has never been seen before in the course of human history.

An absurd battle for nuclear arms splits the world into two.The Nuclear Age has erupted. Tensions spike as Eastern Europe is engulfed by the blood curdling and dark Iron Curtain. This is the start of the Cold War,an ideological,scientific and technological battle that compels nations to erect the deadliest weapons known to mankind: Nuclear Weapons.

Are nuclear weapons really effective deterrents? Or do they empower fanatics to inflict unimaginable suffering? Do they really encourage world peace? Or will they bring about severe climatic repercussions?

Are nuclear weapons really worth it?

It is imperative that a thorough analysis of both the necessity and the liabilities of nuclearism be examined meticulously. The darker threats that they pose to human security and climate must be considered. In a split second,eighty thousand people are killed by the tremendous heat and radiation emitted by the nuclear bombs. Survivors would later be dubbed as ‘Hibakusha’ whose lives were wrecked by the bombings. Radiated,they were shunned by society and were forced to live on government subsidy for the rest of their lives. The radiation from the explosion was the source of the severe long-term impact on the environment. It spread around the world and contaminated food and water supplies. Mutations occurred in multitudes of living organisms,plants and animals. The ecosystem was disrupted entirely.The repercussions of the bombings roused terror and agitation around the world. Decades later,the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki plague Japan.

The radioactive emission by Hiroshima was not only restricted to Japan but it was carried far beyond Japan by the current. The contamination of the air and soil ensured that produce would be affected horribly. The radiation in the soil took decades to wipe out. Worst of all,the produce that did not get burned up could not be consumed because of its radioactive contamination. Cities were inhabitable for months because of the radiation. The explosions generated immediately led to the creation of a firestorm. By combustion,firestorms depleted the atmospheric oxygen substantially to produce flame. The wild fires produced soot which caused the global temperature to fall.A recent study shows that a nuclear war with a 100 Hiroshima sized bombs would cause temperatures to fall to the Ice Age levels.

Ethical considerations

The destructive power of nuclear weapons is unparalleled, with long-lasting and devastating consequences for civilian populations. Ethical concerns arise because of the inherent indiscriminate nature of these weapons, as they do not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. The potential loss of innocent lives raises questions about the morality of possessing and relying on such weapons.

Nuclear weapons of the trailblazing twenty-first century are twenty to thirty times more powerful than Hiroshima implying that the apocalyptic destruction of civilization would take place. In today’s scenario,the russia-ukraine war has brought an increasing fear that nuclear weapons may be looked to as a potent means to achieve victory.Such a victory would however obliterate existence itself.

Nations have allocated millions of the annual budget towards a superlative nuclear program that would facilitate nuclear testing. Carried out in the isolated and faraway lands of the northern hemisphere,nuclear testing emits noxious radioactive isotopes which sludge the living atmosphere. Ecosystems are severed. The second worst nuclear accident to have ever unfolded was the Fukushima disaster that resulted in disastrous nuclear meltdowns,horrific hydrogen explosions, and the release of radioactive contamination. The environmental consequences of a tragedy that could have been so easily averted forced a hundred thousand people to relocate. This environment paid dearly the cost of negligence as fourteen-thousand times more cesium 137 was released from the Fukushima accident than the Hiroshima atomic bombing! The rising enmity between the Soviet Union and the western world facilitated an increase in nuclear testing. The Tsar Bomba was a thermonuclear aerial bomb that was the most powerful to be ever tested. Its testing site Novaya Zemlya is infamous for a whopping 130 russian nuclear tests conducted in this frigid and arctic island. Severe destruction of the island within a radius of about 100 km soon followed in the wake of the nuclear tests.Nuclear fallout was distributed all over the Northern Hemisphere. Nuclear waste that was thoughtlessly dumped around the islands contributed immensely to the current environmental catastrophe around Novaya Zemlya.Such dire and severe ramifications of nuclear weapons questions the validity of nuclear deterrence. The horrors of nuclear weapons may not be unleashed directly upon civilization but individuals are victims of the horrendous environmental complications that are a result of nuclear testing.

Testing sites are highly virulent and toxic as the tremendous radioactive energy released renders them unsuitable for habitation. Biodiversity is wiped off the face of testing sites. Millions of civilians are forced to leave their beloved lands and traverse onto distant and foreign ones. Sorrow and despondence is left behind with the rubble of nuclear testing.Indigenous tribes are destroyed. The population faces harrowing trauma all because of the so-called ‘greater good’ of nuclear deterrence.

A nuclear explosion sends ash and dust shooting up into the sky. The Earth is shielded from the rays of sunlight as it cannot penetrate this ‘protective layer’. This is abrupt global cooling and nuclear winter descends upon the earth.A research team postulated the transformation of the ocean in two fundamental ways from a regional, nuclear conflict.Oceans would become less acidic, and the calcium carbonate in their waters will dissolve more readily. A key component of marine animals,Calcium carbonate is the chemical that comprises many animal’s shells including coral reefs.Au contraire to the world’s conceptions,Carbon-shelled marine animals are threatened despite decreases in acidity, not because of it. A concerning question lies before the world as there is a doubt of how well marine life can adapt to the abrupt changes in acidity. The change in acidity from a large-scale, regional nuclear conflict would be significantly more sudden than the “gradual” ocean acidification that has been experienced over the past half century. Thus nuclear weapons are a catastrophe heading towards marine life. Animals are either downright ripped to death or grotesque mutations traumatise the lives of future generations and radioactive material is omnipresent. Opponents strongly argue against the apocalyptic nature of nuclear weapons as our living world is violated by radioactivity.

72.9 billion dollars. That’s how much just nine countries spend on its nuclear defence system annually. The economic might of nations feeds their exorbitant nuclear programs that bring into this world destructive weapons. It is

absolutely ridiculous to spend 138,700 dollars every minute on weapons that cause catastrophic human harm rather than spending it on protecting the health of citizens. Each country’s spending on nuclear weapons could instead pay for at least 100,000 intensive care unit beds, tens of thousands of ventilators and tens of thousands of annual salaries for nurses and doctors. The financial costs of nuclear weapons question nuclearism as resources are taken away from human welfare and are rather wasted on the creation of lethal technologies.

The concept of nuclear deterrence lies upon the axiom of mutually assured destruction that prevents nuclear powers from resorting to nuclear weapons. Mutually assured destruction is unfavourable to all parties involved,even the wielder of this lethal weapon. Rationality suggests that this would oppose the consideration of war as the agitator would be threatened by the unleashing of this catastrophic technology.Nuclear deterrence has also demonstrated its effectiveness in preventing large-scale conventional warfare. The fear of escalation to nuclear conflict compels nations to exercise caution and restraint in their military actions. By avoiding actions that could trigger an adversary's nuclear response, conflicts are often kept within a manageable scope.

Nuclear disarmament has been met with both favour and criticism.Critics suggest that nuclear disarmament would lead to the absence of nuclear deterrence and thus instability would be rampant. A fully escalated war by military means might emerge because of the absence of nuclear deterrence. For example: Devin Hagerty’s ‘The consequences of nuclear proliferation:Lessons from South Asia’ is an analysis of how nuclear weapons have changed the foreign policy of India and Pakistan. He finds that the 1987 Brasstacks issue occurred as Pakistan’s nuclear capability remained nascent. In the 1990 crisis,India and Pakistan appeared to have embraced the nuclear deterrence policy as Pakistan was then equipped with nuclear weapons. War was successfully averted. The Nuclear Deterrence policy has succeeded.

However,American and Russian experts concede that the war in Ukraine has proved that nuclear deterrence has proved futile in the attempts to prevent war. Nuclear deterrence is based on the assurance that the regime of the country wouldn’t risk the lives of the citizens of their country and themselves. It rests on the presumption this suicide means to achieve victory wouldnt be considered feasible. However countless incidents show suicide bombers on the path of self destruction for their ‘principles and values’. It ignores how individuals in power to respond to humiliation would rather cut their noses off to spite their faces than accept defeat. Stalin and Hitler are such examples. Stalin callously led millions of citizens to die in the conquest of Stalingrad rather than give the Nazis a humiliating defeat. Hitler concocted an irrational ploy to get back at the Allies by launching an impossible invasion through the difficult terrain of the Ardennes. ‘’Nuclear war is the ultimate in ‘murder-suicide’ crimes, but deterrence theories fail to factor in how narcissistic leaders armed with nuclear weapons may choose to blot out future.Nuclear weapons are not the key to peace or security or preventing war. There have been many instances since the Cuban missile crisis that nuclear weapons may have been unleashed in the cold war. Thus, research shows that nuclear deterrence may be ineffective in such cases.

A shocking event shook the world as the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were set ablaze by a devastating air plane crash. The start of a brand new century was marked by the greatest and most heinous attack of terror. Terrorism has struck the world. The world continues to be ruthlessly ripped apart by deranged lunatics who cold heartedly take innocent lives. Although the probability of nuclear explosives being acquired and used by terrorists is small,it cannot be dismissed. Nuclear terrorism may be a real possibility so long as nuclear proliferation continues to exist.

Alternative technology

Alternatives include the theory of discrimination and proportionality. Discrimination is to selectively target industry and non civilian areas in order to cripple the country and make strategic gains. Vital transport routes,artillery factors and so on should be targeted with as little civilian damage. Proportionality is based on the same principle that is to eliminate all chances of civilian fatalities and casualties. Drones prove instrumental in this by surveillance of the target ensuring the attack at a time when minimal civilians are around. Many consider unmanned aeroplanes (drones) to be the future.Drones were vital in the battle against terrorism when the drone ‘Predator’ was the means of assassination of the puissant terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden. However,they are useful only in the battle against enemies without an air force as drones were found to be extremely vulnerable to fighter planes due to their low velocity and lack of reflexes.

Nuclear disarmament has been met with much criticism as The Non-Proliferation Treaty was one which served only the self interest of the five original nuclear powers. Citing an example, India’s pursuit of nuclear power was met by much opposition by many countries, especially the United States of America. The original superpowers under the guise of the horrific impacts of nuclear weapons prevented developing countries from embracing nuclear weapons. This cemented their puissance and consolidated their world position. The concept of nuclear disarmament needs to be redefined. A universal disarmament would avert the formation of super-powers. Further, less powerful countries would not,under deterrence, submit to the super powers’ demands. Thus,the independence and the choices of each country would be respected by a universal disarmament.

Nuclear deterrence has significantly contributed in preserving global stability and preventing major conflicts. It has acted as a deterrent force, maintaining a balance of power and preventing large-scale warfare.Efforts toward control of arms, disarmament, and multilateral security frameworks are vital for addressing the risks associated with nuclear weapons. As the world continues to navigate the complexities of international relations, nuclear deterrence must be continuously evaluated to ensure its effectiveness and alignment with global peace and stability.

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