Stalin and the Bomb by Mr. David Holloway
The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939-1956

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For 40 years the Soviet-American nuclear arms race dominated world politics, yet the Soviet nuclear establishment was shrouded in secrecy. Now that the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union has collapsed, it is possible to answer questions that have intrigued policy-makers and the public. This text traces the history of Soviet nuclear policy from develoments in physics in the 1920s to the testing of the hydrogen bomb and the emergence of nuclear deterrence in the mid-1950s. It tells how Stalin launched a crash atomic programme only after the Americans bombed Hiroshima and showed that the bomb could be built; how the information handed over to the Soviets by Klaus Fuchs helped in the creation of their first bomb; how the scientific intelligentsia, which included such men as Andre Sakharov, interacted with the police apparatus headed by Lavrentii Beria; what steps Stalin took to counter US atomic diplomacy; how the nuclear project saved Soviet physics and enabled it to survive as an island of intellectual automony in a totalitarian society; and what happened when, after Staliln's death, Soviet scientists argued that a nuclear war might extinguish all life on earth. This book throws light on Soviet policy at the height of the Cold War, illuminates a central but hitherto secret element of the Stalinist system, and puts into perspective the tragic legacy of this programme today - environmental damage, a vast network of institutes and factories and a huge stockpile of unwanted weapons.

About Mr. David Holloway

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Published September 28, 1994 by Yale University Press. 480 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical, War, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A measured account of the development of the Soviet bomb program by Holloway (Political Science/Stanford, The Soviet Union and the Arms Race, 1983) that contrives to be both technically comprehensive and gripping.

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Publishers Weekly

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Working from newly opened Russian archives, as well as interviews and memoirs, Holloway presents an authoritative analysis of the Soviet nuclear program from the discovery of nuclear fission to the hydrogen bomb tests in the mid-'50s, with emphasis on the effects of the Stalinist regime's ideolog...

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The Independent

The early years of Soviet nuclear weapons development were so secret for so long that it was almost possible to forget that the exploits of Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller and the rest in the United States must have had a mirror image on the other side of the iron curtain.

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London Review of Books

David Holloway explains that ‘the central theme of this book is the development of Soviet nuclear weapons.’ He has ‘tried to provide a coherent – though inevitably incomplete and provisional – analysis of Stalin’s nuclear policy’ in terms of ‘individual decisions taken in particular circumstances’.

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