More than 25 years after the Cold War and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the world’s nuclear stockpiles remain at dangerously high levels. Of the 15,375 estimated nuclear weapons in the world, the United States and Russia have 93% of the world’s nuclear arsenal. An estimated 1,800 of these nuclear weapons are on hair-trigger alert. Current U.S. plans to modernize our nuclear weapons system are unaffordable at a cost of $1 trillion over 30 years, and destabilizing, as they would lead to a new nuclear arms race.
“The Real Nuclear Threat to America is an Accident”
The current chance of any nation intentionally launching its nuclear arsenal is low, so “the real nuclear threat to America is an accident,” says the deputy commander of U.S. nuclear forces. The U.S. has experienced dozens of nuclear near-misses, including dropping two live bombs on North Carolina when a plane malfunctioned. In 1995, Russia almost launched its nuclear missiles at the U.S. when it thought it was under attack. To date, the U.S. has lost 11 nuclear weapons (whereabouts still unknown).
Nuclear Weapons Programs are Really Expensive (And Could Get More Expensive Soon)
The United States will spend at least $179 billion over the fiscal years of 2010-2018 on its nuclear arsenal, averaging $208B per year. The U.S. plans to spend an additional $1T over the next 30 years modernizing its nuclear arsenal, including building Long Range Stand Off weapons (LRSO), which former Secretary of Defense William Perry calls “a uniquely destabilizing type of weapon”. He and Andy Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, have called on President Obama to “lead the world to a stabler and safer future by canceling plans for a new nuclear-capable cruise missile.”
Nuclear Weapons Do Not Address Today’s Most Critical Security Concerns
The costs of nuclear weapons program modernization are particularly jarring because nuclear weapons cannot be used to address terrorism or climate change. Terrorist organizations share space with civilian populations, and the radiation from nuclear weapons cause extensive environmental damage. And, the Pentagon announced in June 2015 that it could reduce strategic nuclear forces by one-third below levels set by the 2010 New START Treaty, continuing a historical trend. The U.S. nuclear stockpile has dropped by 80 percent since its peak in 1967, but is still a formidable and expensive force of about 7,100 warheads (2,500 are intact, awaiting dismantlement).
We Cannot Use These Weapons
Why should the U.S. spend $20 billion per year, and an additional $1trillion over 30 years, on a weapons system we can never again use, when we have underfunded domestic programs? Between 120,000 to 200,000 people – not soldiers, most were civilians – died instantly from our nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands more died in the following years from radiation related sicknesses. We should invest our money in programs that help the American people, not on programs that cause unparalleled human destruction.
Take Action: Remember the Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Tell President Obama We Cannot Repeat This Dark Chapter of World History.
In his 2009 Prague speech, President Obama stated: “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” At the commemorations of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the tragedies the U.S. nuclear bombs inflicted upon hundreds of thousands of people, Peace Action New York State and our local chapters will ask you to take action and make sure that we pave the way for a world without nuclear weapons.
On August 6th, 1945, the U.S. dropped the first nuclear bomb used in war – and on August 9th, we dropped the second. The two bombings killed at least 120,000 people instantly, and hundreds of thousands more died in the months and years following, from toxic radiation poisoning.
Every year, peace communities across the United States come together to remember this lesson of history, and to advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons, so this dark chapter in American and World history, will never be repeated.
Below is a collection of resources as you mobilize communities across New York State to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki – and to ask why on earth we still have nuclear weapons on this earth.
Interested in attending an event near you? Find our chapter events across the State on our calendar,
CLICK HERE to find an event near you.
Posters + Palmcards: 8.5x11 + 5x7
You can view our poster and palmcard on the right. You can download them by clicking the links below:
Click HERE to download posters sharing stories of the U.S. narrowly avoiding nuclear disasters.
Click HERE to download palmcards sharing stories of the U.S. narrowly avoiding nuclear disasters (print double-sided).
Download a physical copy of our petition to President Obama, calling on him to keep his promises & work towards a world without nuclear weapons. Click HERE to download this petition, which you can circulate in your Peace Action chapter, community or school.
You can view our postcards on the right. You can download them by clicking the links below:
Click HERE to download postcards to the Japanese Consul General, apologizing for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Click HERE to download postcards to President Obama, calling on him to work towards a world without nuclear weapons.
Make Your Own Resources: Quotes
“Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. And as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it. So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. “
~ President Barack Obama, April 5, 2009, Prague
“We simply cannot allow the 21st century to be darkened by the worst weapons of the 20th century.”
~ President Barack Obama, Nov 29, 2012, National Defense University, Washington, DC
“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And no matter how great the obstacles may seem, we must never stop our efforts to reduce the weapons of war. We must never stop at all until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of the Earth.”
~ President Ronald Reagan, 1984 State of the Union Address
“Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.”
~ President John F. Kennedy, Address Before the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York City, September 25, 1961
“I think the fate not only of our own civilization, but I think the fate of world and the future of the human race, is involved in preventing a nuclear war.”
~ (Senator ) John F. Kennedy, Third Nixon-Kennedy Presidential Debate, October 13, 1960
“Nine nations still cling firmly to these ghastly instruments of terror, believing, paradoxically, that by threatening to obliterate others they are maintaining the peace. Quite unaccountably, all are squandering precious resources, human and material, on programs to modernize and upgrade their arsenals — an egregious theft from the world’s poor.”
~ Desmond Tutu, CNN editorial, Feb 13, 2014
“The sheer folly of trying to defend a nation by destroying all life on the planet must be apparent to anyone capable of rational thought.”
~ Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan
“Our collective efforts to move away from the nuclear abyss have remained too modest in ambition and brought only limited success. Nuclear weapons should be stigmatized, banned and eliminated before they abolish us.”
~ President Heinz Fischer of Austria, Sept. 26, 2013 at the UN
“Obama should visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, see the reality of the atomic bombings for himself, and take a determined step toward nuclear weapons abolition from the atomic bombed sites to the world.”
~ Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, April 29, 2014 at the UN..
“We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe. We must run faster.”
— Former Senator and Nuclear Threat Initiative co-founder Sam Nunn ~ Nov 11, 2013, address to the American Nuclear Society