The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy
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WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
The first full account of how the Cold War arms race finally came to a close, this riveting narrative history sheds new light on the people who struggled to end this era of massive overkill, and examines the legacy of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that remain a threat today.
Drawing on memoirs, interviews in both Russia and the US, and classified documents from deep inside the Kremlin, David E. Hoffman examines the inner motives and secret decisions of each side and details the deadly stockpiles that remained unsecured as the Soviet Union collapsed. This is the fascinating story of how Reagan, Gorbachev, and a previously unheralded collection of scientists, soldiers, diplomats, and spies changed the course of history.
Michigan—who were visiting Moscow. “Disarmament issues cannot be postponed,” Gorbachev said. “The locomotive is rushing forward at great speed. Today there is still a chance to stop it, but tomorrow it might be too late.” In the marshy flatlands and forests of the Ukraine, spring breezes arrived early that April, carrying scents of cherry blossoms. A giant nuclear electricity-generating plant with a red-and-white candy-striped smokestack stood astride the Pripyat River, ten miles north of the
dealing with the Soviets, the United States had to first embark on a demonstrable military buildup. Reagan resumed building the B-1 bomber Carter had canceled, pushed ahead with a new basing mode for a new land-based missile, the MX, and with construction of a new Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missile with more accuracy and range. Reagan also secretly approved more aggressive U.S. naval and air maneuvers aimed at the Soviet Union. His CIA director, William Casey, expanded covert
his alma mater, Eureka College, marking the fiftieth anniversary of his own graduation. In one eloquent passage, Reagan talked about the horror of nuclear war and vowed to “ensure that the ultimate nightmare never occurs.” He also used the address to make his first major proposal since taking office for controlling long-range nuclear weapons—including the ballistic missiles that were so fearsome and fast. He called for both the United States and Soviet Union to reduce their ballistic missile
are laughing at ours.” Weber had broken through the secrecy. The trip produced proof that Biopreparat and the Soviet military envisioned manufacturing germ weapons by the metric ton in the event of war. The Soviets had grossly violated the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. He had seen, too, that the anthrax factory, while not operating, remained intact. The fermenters were still there, mothballed but ready. “By the end of that day we had gone from almost failing, the team not even being
disarmament, should be negotiated as soon as possible, independently of SDI … I believe that a compromise on SDI can be reached later.” Sakharov, Moscow and Beyond (New York: Knopf, 1991), p. 21. 19 See “The INF Treaty and the Washington Summit: 20 Years Later,” TNSA EBB No. 238. 20 Podvig, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001), pp. 224–226. Gorbachev, Memoirs, pp. 443–444. 21 Katayev’s account is drawn from his memoir; a lengthy monograph, “Structure, Preparation and