Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons. They are a threat to human survival.
The dangers of nuclear weapons arise from their very existence. Nine countries today possess an estimated 17,000 nuclear weapons, around 2,000 of which are kept on hair-trigger alert – ready for use within minutes. Most of today’s nuclear weapons are dozens of times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.
This timeline describes key events of the nuclear age: the first nuclear test, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the negotiation of treaties to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, the abandonment of nuclear weapons by some countries, major public demonstrations for disarmament.