Wilson Center starts Fall History and Public policy programs

“Atoms for Police”: The United States and the Dream of a Nuclear-Armed United Nations, 1945-62

In the latest NPIHP Working Paper, Ryan A. Musto examines the history behind a surprising idea: arming the United Nations with nuclear weapons. In 1945, Harold Stassen publicly proposed a nuclear-armed UN air force as a way to control the bomb, stop proliferation, and strengthen the United Nations. Although the Truman Administration rejected Stassen’s proposal at the time, the idea of a nuclear-armed UN persisted into the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, interacting with other proposals and debates about the UN’s role in nuclear decision-making and general and complete disarmament.

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The Wilson Center, chartered by Congress in 1968 as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.

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