Edward Teller

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Simfish
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Yes, I do realize that this post coincides with the death of Edward Teller at the age of 95 yesterday.. The death of Teller, and the article about him, has inspired me to make this post as well. So here it goes..
Do you think that Edward Teller was right in pushing for the H-Bomb? Do you think that the U.S. would have been better off or worse off without it? Obviously, the Soviets were pursuing their own H-bomb program, and if the US didn't do so as well; then the Soviets could have been the one to win a nuclear war, although bth countries would still be devastated. The Societs did gain a little bit of information from the American research at the H-bomb, but the clandestine Klaus Fuchs was eventually caught, and imprisoned. It was suggested that the American development of the H-bomb was rather faulty at that time, and that the information that Fuchs passed on to the Soviets hindered the Soviets more so than it helped them.

Now, back to the issue.. Do you think that the U.S. would be better off developing the H-Bomb, or would you think that the US would have been better off following with Oppenheimer's advice? The building of the H-bomb inexorably resulted in the Cold War, but fortunately, no nuclear conflict was propogated due to the build-up of nukes on both sides. Also, what about the other initiatives Teller proposed, such as the support of the "Star Wars" plan.. Would you support that particular plan?
 

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Obviously, the Soviets were pursuing their own H-bomb program,
No. I don't think that was true. Teller was pushing for H-bombs before the soviets even had fission atomic bombs, indeed even before Hiroshima. The neccessity of the MAD did not exist at that time. If Teller did get his way completely, and the US acquired thermonuclear weapons ten years earlier, the nuclear threat would have been much greater due to the distablisation of the world balance of power. There is further no indication at that time - or at any time that the Soviets were developing weapons for offensive purposes - and of course, there is no such thing as victory in a nuclear war.

But worse, Teller's attempts to justify his actions in terms of MAD is undermined by his later proposal for the SDI. The SDI's failing was that it did destrory the concept of MAD - and if it was ever close to success, there is a great chance that the Soviets would have launched a pre-emptive strike instead of wait to fall behind.
 

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