Nuclear Crash: The US economy after small nuclear attacks

From the abstract: 'The effects of a nuclear attack on a country's society and economy have been the subject of numerous studies based on data from the nuclear bombs used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, from nuclear tests, and from conventional-bomb damage data 1. Even though these studies have focused on quantitative calculations of the physical damage and have presented only qualitative extrapolations of the effects of this damage on the fate of the survivors, they were instrumental in establishing the fact that a nuclear exchange between two warring nations would result in tremendous devastation. From this fact comes the conclusion that the only actual use for nuclear explosives is to maintain deterrence, that is, to insure that a nuclear opponent does not use his nuclear arsenal against you. Most of these studies have had one of two purposes either to snow that a nuclear war is unwinnable or to guide military planners in determining the size of their countrys nuclear arsenal. Even though many studies indicated that deterrence could be supported by a relatively small nuclear arsenal, the total number of nuclear weapons deployed by the U.S. and the Soviet Union now approaches 50,000. Dissatisfaction with this development has prompted two reactions in this country. The first is a move to limit the nuclear explosives in each arsenal to the number that would securely deter an opponent that is, towards reduction of the number of nuclear explosives. The other is to try to develop a defensive system that would effectively protect the society and economy of the U.S. regardless of the number of nuclear weapons deployed by the Soviet Union.'


Defense Technical Information Centre