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The Swords of Armageddon

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Development since 1945

Review Comments:

Chuck Hansen has been the essential source for publicly available information about U.S. nuclear weapons for over 20 years. He has tirelessly pursued the use of Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain declassified information on this subject of critical importance to public policy and history, and has amassed what is without doubt the largest and most extensive collection of declassified information on nuclear weapons in private hands. Chuck has been a strong advocate of openness in an area where the reflex for secrecy was established early, and where to this day secrecy is all too often used as a tool not to protect the national interest, but to advance political and institutional interests, often to the detriment of the public good.

The Swords of Armageddon: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Development since 1945 CD-ROM is a compendium of material Chuck has collected charting the development of nuclear weapons from 1945 to the present. Containing an estimated 2500 pages of material, it is an indispensible resource to anyone interested in pursuing this subject in depth. For many documents whose contents are reproduced or summarized here, there is probably no other publicly available source. And because Chuck has pursued this effort so consistently for so long, through many swings of Government policy, he has been able to assemble more fully complete versions of many edited documents that are available elsewhere. And it is certainly the most readily available source for this material.

The CD-ROM is published in eight volumes. What this means is that while the entire work is on a single CD-ROM, it consists of multiple password-protected Acrobat format (PDF) files for which the passwords can be purchased individually or in groups. The volumes are also available individually on microfiche.

Most of The Swords of Armageddon is a documentary account of U.S. nuclear weapons development and testing since 1945 (four volumes). It is not precisely a history, since most of this account consists of a chronological compilation of documents and document summaries rather than the sort of integrated narrative that the term "history" usually indicates. It does provide useful interpretation and observations on certain key topics however.

The rest of The Swords of Armageddon is divided between topical treatments on important subjects like weapons physics and weapon security devices, and an account of every type of nuclear weapon ever introduced into the U.S. arsenal. These weapon-specific accounts (occupying two volumes) collect almost all publicly available data on each weapon's characteristics, and also provide accounts of the weapon's development history.

To a large extent the The Swords of Armageddon expands on and supersedes Chuck Hansen's earlier (and now long out of print) book U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History. A notable exception to this though is that while the former book covered the entire span of U.S. atmospheric testing in its historical account (ending in 1963), The Swords of Armageddon's account terminates with Operation Hardtack in 1957.

Despite its vast size, The Swords of Armageddon is hardly a complete compilation of all of the material at Chuck's disposal. He has indicated his intention of publishing expanded and updated editions of The Swords of Armageddon, but will not until 80% of the current stock sells out, and has not yet announced any firm plans for future editions.

--- Carey Sublette

The Swords of Armageddon
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Executive Summary

The Swords of Armageddon: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Development since 1945 is the first and only comprehensive illustrated history of the post-World War II design, development, and testing of U.S. nuclear weaponry available to the public.

This unique 2,500 page CD-ROM and microfiche document will be updated periodically with new information. Contents include:

To Order:

The Swords of Armageddon is published by Chukelea Publications at:

Chukelea Publications
663 South Bernardo Avenue
Suite #226
CA 94087, USA

Fax: 1-408-730-0148

Email: hansenc@attmail.com or sobernardo@aol.com

Chuck Hansen can also provide copies of selected source documents that are referenced in The Swords of Armageddon from his archive of declassified materials though the Swords of Armageddon Information Service. Materials referenced in the CD-ROM range in size from a single page to series of volumes several thousand pages in length. Please include the volume and footnote number, and complete title, author, addressee, and date of the document. Prices of documents include costs of reproduction, labor, and shipping. Contact Chuck hansen for cost estimates of reproducing either partial or complete sources (same contact information as above).

See Chuck Hansen's 1996 email announcement of The Swords of Armageddon.