The United States is known to have 7,200 nuclear weapons as of January 2015. This is the second most out of any country, and it is twenty-four times more than the nation at third place which comes in at just 300. However, the United States government feels that this is not enough and plans to spend at least $179 billion over the next nine fiscal years of 2010-2018. This has caused a few people to take pause and speak out against this. One notable person was Stephen Hawking who said, “If you want to slow the nuclear arms race, then put your money where your mouth is and don’t bank on the bomb!” It also prompted the Cambridge City Council to divest their billion dollar pension fund from nuclear weapons production. This was in the hope that it would inspire other companies, people, and cities to do the same.
Nuclear weapons are a dangerous and devastating technology. They were first tested on July 16, 1945 in New Mexico. On the day of August 6, 1945 the world was changed forever. The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the town of Hiroshima, Japan. Nagasaki, Japan was bombed three days later. These two bombs alone caused nearly 200,000 deaths. Japan surrendered on August 14 and World War II was brought to a close. However, it almost immediately brought the United States into another war, the Cold War. The Cold War nearly brought on the destruction of humanity as the USA and the U.S.S.R both developed more powerful nuclear weapons as deterrents. Near the end of the war each had enough nuclear power to wipe out each other and plenty more.
The United Nations now has a ban on countries developing nuclear weapons and urges countries that already have them to disarm them, despite this the U.S. continues to fund development projects for nuclear weapons. However, with the recent divestment move of Cambridge there could be some progress towards reformation. “In Europe, over 50 large institutions have already limited their nuclear weapon investments, but this is our first big success in America“, said Susi Snyder. Susi Snyder is the leader of the Global nuclear weapon divestment campaign called Don’t Bank on the Bomb. Their website dontbankonthebomb.com has a lot of information on countries and companies around the world that are doing the same thing as the Cambridge City Council. They along with futureoflife.org hope to make a safer future for everyone by ending the development of nuclear weapons because in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness.”