“When Did (and Didn’t) States Proliferate?” is the title of a Managing the Atom Project Discussion Paper by Middlebury Institute professor Philipp Bleek, chronicling nuclear weapons proliferation choices through the nuclear age. As explained in the introduction, some thirty-one countries are known to have at least explored the possibility of launching a nuclear weapons program. Sixteen of those countries launched weapons programs, and ten acquired deliverable nuclear weapons. Bleek’s paper summarizes all of this nuclear proliferation activity and more, chronicling both the initiation and, where relevant, the ending of these efforts.
“This paper grew out of my PhD dissertation and some related work on nuclear weapons proliferation,” says Bleek. Earlier drafts of it had circulated for several years as a sort of “samizdat” among scholars who use quantitative tools to study proliferation. “My former Harvard colleagues and I finally decided this needed to see the light of day as a proper publication. I’m especially pleased by what I believe is the first-ever joint MIIS-Harvard publication.”
Published on June 2, 2017, the paper is available through Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.