<p>Within 10 days, the most acute crisis of the Cold War is resolved through discussions on Soviet missiles in Cuba. But founding editor Eugene Rabinowitch and the <em>Bulletin</em> community do not move the hands of the Clock. They view the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis as indicators of longer-term trends, understanding the successful resolution of the crisis and the creation of a dedicated communication channel between Washington and Moscow to be positive steps leading toward the first significant arms-control agreement between the superpowers. </p>
After the near-catastrophe of the Cuban Missile Crisis a year before and a decade of almost non-stop nuclear tests, the United States and the Soviet Union sign the Partial Test Ban Treaty, which ends all atmospheric nuclear testing. The treaty does nothing to outlaw underground testing, but it represents the first instance of concrete progress in at least slowing the arms race. It also signals awareness between the two countries that they must work together in order to prevent nuclear annihilation.
After the Cuban Missile Crisis and before the escalation of the United States’ role in Vietnam, US public opinion broadly supports the Cold War and the country's nuclear policies. Against this backdrop, satire is an effective tool for questioning the conventional wisdom about nuclear weapons. Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb uses the darkest of black comedy, a remarkable three-role performance by Peter Sellers, and the specter of a Soviet “doomsday device” to take issue with the arms race between the superpowers.
While the superpowers wage the Cold War, much hotter wars rage in Asia. United States involvement in Vietnam intensifies, India and Pakistan battle over Kashmir in 1965, and Israel and its Arab neighbors renew hostilities in 1967. Worse yet, France and China develop nuclear weapons in order to assert themselves as global players. This combination of conventional warfare and nuclear proliferation causes the Bulletin’s editors to move the Clock’s minute hand toward midnight. The Bulletin recognizes the possibility that these regional conflicts could flare into wider wars with the potential use of nuclear weapons.
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