publisher colophon

John Alic’s communication contains many pertinent points relating to the development of nuclear weapons and delivery systems for those weapons during the years following World War II. While we agree on many things, he differs with my conclusion about the importance of lightweight thermonuclear weapons in making ICBMs politically and technically feasible. The sources he cites show that by 1952, lightweight fission warheads were also becoming available. However, none of the evidence I have seen—including the sources Alic refers to—shows that the availability of these warheads caused the U.S. Air Force to consider ICBMs in a new and positive light before 1954. The documentary evidence regarding the air force’s decision to proceed with ICBMs being tied to the creation of thermonuclear weapons remains persuasive in my view, especially when considered alongside circumstantial evidence, such as the concerns that the air force had about delivering fission bombs to their targets with bomber aircraft. But I do agree with Alic that more research should be done on this question. [End Page 285]

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