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Living at the Nuclear Brink

I have been living at the nuclear brink for all of my adult life, and throughout my career in academia, private industry, and the U.S. government, I have dealt first-hand with the evolving nuclear threat. Nuclear weapons may seem like 20th century history, but the choices we make about these weapons in the 21st century will decide your future in truly fundamental ways. Because most people do not understand just how serious these dangers are today, their governments are not taking adequate preventive actions: actions that are readily achievable. And so, we are drifting towards a nuclear catastrophe. This is why I have dedicated the balance of my life to educate the public about these dangers, and this is the reason I have created this course. I have been joined in this effort by an outstanding and uniquely qualified group of educators and public servants who share my concerns about nuclear weapons.

Living at the Nuclear Brink

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Estimated 10 weeks
1–4 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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The key goals of this course are to warn you of the dangers you face and to give you some insight on what could be done to avoid those dangers. My challenge in this course is to make vivid to you that the dangers of nuclear weapons, far from being historical curiosities, are existential dangers today. You will have the opportunity to engage in discussions about these topics with both world experts and peers from around the globe.

You can take this course any way you wish. We have organized the course segments in a logical order, both chronologically and thematically. However, each segment stands alone and can be viewed independently.

At a glance

  • Institution: StanfordOnline
  • Subject: History
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:

    There are no prerequisites for this course except for curiosity in the subject and a passion for learning.

  • Language: English

What you'll learn

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The course differs from many others in a fundamental way: our goal is not just to provide facts for your education, but to inspire you to take action. You have the power to make a difference, and I believe that this course will give you the knowledge and motivation to do so. You can read more about this subject, and find ways to become involved, by visiting the website of the William J Perry Project: www.wjperryproject.org

Week 1: Introduction; What Are Nuclear Weapons and Why Were They Developed?

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Joseph Martz; Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Week 2: Nuclear Proliferation in the United States and Around the World

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Joseph Martz; Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Week 3: Under a Nuclear Cloud: Early Cold War

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. David Holloway

Week 4: Fear and Loathing and Relief: Later Cold War

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. David Holloway

Week 5: A Lack of Intelligence

Dr. William J. Perry; Philip Taubman

Week 6: Dilemmas of Nuclear Policy

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Scott Sagan; Dr. David Holloway; Dr. Andre Kokoshin

Week 7: New Nuclear Dangers: Nuclear Terrorism

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Martha Crenshaw; Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Week 8: New Nuclear Dangers: South Asia and Proliferation

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Scott Sagan; Dr. Martha Crenshaw; Dr. Siegfried Hecker; Dr. Andre Kokoshin

Week 9: What Has Been Done, and Can Be Done, about Nuclear Dangers

Dr. William J. Perry; Amb. James Goodby; Secretary George Shultz

Week 10: What Next?

Dr. William J. Perry; Joseph Cirincione

About the instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

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The course already started! Is it too late to join?

No worries! You can start whenever you join the course, since it is self-paced.

Is there a textbook for the class?

No, but there will be suggested readings for each unit.

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