Why do nuclear weapons matter? Italy’s military nuclear policy throughout the Cold War was an attempt to achieve a position of parity with the major European powers. The Non-Proliferation Treaty, however, challenged this basic goal, and both the signature and the ratification of the treaty became two of the most controversial choices that postwar Italy had to face. In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, Leopoldo Nuti focused on the internal Italian debate and on the strategies implemented to limit what was perceived as the negative impact of the treaty by adopting a posture which bears a strong resemblance to Ariel Levite’s description of “nuclear hedging.”
Leopoldo Nuti is Director of the Machiavelli Center for Cold War Studies, professor of history of international relations, and coordinator of the international studies section of the doctoral school in political science at the University of Roma Tre, as well as co-director of the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. He has published extensively in Italian, English, and French on US-Italian relations and Italian foreign and security policy. His latest book is a history of nuclear weapons in Italy during the Cold War, La sfida nucleare. La politica estera italiana e le armi nucleari, 1945-1991.
Report from the Field: David Nickles, Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State, on the recently published Foreign Relations of the United States volume on China
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