Ruth Leger Sivard's







World Military and Social Expenditures by Ruth Sivard
6th edition (1980)


Foreword by Henry W. Kendall

The superpower nations, the United States and the Soviet Union, are engaged in an intense, increasingly expensive, and highly dangerous nuclear arms race. Relentless reach for an illusory nuclear superiority, or attempts to forestall an opponent’s gaining it, add fuel to the fears that drive the race.

The example set by the superpowers has not been lost on other nations. A half dozen nations now posess nuclear explosives. As many again may aquire them in the near future. And a substantial portion of the weapons slated to be added to the tens of thousands now in world inventories will be placed in missile systems capable of delivering nuclear first strikes. This will make control of crisis situations increasingly unsure. We drift towards general nuclear war.

The immense explosive power of the weapons, their great numbers, and the high accuracy and confidence with which they can be targeted, guarantee that large-scale nuclear war, if it comes, will produce destruction of unprecedented scale. It will be the last great military adventure by the participating nations, for they will find themselves, for all practical purposes, obliterated by the exchange. Bystander nations will be greatly injured as well, with great damage to the environment of the planet. The nuclear arms race is the most outstanding folly on which mankind has so far embarked. It must be ended.

The best of reasons, then, underlie Ruth Leger Sivard’s decision to highlight the nuclear risk in the 1980 edition of her fine series, World Military and Social Expenditures. There is no more important task for us all than to understand and move to avert the risks we face. Her work is an important contribution to tis task.

Henry W. Kendall
Chairman of the Board, Union of Concerned Scientists