Go to Home Page

Key Issues Nuclear Weapons History Presidential Policies Eisenhower Nuclear Events

President Dwight D. Eisenhower - Nuclear Events


Eisenhower cuts defense budget by decreasing conventional forces and weapons while expanding atomic weaponry.

December 1953
Eisenhower initiates his Atoms For Peace program.

Eisenhower signs the new Atomic Energy Act, replacing Truman’s 1946 Act.

Soviets explode their first H-Bomb, RDS-37, validating Eisenhower’s rationale for the US ICBM program (1954).

Army Chief of Staff Joseph Collins announces US plan to develop the Jupiter, an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM)
with a range of 1,500 miles.

First Jupiter Test Flight

US launches first successful Jupiter from Florida.

US launches its first satellite, Explorer I, into space; thus providing the basis for a ballistic missile defense system.

March 1958
US deploys Jupiter missiles in Italy, with the Italian Air Forces operating the missiles and the US controlling the warheads.

April 1958
Prime Minister Macmillan (GB) unsuccessfully urges Eisenhower to adopt an Anglo-American "fully agreed and understood procedure" for executing nuclear strikes. Macmillan letter (May 19, 1958)

Eisenhower launches his Atoms for Peace program, calling for a turn from nuclear weapons to peaceful nuclear energy under the supervision of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under the UN. Atoms for Peace address to the UN (Dec 8, 1953). Atoms for Peace chronology. Project Candor.

June 1958
Eisenhower adopts Murphy-Dean agreement, saying that decisions to launch bombers or missiles have to be made "in the light of the circumstances at the time." This negates MacMillan’s concept of Anglo-American cooperation, and rather reiterates the Truman-Churchill communiqué.

Eisenhower signs the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, marking the first arms control agreement signed during the Cold War.

Eisenhower establishes JASON, a group of elite scientists who advise the Administration on defense issues.

February 1960
Eisenhower proposes the Limited Test Ban Treaty (Partial Test Ban Treaty), which is a trilateral agreement by the US, USSR, and UK to prohibit atmospheric, outer space, and underwater nuclear tests. JFK adopts this in 1963.

US ratifies the Antarctic Treaty