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An American nuclear submarine, Thresher, sinks in the North Atlantic, killing all 129 crewmen.

The Vatican releases, the Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, by Pope John XXIII, which calls for an end to the nuclear arms race. It states, "All must realize that there is no hope of putting an end to the building up of armaments, nor of reducing the present stocks, nor, still less -- and this is the main point -- of abolishing them altogether, unless the process is complete and thorough and unless it proceeds from inner conviction: unless, that is, everyone sincerely cooperates to banish the fear and anxious expectation of war with which men are oppressed. If this is to come about, the fundamental principle on which our present peace depends must be replaced by another, which declares that the true and solid peace of nations consists not in equality of arms but in mutual trust alone. We believe that this can be brought to pass, and we consider that, since it concerns a matter not only demanded by right reason but also eminently desirable in itself, it will prove to be the source of many benefits."

President John F. Kennedy delivers the commencement address at American University in Washington, D.C. He states, "I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn." President John F. Kennedy declares a unilateral moratorium on atmospheric nuclear testing.

The United States and the Soviet Union establish a radio and telegraph Hot Line between them with the Hot Line Agreement. This agreement provides the first official recognition of the inherent danger of nuclear weapons, and the possibility of an inadvertent war arising from technical or human error. The Hot Line has been tested every hour since 1963, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union has not altered this procedure.

The Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, or the Partial Test Ban Treaty, is signed in Moscow. The treaty states in its preamble that the principal aim of the United States and the Soviet Union is: "the speediest possible achievement of an agreement on general and complete disarmament under strict international control in accordance with the objectives of the United Nations which would put an end to the armaments race and eliminate the incentive to the production and testing of all kinds of weapons, including nuclear weapons."

The Partial Test Ban Treaty enters into force. [see August 5, 1963]

The District Court of Tokyo, in the case of Ryuichi Shimoda et al. v. The State, holds that "the aerial bombardment with atomic bombs of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an illegal act of hostilities according to the rules of international law. It must be regarded as indiscriminate aerial bombardment of undefended cities, even if it was directed at military objectives only, inasmuch as it resulted in damage comparable to that caused by indiscriminate bombardment."

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