Dreams of peace historically float around the idea of superweapons, but so do dreams of omnipotence, not to speak of depths of revenge and hatred. Nuclear weapons, too, were supposed to be the weapons to end war, though more accurately, they were the weapons that would end war by threatening to end all human life on the planet. The distinction, it turns out, is a subtler one than we might imagine. But dropped in a spirit of revenge, they would prove the most addictive of weapons, opening to leaders everywhere alluring vistas of global power, ultimate destruction, and darkness. From the moment Little Boy left that bomb bay, no major power (and few regional powers) were going to be without such weapons forever — unless all of them were. As weaponry, they proved so strangely seductive and addictive that they burst the bounds of the Cold War effortlessly and have simply continued to multiply in our world.