Partial Listing of Incidents of Nuclear Blackmail*

Prepared by Joseph Gerson,  Campaign for Peace Disarmament and Common Security 3.27.18

1946 Truman threatens Soviets regarding Northern Iran.

1946 Truman sends SAC bombers sent to intimidate Yugoslavia following downing of U.S. aircraft over Yugoslavia.

1948 Truman threatens Soviets in response to Berlin blockade.

1950 Truman threatens Chinese when U.S. marines were surrounded at Chosin Reservoir in Korea.

1951 Truman approves military request to attack Manchuria with nuclear weapons if significant numbers of new Chinese Forces join the war.

1953 “Operation Big Stick” Eisenhower threatens China to force end to Korean War on terms acceptable to U.S.

1954 Eisenhower Secretary of State Dulles offers French three tactical nuclear weapons to break the siege at Dienbienphu. Supported by Nixon’s public trial balloons.

1954 Eisenhower used nuclear armed SAC bombers to reinforce CIA-backed coup in Guatemala.

1956 Bulganin threatens London and Paris with nuclear attacks, demanding withdrawal following their invasion of Egypt.

1956  Eisenhower counter threatens the Soviet Union while also demanding British and French retreat from Egypt.

1958 Eisenhower orders Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare to use nuclear weapons against Iraq, if necessary to prevent extension of revolution into Kuwait.

1958 Eisenhower orders Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare to use nuclear weapons against China if they invade the island of Quemoy.

1961 Kennedy threatens Soviets during Berlin Crisis.

1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

1967 Johnson threatens Soviets during Middle East War.

1967 Johnson’s public threats against Vietnam are linked to possible use of nuclear weapons to break siege at KHz Shan.

1968 Johnson threatens nuclear attack against North Korea in response to seizure of USS Pueblo.

1969 Brezhnev threatens China during border war.

1969 Nixon’s “November Ultimatum” against Vietnam.

1970 Nixon signals preparations to fight nuclear war to the Soviets during Black September War in Jordan.

1973 Israeli Government threatens use of nuclear weapons October 9.

1973 Kissinger threatens Soviet Union during the last hours of the “October War” in the Middle East.

1973 Nixon pledges to South Vietnamese President Thieu that he will respond with nuclear attacks or the bombing of North Vietnam’s dikes if it violates the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords

1975 Sec. of Defense Schlesinger threatens North Korea with nuclear retaliation should it attack south Korea in the wake of the U.S. defeat in Vietnam.

1976 President Ford dispatches nuclear armed B-52 from Guam toward North Korea in response to “Ax Incident” in Korean Demilitarized Zone.

1980 Carter Doctrine announced.

1981 Reagan reaffirms the Carter Doctrine.

1990 Pakistan threatens India during confrontation over Kashmir.

1990-91 Bush threatens Iraq during the “Gulf War.”

1993 Clinton threatens North Korea.

1994 Clinton’s confrontation with North Korea

1996 China threatens “Los Angeles” during confrontation over Taiwan

1996 Clinton threatens Libya with nuclear attack to prevent completion of underground chemical weapons production complex.

1998 Clinton, Operation Desert Fox, refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons against Iraq. 

2002 Bush communicates an implied threat to counter any Iraqi use of chemical

2003 Bush dispatches 24 nuclear capable bombers to Guam during crisis with North Korea

2008-12 Obama “all options are on the table” with Iran

2017-18 Trump’s “fire and fury” threats and simulated nuclear attacks against North Korea

*For detail and documentation see Joseph Gerson. Empire and the Bomb: How the US Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World, London, Pluto Press, 2007.