Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University

President Barack Obama meets with, left to right, former Defense Secretary William Perry; former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Georgia); former Secretary of State George P. Shultz; and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office, to discuss the U.S. non-proliferation policy, May 19, 2009.
Photo credit: White House

June 19, 2013 - CISAC In the News

William J. Perry's personal journey at the nuclear brink

Appeared in European Leadership Network, June 17, 2013

CISAC Faculty Member and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry tells the story of how he became a nuclear weapons abolitionist. He recounts six personal experiences that led him to turn away from his lifelong career of developing and managing nuclear weapons, and pursue the goal of eliminating them.

At 18 and stationed in Japan, he came face-to-face with the destruction of World War II. He was stunned when he realized that one nuclear bomb on Hiroshima did the same amount of damage as six months of warfare on Okinawa. This was the first in a series of personal experiences at the nuclear brink.