Things to know

Nuclear War Risk

Quote from the book „Sicherheitspolitik verstehen“ („Understanding security policy“, 2021) by Lieutenant General (ret.) Kersten Lahl and Prof. Dr. Johannes Varwick (page 130):

„As a result, three conclusions can be drawn:

Firstly, nuclear weapons have a damage potential that puts the survival of the entire human race at high risk.

Secondly, this is precisely why they have so far been able to play a rather crisis-stabilising role in international practice – because a concrete deployment would be disastrous for all sides.

Thirdly, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case. On the contrary: the more nuclear actors ‘play along’, the more sophisticated the technical developments become and the more complex the strategic decision-making field around nuclear missions and threats of deployment, the higher the risk of a lack of international controllability of the category of nuclear weapons.”

Notes on the three points of this quote (PDF, 2 pages, Reading time about 5 minutes)


For the risks and consequences of nuclear war by mistake, see also menu item Risks.

Film by SWR from March 2021 about nuclear war by mistake on youtube (in german).

On the connection between nuclear war risk and climate change:


More information on the nuclear war risk is available from various organisations, such as: