Best Quotes on Nuclear Weapons Policy

General Lee Butler, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)

“We cannot at once keep sacred the miracle of existence and hold sacrosanct the capacity to destroy it.”


Richard Butler, former Australian UN Ambassador

“There is, in fact, an axiom of proliferation. It states that as long as any state holds nuclear weapons, others will seek to acquire them.”


Winston Churchill, on living with a Nuclear Deterrence Policy

“Safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation.”


Sergio Duarte, UN Representative

“One cannot worship at the altar of nuclear weapons and raise heresy charges against those who want to join the sect.”


Albert Einstein

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”


Mikhail Gorbachev, former Secretary General Soviet Union

“It is my firm belief that the infinite and uncontrollable fury of nuclear weapons should never be held in the hands of any mere mortal ever again, for any reason.”


President John F. Kennedy

“While it may be theoretically possible to demonstrate the risks inherent in any treaty… the far greater risk to our security are the risks of unrestricted testing, the risks of a nuclear arms race, the risks of new nuclear powers….”

“We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth.”


Martin Luther King

“The best way to solve any problem is to remove its cause.”

Stride Towards Freedom 1964




Sam Nunn, former U.S. Senator

“Seventeen years after the Cold War, how can it be in the Unites States’ national security interest for the President of Russia to have only a few minutes to decide whether to fire his nuclear weapons or lose them in response to what could be a false warning?”

“The Mountaintop: A World Free of Nuclear Weapons” Oslo, 2008




Most Reverend Edwin O’Brien, U.S. Catholic Bishops

Abolishing nuclear weapons is not a narrowly partisan or nationalistic issue; it is an issue of fundamental moral values that should unite people across national and ideological boundaries.

July 2009



Richard Rhodes, author

“You can’t deter someone who doesn’t have a home address.”


Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California

“Mistakes are made in every other human endeavor. Why should nuclear weapons be exempt?”

Letter to Hoover Institute, 2007



See the Quotes and Video pages for memorable Ronald Reagan quotations on nuclear weapons policy.  Have our own favorite quote on nuclear weapons policy?  Please add it in the comments section below, with original source if available.




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